Do you feel like your business could be running a little smoother? Are there specific tasks that are taking up too much of your time? Do you still keep critical data in spreadsheets and multiple business applications? Are you still using paper-based methods for certain tasks? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to consider a custom business application solution.
Custom applications are software programs that have been designed specifically for your business operation. They can help improve efficiency and productivity and even save you money in the long run! This blog post will discuss seven ways custom business applications can improve your business operation.
Enterprise database giant, Oracle, defines Data Management as “the practice of collecting, keeping, and using data securely, efficiently, and cost-effectively. The goal of data management is to help people, organizations, and connected things optimize the use of data within the bounds of policy and regulation so that they can make decisions and take actions that maximize the benefit to the organization.”
Every business employs some form of data management. It may be relatively unsophisticated, or it may be robust and powerful. Both serve the same purpose of generating business intelligence and reports necessary for the success of your organization.
As your business grows, your data tends to get spread among several disparate systems. This can make it challenging to get a holistic picture of your business operation. Daily workflows become tedious, and reporting takes too much time.
Custom business applications can help you consolidate your critical business data into one central location, making it easier to track and manage. It also allows data to interact seamlessly between different departments and business processes. The result is intelligent access to your data that streamlines workflow while improving efficiency.
Finding a Balance
If you’re still using paper systems or Excel to track your data, you’re wasting valuable time that could be used elsewhere to grow your business. Chances are good that not all stakeholders have access to the data they need, further slowing down progress.
And if you’re using a full-featured business solution, you’re probably paying a high price for functionality you don’t use or need.
Businesses that use generic applications often find themselves trying to force their business processes to fit the limitations of the software rather than the other way around. This leads to inefficiency and a lack of productivity.
Off-the-Shelf vs Custom Business Software Solutions
Commercial, Off-the-Shelf (COTS) enterprise software solutions are prohibitively expensive for many businesses. The high initial investment, costly annual licensing fees, and the need for specialized hardware can put them out of reach.
SaaS/COTS systems are also inflexible, meaning you must adapt how you do business to fit the software. This can be frustrating for employees and lead to adoption resistance and decreased productivity.
A recent article by Forbes states, “if you’re a company that wants to have a great deal of control over the integrations, security, features or other aspects of the applications you employ, you may find SaaS to be a frustrating model. Since the software is designed to be a no-assembly-required kind of tool, your ability to customize and tweak it for your specific needs will likely be limited.”
Custom business applications are designed specifically for your business, which means they can adapt as your business grows and changes, making them a more cost-effective solution, especially in the long run. They are built to fit your business processes rather than the other way around.
A custom business application solution also allows you to scale up or down as needed more effectively. This means you will only pay for what you need – when you need it.
7 Ways Custom Business Applications Can Benefit Your Business
Here are seven ways (among many) that a Custom Business Application might help you improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your business operation:
1. Automate Tasks
Custom applications can be designed to automate the majority of your business processes. Routine tasks or reports that now take hours to complete can be continuously updating in the background, providing you with the information you need at the push of a button.
This saves you time and frees up your employees to focus on more productive tasks that require human interaction. Learn which processes are right for automation.
2. Integrate Disparate Systems
A custom business application can be designed to integrate multiple software applications into one cohesive system if your business uses various software applications. This gives you a single source of truth for your data and eliminates the need to enter data into multiple systems manually.
The result is increased efficiency and accuracy and improved decision-making due to having all the information you need in one place.
3. Streamline Communication
Custom business applications can be designed to streamline communication between different departments or stakeholders. This is especially important in large organizations where there are many moving parts.
By giving everyone access to the same information, you can avoid duplication of effort and ensure everyone is on the same page. This can save a lot of time and frustration, as well as improve decision-making.
If you find yourself constantly sending out the same emails or documents, custom business applications can automate this process for you. Not only will this save you time, but it will also ensure that your employees are always up-to-date on the latest information.
Do you have customers who are always asking for the same information? Custom business applications can help you create a centralized repository of all your customer information. Report generation is tailored to their needs and distributed on a pre-determined schedule with real-time data.
4. Reduce Manual Data Entry
Data entry is one of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks in any business. It’s also prone to errors, which can lead to costly mistakes. Custom business applications can automate many of these tasks by connecting data to wherever it needs to be used.
A custom solution will help eliminate the need for manual data re-keying, which wastes time and increases the likelihood of human error.
5. Customize Reporting
Your data is only as good as your ability to access and make sense of it. Are you currently generating reports manually, importing data manually from multiple systems?
Reporting is another task that custom business applications can automate for you. You’ll be able to quickly and efficiently track the progress of your business operation and make informed decisions.
With custom business applications, you can create reports that are:
- Tailored to your specific needs
- Always accurate
6. Improve Access to Your Data
Data is the lifeblood of any business, but it’s almost useless if you can’t access it when you need it. Custom business applications allow you to view your data from anywhere in the world, so you can always stay on top of your business.
Manual systems may have your business data scattered across multiple locations and on multiple software platforms. In some cases, data may be kept on one employee’s computer. Access may be limited and not readily available to everyone who needs it.
A custom cloud-based web application can consolidate your data and extend access to anyone in your organization who needs it, allowing your team to manage operations from anywhere. And you’ll still be able to assign permissions on an as-needed basis – quickly and safely – on the fly.
7. Improve Data Accuracy
A custom business application can be designed to validate and verify data as it is entered into the system. This can help to ensure that the data being entered is accurate and consistent, as it can be programmed to check for errors or inconsistencies and alert the user if any are found.
In addition, a custom business application can provide a centralized location for all data to be stored and accessed, and that data can be integrated with the other systems and tools that a company uses. By storing all data in one place, a custom business application can help to ensure that everyone in the organization has access to the same, accurate information — a single source of truth.
When will you know when it’s time to consider a custom business application for your business?
If you’re experiencing bottlenecks in your business processes or finding that your off-the-shelf software solution doesn’t provide the value you think it should, it’s time to consider a custom application. Custom business applications offer many advantages over expensive off-the-shelf solutions and the disorganization that comes from data management over multiple platforms.
A well-designed custom business application will improve the accuracy of your data and help you make better business decisions while enhancing efficiency and productivity. Investing in a custom business application can save time and money and help your business run more effectively.
If you’re not sure where to start, the experts at Traust can help you explore how a custom business application can benefit your specific business. Let’s connect today!