Category Archives: Software Tips

Off-the-Shelf Software Isn't Necessarily Easier or Cheaper | Modest Software Development

Off-the-Shelf Software Isn’t Necessarily Easier or Cheaper

Has your company ever turned down the opportunity to invest in custom business software? If so, what were the reasons? Two that we hear quite frequently relate to ease-of-use and budget. For example, business owners tend to believe that off-the-shelf software is easier to use and cheaper to obtain.

Sometimes it is. But that is not always the case. And when it’s not, off-the-shelf products can be much more difficult to use. They can cost a lot more in the long run when a company factors in the extra costs of adapting to generic software.

Easier or Just More Comfortable?

Productivity is one of the main priorities when designing software for small business. With that in mind, productivity concerns are often at the forefront of any decision related to software upgrades. Companies will insist that they want to stick with off-the-shelf solutions because said software is easier to use. By extension, this means better for productivity. But is that always true? No.

Off-the-shelf software is generic software. Software developers design their packages to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. As such, features are not as specific. Companies need to use the available features as best they can, which often means employing workarounds. And don’t forget the bloat.

It could be that business owners and managers only perceive that off-the-shelf software is easier because they are already comfortable with it. But comfort and ease-of-use are not the same thing. When push comes to shove, custom software tends to stack out very well in the ease-of-use department – especially because it can be designed around a company’s current business practices and structure.

Cheaper Out of the Box

When it comes to cost, off-the-shelf software can be cheaper out of the box. But what about six or seven weeks down the road? We have worked with more than one client who invested a relatively small amount in an off-the-shelf business package only to discover that it did not meet current business needs. Adaptations and additional software packages were required, adding to the total expense.

It is pretty common to have to spend extra when generic software doesn’t perform as expected. But that is not the only cost issue to consider. You also need to consider the losses represented by lower productivity. When employees are not producing as much as they otherwise could be due to inefficient software, that software is costing the company money. It all adds up.

When it comes time to upgrade, companies are forced to spend more money on new licenses for software that may or may not work correctly. If more workarounds or adaptations are needed with the upgrade, that is more money spent. A company might have spent less on the original product out of the box, but they need to keep spending to keep using it.

There Is a Better Way

There is a better way to get high quality software for small business: go with custom software development services. Here at Modest, we build custom business software from a core set of modules. That is how we keep costs in check. As for making sure clients get exactly what they need, we make a point of learning each client’s business before we start building.

Working on your new business software would mean getting to know your company, what you do, and your current systems and processes. What we learn would form the foundation of our build process. The end result is business software with all the features you need and no bloat, designed to fit in with your current workflows. That is the way business software should be done.

We at Modest Development pride ourselves on crafting custom software packages that fully serve our clients and fulfill their unique needs. Contact us today to learn more.

The Pitfalls of Per User Pricing in SaaS Are Very Real | Modest Development

The Pitfalls of Per User Pricing in SaaS Are Very Real

One of the hallmarks of the Modest software model is allowing unlimited users. We believe that this is the best approach to software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing. But let’s be real. There are plenty of software developers that still rely on the per user pricing model. That’s fine. To each their own, as they say.

We have chosen to avoid the per-user model because of its inherent pitfalls. We think unlimited users is a better way to go. Allow us to explain why. If you disagree, that’s okay. There is plenty of room for all sorts of pricing models in SaaS.

Pitfall #1: Free to Paid Sticker Shock

Imagine a business management software package offering a free trial to entice new customers to get on board. The free trial is pretty attractive, but it will not last forever. Unfortunately, transitioning from free to paid can result in considerable sticker shock – especially with the per user pricing model.

Some developers charge for each individual user. Others charge for groups. In other words, there is one fee for up to ten users, a higher fee for 11-25 users, and still higher fees at larger increments. A company with a significant number of employees could be shocked at receipt of the first month’s bill. That is not good.

Pitfall #2: Users Aren’t Always Static

There is also the matter of short-term users. To be blunt, users are not always static. The number of active users could change from month to month for a variety of reasons. That only muddies the water and makes understanding billing that much more difficult.

Per-user pricing doesn’t always work well for businesses that bring in seasonal workers. It does not work so well in industries with higher turnover rates. Whenever users are not static over long periods of time, per user pricing faces the risk of becoming unnecessarily complicated.

Pitfall #3: It Can Limit Growth

The first two pitfalls pertain to SaaS clients. The next one, limiting growth, applies to software developers. The per user pricing model can limit growth by scaring clients away. On the other hand, flat rate pricing often seems more attractive for the simple fact that clients always know what they will pay from one month to the next, one quarter to the next, etc.

One could argue that a client’s growth should lead to new hiring which, in turn, should mean more users. That would contribute to a developer’s growth via more users generating more revenue. But unfortunately, clients tend to see the bottom-line price. As their subscription rates rise, they get fidgety. They start looking around for new software if rates get too high. The developer’s growth could be stunted if too many clients jump ship.

Pitfall #4: Tying Pricing to Features

It is not uncommon for SaaS providers to offer multiple tiers in their per user pricing schemes. In order to encourage customers to sign up for a higher tier, they tie pricing to features. The more you pay, the more features you get. That doesn’t sit well with us.

We suspect it doesn’t sit well with customers, either. Why? Because of the tendency among software developers to withhold the most crucial features unless customers are willing to sign up for the top tier.

Per user pricing has its place. In fact, some software companies thrive on it. But when it comes to custom software for small businesses, we believe allowing customers unlimited users is the better way to go. Our goal is to build software that works for clients instead of requiring them to adapt to our business model. Contact us today for your custom software solution.

One Way or Another, Upgrading Software Requires Training | Modest Development

One Way or Another, Upgrading Software Requires Training

As a business owner or manager, have you ever found yourself in the position of having to admit that you really need new business management software but are avoiding upgrading because you don’t want the hassles that come with training? If so, you are not alone. But one way or another, upgrading software requires training.

We think we have found a better way at Modest. Rather than building software that requires training your employees in how we think and operate, we would rather you train us in your business so that we can build software that works for you with as small a learning curve as possible. If training needs to occur anyway, you might just as well train us to do things the way you want them done.

Training Employees on New Software

New business management software requires at least some training. But the amount and effectiveness of that training matters. It can make or break employee perceptions which, in turn, impacts everything from productivity to job satisfaction. If you’re not sure why that matters, consider these three statistics from a 2019 employee survey:

  • 51.95% of employees admit to being unhappy with their business software.
  • 24.06% admit that poor software has encouraged them to consider quitting.
  • 12.71% admit to having actually quit a job because of bad software.

If these things are true about the business management software employees are currently using, it is fair to say it would also be true when it comes to learning something new. Learning requirements that lead to unhappy employees are a problem.

Minimize the Employee Training

One way to minimize the potentially negative impacts of employee training is to minimize the amount of training needed to make employees familiar with their new software. That is the approach we take. We design software around how our clients already do business. That way, the learning curve of new business management software is minimal.

Minimizing employee training makes for happier employees. But there is an added benefit: it reduces the amount of time it takes to get employees up to speed. They spend less time learning the new software and more time being productive. What is not to love about that?

If all this sounds too good to be true, we get it. But we would appreciate the opportunity to explain how we can make it happen. Give us an opportunity to explain how we go above and beyond to learn your business before we start building.

Train Us in How You Do Things

Your employees will always need a minimal amount of training on new software. But you can limit that training by teaching us how you do things. Train us in your daily procedures and processes. Teach us how you use your current software to do what you do. If we think we can build a better way of doing things, we will let you know and give you an opportunity to offer your input.

By teaching us your business, you are equipping us to build custom business management software that does exactly what you need it to do in the way you need it done. We do all the heavy lifting as far as learning is concerned. When it’s time to deploy your new software, the training requirements for your employees are as minimal as possible.

Learning new software can be a drag. It can be detrimental to employee satisfaction when the learning curve is too steep. Don’t let that prevent you from pursuing a much-needed upgrade. Modest can build a modern business management software solution that requires minimal training. Contact us today to develop your custom software solution.