Tag Archives: business software

Software for Small Business: Key Characteristics of Customization

Software for small businesses comes in all shapes and sizes. You have off-the-shelf software companies buy for less if they can live with limited function. There are off-label deployments of commercial software packages that were designed for an entirely different purpose but that can be utilized effectively enough with some workarounds. Then there is custom software.

Custom software is what we do. We create software specific to each client’s needs based on a modular system that keeps costs in check without sacrificing function. We are firmly committed to custom software as a better solution than off-the-shelf packages and off-label commercial deployments.

That being said, not all custom software solutions are created equally. If you are thinking about software customization, be careful about the vendor you ultimately choose. Here are some key characteristics you should insist on:

1. User Friendliness

There is always the temptation among software developers to create solutions from their point of view rather than the view of those users who will ultimately have to work with it. The end result can be a package that isn’t user-friendly. This is a non-starter for a lot of companies searching for new software.

Software for small businesses should always be user-friendly. It should have as gentle a learning curve as possible. Users should be able to master the software in a few weeks. It should never take months for users to get comfortable.

2. Built-In Scalability

Custom software for small businesses should offer built-in scalability. Otherwise, a company is left having to deploy multiple solutions as their business grows and expands. That might be good for a software developer looking to maximize revenues, but it is not good for the small business. As the customer, a small business deserves scalability.

3. Some Amount of Flexibility

Custom business software should be flexible enough to adapt to a company’s unique needs. However, it should not be so flexible as to be filled with bloat (see the next point). It should definitely not be so rigid as to force users to change workflow unless, of course, changing the workflow would make things more efficient.

Unfortunately, this particular aspect is generally touch-and-go for software developers. It can be hard for them to determine how much flexibility a package needs because they will not be working with the finished project in the wild. Their experiences will be limited to the more sterile development environment.

4. No Bloat (or as little as possible)

For some companies, the impetus for going with custom business software is the opportunity to get a tailor-made solution without any bloat. You know the score. So many off-the-shelf commercial products are so bloated as to be difficult to use. They offer tons of features that never get utilized. In the end, they are paying developers to create a whole bunch of bells and whistles that will remain forever buried in so many menus.

Minimizing bloat makes software more efficient. Just saying no to bloat makes software easier to use, more secure, and decidedly more user-friendly. A smaller footprint on the company’s network is an added bonus.

5. A Budget Friendly Price

Last but not least is a budget friendly price. Companies in need of custom software for small business should not have to pay an arm and a leg to get it. Granted, it’s probably going to be more expensive than off-the-shelf software. Still, custom software should be affordable.

Modest specializes in custom software for small businesses. If you would like to know more about what we do, we are always willing to answer questions, discuss software needs, and propose the best solutions we can.

Like Buildings Software Can Be Built With Modules

Have you ever heard of modular homes? How about modular hotel construction? The modular concept represents a way to build both residential and commercial structures quicker and more cost-effectively. It turns out we can do the same thing with software.

The Modest software development approach is based on hundreds of different modules, or ‘blocks’ as we like to call them, being assembled and adapted to meet a client’s needs. This model allows us to develop custom business software that is still affordable, even for small businesses.

Building software with blocks doesn’t hamper function or force companies to do with less. In fact, it is just the opposite. Modular software design is capable of giving small businesses everything they need along with nothing they don’t need, including a high final cost.

Constructing with Modules

Modular home and hotel construction is based on a pretty simple premise: building individual modules in a factory setting and then assembling them on site to create the final structure. Modules can be customized to meet the specific needs of the client.

One of the earliest examples of modular construction is found in Walt Disney World’s Contemporary and Polynesian resorts. Both were built via the same process. The frames of the buildings were constructed on site while contractors were building modular rooms at another site located nearby. Once the frame was finished, the modules were trucked to the site and lifted into place via crane.

Although the idea was deemed brilliant, it was also new. The project exceeded anticipated expenses and took longer than planned. But architects and engineers learned a lot. Fifty years later, modular construction is a lot more mature. It works well and saves money.

Building Software with Blocks

Building software with blocks has followed a similar pattern. In the early days, there was a lot to learn. Software developers had to figure out how to build an endless number of blocks that could be interchangeably added and removed to create the perfect piece of software. These days, the process works extremely well.

To build custom business software with blocks, a developer first needs to fully understand the client’s business. That means getting to know the client’s industry, how software is used, and exactly what software needs to accomplish. Getting it right will not happen if the developer doesn’t understand what the client really needs.

With needs understood, the next step is to create the basic framework with the fundamental blocks that will power the software. From there, additional blocks can be added to create the kind of function the client wants. Modifications to those blocks fine-tune everything.

The Perfect Software Every Time

We’ll be honest and say that we love building custom business software using blocks. It allows us to create the perfect software every time. Our customers get exactly what they want without bloat. They get the functions they want, the access control that will keep their software secure, a more affordable fee structure, regular updates, and unparalleled support from our team.

We do all of this in a secure software-as-a-service (SaaS) environment. We give our clients cloud-based software that does exactly what they want it to do. And we owe it all to the block concept.

Building software in blocks might seem strange to you. If so, we get it. But a lot of people thought that Disney was crazy for building two hotels with modular rooms. The truth is that the modular concept works extremely well if it is applied correctly. It works with software just as well as it does with residential homes and commercial buildings.