Tag Archives: software solutions

Overcoming the Custom Software Learning Curve | Modest Dev

New Software for Small Business Overcoming the Learning Curve

Custom software for small businesses is what we specialize in. And here at Modest, we do our absolute best to give each client exactly what is needed. We get to know our clients’ businesses so that we can develop software that easily adapts to how they do things. Even so, the learning curve that comes with new software cannot be avoided.

Employees still need to learn how to use new software. They still need to learn how to navigate, how to complete basic tasks, and even how to troubleshoot to some extent. Learning all this information takes time. In software development, the amount of time and effort required is represented by the learning curve.

We Face It, Too

Before going on to explain how your organization can overcome the learning curve that comes with new software, we want you to know that we face the learning curve, too. We need to deal with it in relation to the technologies and tools we use to create custom business software.

Whenever a new technology merges, we need to learn how to use it. Likewise for new software development tools. You could say that our developers are in a constant state of education given the fact that our industry is evolving so rapidly. The main takeaway here is that we understand the learning curve. We feel your pain. That’s why we try to align software to a client’s workflow as much as possible.

Minimizing the Learning Curve

It is our position that the key to overcoming business software’s learning curve is to minimize it as much as possible. The shorter and less steep the learning curve is, the more quickly employees get beyond learning to return to maximum productivity. Here are some suggestions for doing just that:

1. Map Routine Tasks

You can help your software developers create better software by mapping the routine tasks your employees normally do on the computer. By mapping, we mean writing down the steps they take to complete a given task.

For example, how does a sales executive translate digital data into printed reports? Mapping all those steps provides information a software developer could use to make the process as simple and efficient as possible.

2. Ask for Feedback

During the early stages of software design, ask employees for feedback regarding your current software. Find out what they like and dislike about the package. Ask for any suggestions they might have for improving workflow. With that information, your developers will be better able to create custom business software that maximizes intuitiveness while simultaneously minimizing the need to learn new workflows.

3. Incentivize the Learning Process

Having to learn new software is unavoidable. Some amount of learning is always required. However, an innovative approach some companies are now beginning to look at is applying gamification to learning new business software.

Gamification is literally applying game-playing principles to incentivize the learning process. A good example would be sending employees through a series of learning modules followed by a quick review and on-screen test. Employees can compete for the highest test scores.

4. Leverage Demonstrations

Finally, do not rely exclusively on written documents to train employees. It is better to leverage hands-on demonstrations that encourage employees to walk through routine tasks with the help of an experienced trainer. Live demonstrations beat static training documents any day.

Choose Modest as your developer for custom business software and we can promise you will get software designed around your current workflows. We will also collaborate with you to overcome the learning curve that comes with new business software. Contact us to learn how we can build a custom software that suits your business

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.

Why if It Ain't Broke Doesn't Apply to Business Software | Modest Software Development

Why ‘If It Ain’t Broke’ Doesn’t Apply to Business Software

There is an old adage that says, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. It has been our experience that a lot of companies apply the principle to their business management software. We think that this is a mistake. Just because a company’s business software is working as intended doesn’t mean it is achieving the best possible results. We believe the most efficient and compatible software is a custom business software that addresses a client’s specific needs and requirements.

In business, results are everything. How a company achieves its stated goals matters. And sometimes, when goals are achieved through old and outdated software that no longer meets modern standards, inefficiency impacts the bottom line without management thinking twice about it. That is a mistake. What’s the solution? Custom business software.

The Horse Wasn’t Broken

Not wanting to replace things that aren’t broken is understandable. Upgrades can be time-consuming and expensive. They can also come with pretty steep learning curves. But imagine if we followed the ‘if it ain’t broke’ philosophy across the board. We wouldn’t be driving cars today.

The horse wasn’t broken when engineers first started working on cars powered by steam engines. For centuries, the horse proved a reliable form of transportation. So why design cars? Because they represented a better way to do things. Cars are faster. They can carry heavy loads. They do not need rest, medical attention, or tons of food.

Just as the car was a total upgrade from the horse, custom business software is an upgrade from that old, outdated system your company is still using. Maybe your old business software still functions the way it’s supposed to. But could it function better? Could it be leaner, meaner, and more efficient?

Nothing to Be Afraid Of

It is not unusual for business owners and managers to fear embracing new software packages because they don’t know what to expect. And yet there is nothing to be afraid of – as long as you team up with a custom software developer with a proven track record and a genuine interest in creating software around your needs. That is what we do here at Modest.

The whole point of going with custom business software is getting a package that fits the way you already do business. By contrast, off-the-shelf packages are designed around generic business needs. You get some of the features you want but not all. You also get plenty of bloat. In a best-case scenario, you need to apply multiple workarounds to maximize the effectiveness of that software.

When you go the custom route, all the negatives that come with off-the-shelf solutions are pretty much nonexistent. You get exactly what you need and none of what you don’t want. You also get business software that works the way you work.

Maximize Efficiency and Productivity with Custom Business Software

Perhaps your old and outdated business software isn’t broken. Maybe it works just fine. But where does it stand in terms of efficiency and productivity? There may be better ways to do things. There might be a way to boost efficiency and productivity with custom business software that fully integrates with all your systems.

Imagine business management software with built-in automation capabilities. Imagine a package that integrates with accounting, HR, etc. It is not just a dream. Custom business software at an affordable price can be reality.

As a company that specializes in software development services, Modest is all about custom business software. We invite you to contact us to learn more about our approach to building business packages. We will get to know your company and how you do business. Then we will build a package perfectly suited to your needs. Best of all, we won’t bust your budget.

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.