Businesses often examine their existing processes, tools and resources and determine if additional software could streamline operations. But how do you know which software solution to choose? You may weigh the pros and cons of custom software development versus ready-made software. Ultimately, the solution that is right for your business will depend on your goals, requirements and resources, among other factors.
Let’s examine some different options available to businesses today and discuss how you can choose the perfect software solution.
Choosing a Type of Software Solution
Perhaps you have a specific need or goal in mind when searching for software. Additionally, you may not have the budget, time or resources available to develop a customized solution. If this is the case for your company, start off by examining commercial tools and resources. Even if you choose an existing software product, you may find one that offers certain customizable features. It often helps to outline your requirements beforehand to help guide your search.
Depending on your need, the right solution could be
- Updated system software
- Open-source software
- Application software such as a specific program or app
- A management system or platform
- Software as a Service (Saas)
These solutions vary in cost and type, ranging anywhere from a free resource or one-time payments to subscription models and licensing fees.
Considering Custom Software Development
If your business has unique needs that are not met by commercial software offerings, the next step is to consider custom software development. Some companies decide to develop custom solutions in-house, but you may not have the necessary time or experience. Outsourcing development seems like an ideal solution, but some common challenges we hear from companies include limited development budgets and nearing deadlines by which they need to implement the solution.
One option is to delay your development project until you have sufficient funds. However, what is the software worth to your company? If you think you can’t currently afford development, can you afford to wait? Process inefficiencies, disparate databases and legacy systems cost companies a great deal of money each year.
This is a good time to examine your development budget, layout the expected costs of the project and define what ROI means for your business. With this in mind, you don’t have to give up on custom software development just yet.
Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF): A Phased Development Approach
Enter Minimum Marketable Features (MMF). MMFs are often confused with Minimum Viable Products (MVPs). However, the goal of an MVP is to determine demand or validate the value of a product in a particular market.
Comparatively, the Agile Alliance describes an MMF as, “A small, self-contained feature that can be developed quickly and that delivers significant value to the user.” They are also sometimes referred to as Minimum Marketable Product or Minimum Releasable Feature. MMFs are designed as a way to get a solution into the hands of users in a short amount of time, whether it is for internal company use or as an outward-facing product.
One similarity that MMFs and MVPs have in common is the emphasis on developing core functionality first. Software companies can release MMFs in a phased development approach. This allows their clients to begin using the resources and reaping the benefits while continuing development to expand upon existing functionalities.
Consider if building limited functionality through a Minimum Marketable Feature is right for your business. It may depend on how badly you need the software solution. Is it worth starting off with limited functionality? Could you develop the MMF in a way that allows you to build off of the solution? If so, a phased development approach could be the way to go.
How Could Custom Software Benefit Your Business?
In the end, you may determine that your business should move forward with a custom software development project. Many companies find it is well worth the investment. Development projects open up a world of possibilities, and you might not consider all the benefits of custom software – from optimizing manual processes and streamlining data management and analytics to integrating resources and scaling your business. When you develop your solution in a way that is custom-tailored to your business, it might surprise you to discover the ROI that a development project can bring.
Whether you want to learn more about Software as a Service, Minimum Marketable Features or are interested in a custom software development project, SevenTablets is ready to help. Our team specializes in ERP solutions, cloud and system integrations, CRM platforms, data governance and more. To discuss your development project, reach out to our team today.