Business Strategy

Hate it or Love it. How do you feel about your software?

Large companies in the manufacturing, construction, materials, and transportation space are successful because for years they have provided essential services and consistent reliability. As a result, they have established well-known, credible reputations in their respective fields. However, large companies in these industries are often the slowest to adapt new technologies. They often rely on old, locally-based technologies which may be difficult to use, expensive to maintain, and lack the full functionality that suits their needs.

The cost of adopting a new technology may appear daunting at first, but consider the benefits. New software can be customized to fit the unique needs of whatever your company requires. It also becomes easier to add features down the line because with newer architecture, even if you don’t hire the same team of engineers to build on your existing new product, a different team can easily add to it. Finally, you can own this new software, sell it to other companies in need of a similar solution and capitalize on your investment.

Hold up! This all may sound too good to be true, so let’s use some practical examples of technology which will change the way you run your business.

Push Notifications

Push notifications have become essential in software over the last few years. These quick reminders can let you know when something is going to ship, when materials are expected to arrive, or when you are running low on a product. They are a challenge to implement, but will save you a lot of time as you won’t need to be constantly checking on little tasks throughout the day.

They can be used for both mobile and web applications, but while web applications require you to be in your browser to receive them, mobile notifications can be received at any time. Mobile push notifications become very useful for getting users involved immediately and reminding them about different actions such as cart abandonment, purchase receipts, or errors with their orders.

Cloud-Based Solutions

Cloud-based solutions allow you to check in on your business, determine where a shipment of goods is or if you have a particular material in your warehouse at anytime, anywhere – without requiring a VPN to a local server. While onsite servers were par for the course in the 1990s and 2000s, there’s no comparison to the ease of maintaining a cloud-based database instead of a physical one. Amazon, Digital Ocean, and others simply have more resources to allocate than your business should ever have for server maintenance.

These solutions are regularly backed up for secure, offsite storage, and it becomes easy to increase the amount of cloud storage you need by simply increasing your plan, allowing you to scale quickly. There is the added convenience of being able to work offline and then simply reconnect with the cloud server to upload any changes and save them. Finally, a cloud-based solution still has the privacy and encrypted protection of your data with plenty of providers able to secure your data.

Machine Learning

Another feature new technology can incorporate is machine learning, which can start predicting how users of the system will be using the software. In action, this would involve suggesting what item may be of most relevance to the user, how an item might be labeled, or where an item will be sent to. A more advanced feature would be sending a notification of when the next shipment will arrive and calculating if you have space for it or offering options of where it can be placed. When push notifications are combined with machine learning, the capabilities and time you save keeps increasing.

Licensing vs Proprietary Software

Do you want to own your software or keep paying someone else to have access to their solution? There are advantages to an off-the-shelf solution, as it comes with features built in and there’s no wait time. You can request custom features to be built but you will be charged for them on top of your subscription and these may end up sold to another consumer who has a similar need. In the long term, however, you have invested into a product you can never profit off of, and if you are paying multiple licenses, it’s likely you could have built it depending on the tenure of your use.

Software is an investment. Depending on your use and needs, proprietary software can be the best decision you can make no matter the size of your company, especially one you can own after its completion. You can maximize your profitability by selling it to other companies or increase your efficiency by sharing it internally. The features it has are unique to what you decide to pay for and can continue to be customized. You decide what’s best for your business so you deserve a software that reflects it.

What comes next?

There are a lot of features customizable in software being built today, and the list could really go on endlessly. It’s important to acknowledge which features are most critical to your business. Whether they save time or generate more revenue for your company, there is going to be a cost associated with each addition you request. Start thinking about what your company really needs, discuss with it with your team, and write down your thoughts. You don’t need to craft a comprehensive list, but have an idea of what you’re going for as you look into the market.

The first thing you should be doing is finding someone to consult with who can give you honest feedback. At first, it may seem expensive to build a new project, but when you consider the returns of the added convenience and flexibility it can offer you, the price may not sound as bad as you initially thought.

We’re here if you need us. Schedule a consultation today and start moving toward a technology that suits your needs and bolsters your company’s potential.

By Vaughn Hunt