As technology becomes increasingly tailored for individual industries, many companies are evaluating whether or not to make the leap to something sector-specific. When evaluating business software, there are three types most companies consider:
- Generic retail box software
- Custom solutions
- Industry specific software
Like most things, each of these options has its pros and cons. Generic retail “out of the box” software often lacks the core functionality needed to see improved efficiencies. Customised software solutions are very expensive and require a lot of time, energy, and money (for example, the ratio of cost for custom software to an industry specific solution is 100:1). As such, unless there are very specific individual needs that a business cannot function without, an industry specific solution is almost always the best option.
Here are five advantages to using industry-specific software.
1: Your competitors are already using an industry specific solution.
One of the most overwhelming reasons that companies purchase industry specific software is because they not only get a solution that fits them out of the box, but they also get functionality that they didn’t even recognise they could have. This means that your competitors have already solved problems that you have still been struggling with.
2: Reduced costs of programming.
Using industry specific software is generally a fraction of the cost of creating custom software. When looking at software, a typical rule of thumb is that you are generally getting £100 worth of programming for every £1 you spend on an industry specific solution. Many companies find that when they look at it this way, it makes it much easier to live with some lack of functionality, especially if it is not really necessary for their business.
3: Work with a vendor that understands your needs.
The advantage of working with a software vendor that is in the industry is that they will go into the relationship with an understanding of your needs and problems. This gives providers a unique ability to offer solutions or suggestions they have seen your competitors use.
4: Ability to customise your software to fit your business instead of changing your business to fit your software.
This is as much a disadvantage to using a general retail solution as it is an advantage to using an industry specific package. Many companies will choose to purchase software from larger companies because they feel a comfort level with a big name. Often times they find out that they are forced to change the way they do business because the software does not accommodate their needs. Companies must be careful because larger providers in the industry often ignore the needs and requests of their clients.
5: Shorter learning curve
It is sometimes said that the real cost of software is not in the licensing fee, but more in the “soft cost” with lost productivity and morale that comes with implementing a new system. Employees may grumble at the thought of having to learn something new. You can reduce these worries (and associated costs) by working with a vendor that understands the employees needs and is talking in a language they can relate to.
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