Don’t Do IT Yourself: Why You Should Consider Outsourcing Your Software

Just because a business has the resources to build bespoke software themselves, does that mean it's always a good idea? You may wonder why so many Social Media Managers don't actually manage their own accounts, or web-designers don’t maintain their own websites. In a similar vein, this article aims to explore the ins and outs of DIY tech, and why it can often be a good idea to get someone to build it for you.

Let’s think of it this way: you’re probably more than able to cut your own hair, but chances are, you get someone else to do it for you. (And if you don’t, fair play, but you’ve just ruined our analogy. Tut tut.) Cutting your own hair would be time consuming, probably very messy, and if you’re anything like us, you’re in for a good chance of ending up with some sort of mullet / bowl-cut hybrid. Not the best look.

Similarly, it’s often the case with business. Not mullets and bowl cuts, thankfully, but finding out that designing their own tech is actually far more of a hassle than it’s worth. Not only does it take up valuable time that could be spent on sales, existing work, or your general business processes, but this time translates into money. Or rather, a loss of it.

It’s an easy trap to fall into when it comes to designing your own software, managing your own social media or building your own spaghetti code spreadsheets. Theoretically, you may imagine that if you do it all yourself, you won’t have to spend much, if anything at all. But this isn’t always strictly true. The money you save in service charges and existing software will most likely all be lost through time. Time that you could’ve spent working on your own clientele.

This means that in reality, despite first appearances, building your own software becomes more of a false economy than a money-making shortcut. An expert, for example, might be able to build that exact same software you can, but in a fraction of the time - so, yes you have to pay them for their services, but the time saved will most likely equate to a far bigger ROI.

In fairness though, we’re not saying building your own software is entirely a bad idea - in fact, more often than not, bespoke software is the best way to create efficient, business-first tech that works precisely for your requirements. But the point here is that it’s often not beneficial to build it yourself, even if you do have your own tech-expert.

As such, there’s a multitude of ways you can get this software without having to use your own resources. And that’s the real ticket when it comes to business.

Want some bespoke software building? We bring both the knowledge and know-how, alongside a brilliantly business mind. In short, we can keep your ROI happy whilst bringing you the tech you need.

Business Know-how or Programming Wit? The Tech-Design Tussle

With the rapidly changing landscape of IT and business, having the right line-of-business (LOB) software is becoming more and more important to keep on top. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the ins-and-outs of software design, and aim to answer the question: Do you need to be a genius programmer to build high quality, line-of-business software? 

You may think it’s an obvious answer. Surely, without in-depth programming knowledge and know-how, where would you even begin with designing line-of-business software? But the clue’s in the name. If you don’t know what your business actually needs, how will you decide what exactly you want the software to do? 

The short answer, then, is a resounding no. Designing line-of-business software isn’t about knowing your way around the ins-and-outs of deep C++ script, or being able to jump into the Matrix at will. It’s instead about having an in-depth knowledge of your business requirements, and applying them to the design of a program.

A genius programmer can certainly make headway when it comes to designing software - they are a genius after all - but without knowing exactly what you need the specific software to do, you’ll probably just end up with a catch-all piece of tech that will need constant attention and development as your business requirements take shape. And we all know how that ends up... (the dreaded spaghetti code… *shudder*). 

Therefore, knowing exactly what you need the software to do before it comes to the build will put you in far greater stead than just rushing headlong into the nitty-gritty world of code. In much a similar way to choosing what software to use, it’s ironically more difficult - and arguably more important - to analyse your business and design a system around exactly what you need it to do, rather than actually programming and coding one.

As such, a tightly-scoped, simple program can actually deliver far more of a benefit than a genius-ly complex piece of software that’s able to simulate entire worlds, whilst also washing your dishes. Although - to be fair - that would be quite useful. But it certainly wouldn’t be cheap, and would probably take a good few thousand years to design.

Heading back to reality for a hot second, a little bit of both never did any harm, sure. But the point here is that this is software for business. And that means ROI, UX, UI and everything in between. As such, it’s probably best to let Mr. Business Whizz run wild before you even dip your toes in the type of code you want to use. That way, when your local tech person gets to work, you have a clear plan of exactly what’s needed; leading to a tightly scoped and efficient technological wonder, rather than a wild, untamed beast. 

So, in conclusion, the ultimate dream would be some sort of robotic business-whizz-programmer-genius-hybrid, but if you don’t have one of those to hand: know your business before you sow your code, and you’re well on the right track to getting your business running like clockwork. 

That sounded quite profound, didn’t it?

Need any help designing LOB software? We bring all the Business Whizz-dom you’ll need. We have a wealth of management consulting experience - but are also competent programmers. Go with us, and you get the best of both worlds. Check out our website for more information.

The Perils of Home-Grown Spreadsheets: When To Contact a Consultant!

Bespoke software can be a fantastic way to save a bit of bank, especially when you don’t require a fully fledged software system that does everything from automating invoices to making you a hot cuppa in the morning. But how far can a home-grown spreadsheet go? In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the common issues that arise, and when it’s probably about time to contact a consultant!

Analysing data, automating tasks, streamlining business processes; a Spreadsheet can be a powerful tool in the right hands. But, like the tender leaves of a Bonsai Tree, they need care, attention and a loving prune once in a while if they are to stand the test of time.

Often a spreadsheet solution arises out of a specific business need - but, then again, what type of solution doesn’t - and it falls to your local tech guy or gal to take it upon themselves to create it. It’s all well and good, and it works just fine; exactly as intended. But the lack of formal training in spreadsheet design may yet reveal itself as a problem further down the line... 

These hand-made solutions often work well. For a while. But over time new requirements are added, staff members (that actually knew what was going on) move on, newbies start adding more and more code, tangling and weaving like a kid’s bowl of spaghetti, and eventually you end up with a bloated, tangled mess of software that no-one quite understands. Not only that, but this poor, bloated piece of software might even become slow, buggy, or just plain broken.

But, just as a weed-ridden flowerbed needs the green fingers of a gardener, the tangled roots of old spreadsheet software often needs the deft hand of an IT consultant. It’s actually a far more common problem than you’d think, stretching across all types of industry, and it’s a problem we’re often asked to deal with. 

In short, bespoke software often takes on a life of its own when multiple people contribute, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be reigned in and returned to its former, succinct glory. It’s not necessarily just a matter of cleaning out some old, nasty code though, but when it comes to rebuilding a solution, we’ve spent years refining and perfecting our spreadsheet know-how like some sort of techie Sherlock. Not to toot our own horn. 

So, terrible analogies aside, is your home-grown spreadsheet:

  • A tangled mess of code?
  • Slow?
  • Buggy?
  • Just plain broken?
  • All of the above?

Then it’s probably about time to call in the big guns. Don’t worry, we’ll have your bespoke pride-and-joy back up and running in no time.

Need help with sorting out old and outdated spreadsheet solutions, or need some new bespoke software creating? Take a glance at our website to see how we can help.

Welcome to the BTC blog!

We’ve had a very busy few months since our incorporation, but it's about time for us to get involved with the business and software development community by sharing our views on industry topics that we feel are important to us and our clients.

Our goal is to kick-off a discussion around current issues in the business technology world, discuss our experiences, talk about lessons learnt and share our company philosophies with the wider community.

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