Software Development

Why your company is a technology company.

by Rebecca McCready & Sebastiaan Fehr · June 7, 2022

Today, every company is a technology company. This is true no matter what product or service it provides, whether you know it or not. The companies that embrace this fact are the ones that survive, scale and succeed. In this article we’ll outline why this is true, and how every industry can benefit from software modernization.

Why Modernisation is so Important

Time is money. No one knows this better than a business owner. To a business owner, the more their venture grows, the more plain this becomes. Even if you aren’t paying salaries, every hour you can save increases your company’s margins. Every mistake you can prevent improves your company’s product or service.

Equipping your staff with the best possible tools is how you ensure you get the best possible results. If there’s a better tool for the job, even if it comes at a greater inital cost, it’s nearly always worth it to invest in that tech long-term. The more the tool helps, the greater this effect. The more manual work your tools can do for you, the more productive your business.

The sooner you recognise and free up the bottlenecks in your business be they software, processes or people, the better off you business will be. Alleviating bottlenecks with technology frees people from repetitive, labour-intensive work. Once we’re free from this work we can focus on more important problems. As a business owner, solving these bottlenecks is the most important work you can do. It’s only when you stop focusing on urgent tasks and prioritize these important ones, that your business will truly scale.

Luckily, today more than ever there are so many great products and services, that solve any number of business problems. Some solutions work and scale better than others. From the humble spreadsheets to complete tailor-made software packages, there’s something out there that can make your business better. And if its’t not out there, that represents an opportunity. It’s not as difficult as you might think to have software tailor-made to your business’s needs.

In the process you may even push the boundaries of your industry, raising the bar and creating disruptive innovations. It’s the leaders who embrace technology in their companies, that shape the future of their industries.

Your Business as a Process

Map your business’s processes. If you haven’t already, take the time to do this. The inefficiencies this exercise can expose will surprise you. Take the time to determine where effort is being spent in your business, and where the complexities lie. Software is a powerful tool through which you can remove inefficiencies and bottlenecks. Before using it, you should always start by understanding and optimizing your business’s processes. [Business process mapping](Business process mapping - Wikipedia) is a great way to get a clear picture of what your business does and who’s responsible.

Clarify your business’s objectives, and the process by which it achieves them. Doing this will quickly see where the largest gains can be made. You can often make dramatic improvements with small changes. Reduce redundancy, reorder work, and remove unproductive or unnecessary tasks from your business.

Once you’re at a point where human effort is the most time consuming part of the process, you should start considering software solutions. Often a business wastes untold time and money assigning staff to work which software could be doing.

Not every software solution is the right solution. It’s often the case that software is already in use within a business, but is still the bottleneck. When this is the case, It’s always worth investing in or building better software.

Modernisation Strategies

There are a few different strategies you can use to optimize your business through software. Each comes with varying levels of difficulty, time, risk and cost. You’ll need to pursue the option that makes the most sense for your business.

Premade

Don’t re-invent the wheel. Chances are, there’s a program out there that does exactly what you need. If so, this is a great option if you don’t have the budget for a development team to assist you in building your custom software. Make sure it’s a good fit, pay the licensing fee, install it within your business, train your staff and you’re set.

Be careful when introducing these types of tools into your processes though. If you’re changing your business to suit the tool, you need to consider if the tool solves the problem the most suitable way. Don’t fit your business to the tool, find the best tool for your business.

Develop

So what do you do when you have a bottleneck in your business, but there isn’t a good solution for it? So often existing solutions are a poor fit, licencing costs exceed development costs, or a solution simply doesn’t exist at all. Now’s the time to consider a bespoke software solution.

Working with a development partner helps ensure you get a best-fit solution to your business’s problem. Typically, this is initially more expensive. When improving your processes, this approach is usually the best for long-term return on investment. Developing new software gives you a solution tailor-made to solve your business problem. Done well, these solutions integrate with existing processes. This approach is easier to extend than premade software solutions.

Be sure to only take this route if there isn’t already something on the market which solves the problem. If there isn’t, building it can give a business huge competitive advantage.

In some cases developing may even represent a business opportunity. If you take your solution to market as a new product, it may make more than your business. This is often how industries grow and disruptive innovation occurs.

Benefits of Modernisation

Modernising your software and technology can bring about plenty of benefits to your company, your employees and your clients.

Better software systems result in higher productivity and frees your staff to focus their effort on meaningful work. The more meaningful the work you spend your time doing, the happier you and your staff will be.

Software automation reduces human error, and improves operational effectiveness. It will likely also increase the quality of your business’s product or service.

Software systems and automation move your business more toward a turnkey solution. By making it easier to run, you greatly enhance its market value should you choose to one day franchise or sell.

Through software, you can embed policy and procedure into the process. This makes changing processes easier. Changes to manual processes can be time-consuming and require retraining staff, and increase the rate of human error.

By optimizing your business with software, you save time and money. Novel solutions also create a competitive advantage. You may even choose to take your solution to market, creating a new product or service. Sometimes these innovations even change an industry.

Risks of Modernisation

As with any business decision, there are risks associated with modernising your software.

There’s a point of diminishing returns when investing in software. Before moving forward with switching to or creating software, first consider what you stand to gain. Consider how much time is saved per use, the reduction in rate of error, the increase in quality for the work done. Most importantly consider the rate at which the software will be used and how frequently the software will solve a problem. Every problem software could solve, could also be solved manually. Only build software when it’s clear the gains will outweigh the costs within a timeframe that makes sense for your business.

When staff or customers will use new software, consider the learning curve required to make the switch. There may be time needed to re-train and offer support to on-board customers and staff.

The new software could take longer to implement than expected. This may lead to delays on projects, especially if things are hinging on the new software’s implementation.

These risks are small and shorter term - the long term benefits typically far outweigh them. If a path to improvement through software is clear, there’s an opportunity cost that comes with delays. If you see a way to improve your business, you should do so as soon as it’s feasible.

How to Begin the Modernisation Process

To begin your software modernisation process, doing your own research can get you a really long way. There may not be an existing solution available though. If you want some support, you may want to speak to a technology consultant to discover what the scope of your project will be. They can help determine the associated costs and which strategy is the best option for your business.

  1. Do your research. Read online reviews and testimonials from past clients to get an idea of what the company is like to work with.

  2. Ask for referrals. Talk to businesses in your industry who have used software development companies in the past, and ask for recommendations.

  3. Check their portfolio. Make sure that the company you’re considering has experience developing the type of software you need.

  4. Get a quote. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, get quotes from each of the companies and compare pricing.

  5. Ask about their process. Make sure that the company you choose has a clear and transparent process for developing software, so you know what to expect every step of the way.

At AIR, we’re experts at breaking things down and showing you your options. We make sure the business case for any new software project is solid before starting work, and we can provide accurate cost estimates. We’re a 100% local Brisbane based software company. When you choose us to help modernise your business, we’ll work closely and directly with you to make the technology you need a reality.

Book a consultation with us now to begin your software modernisation journey.

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