Software inefficiencies take many forms, but overall, their cumulative impact on your business operations can be significant. From delaying your time-to-market, forcing your staff to spend lots of additional time on tasks, to causing duplicate efforts between departments or even individual employees, a fragmented information system is a costly strain on your bottom-line.
However, while we could all agree that software inefficiencies are unwanted, they may not be apparent on first glance. In fact, you might assume that certain tasks are a natural part of your operations, but in reality, those tasks are delaying your business from achieving its goals.
Top Software Inefficiencies
Below, we’ve detailed the leading examples of where software inefficiency is slowing down your workflow, adding cost to your bottom-line and making it needlessly difficult for you to compete in your industry.
Lack of Systems Integration
First, the lack of integration between your information systems causes a number of problems, some of which can actually affect your business operations at multiple levels.
For example, the inability of one system to relay information to another – such as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and your inventory management suite – can force your staff into manual data entry, which not only eats into their time (that can be spent on more valuable tasks) but raises the risk of inconsistent or conflicting information about your buyers.
The impacts of system fragmentation are many.
First, it delays many processes. For example, if your staff must manually collect and enter data, then that could result in longer wait times for your customers.
Second, bridging the compatibility gap could expose your operations to the risk of errors (such as incorrect data entry), which could negatively impact your customers in several ways, such as incorrect billing, service delays or incorrect product deliveries.
One of the risks of relying on off-the-shelf or Software as a Service (SaaS) offering is that the lack of integration or interoperability can cause information silos in your business.
These silos can cause different individuals, teams and/or departments duplicating efforts on the same functional task. This can include the collection and management of data, processing client or patient information and managing internal processes. Besides the loss of efficiency (occurring through redundant staff activities), these silos also prevent synergy between departments.
Lack of Awareness
The lack of synergy can cause your business to lose critical insights of your customers or even your internal operations. This denies you the opportunity to find new efficiencies, identify new or emerging market opportunities and other ways to increase profitability.
Furthermore, such silos also cause your departments to be unaware of business activities, which could result in problems for compliance reporting and cybersecurity efforts.
Besides the lack of integration and interoperability, your software infrastructure might also be reliant on older and/or poorly designed and configured applications.
Bugs & Errors
With older software, you run the risk of poor performance as well as recurring bug fixing and security vulnerabilities. Frequent errors (and bug fixing) are serious bottlenecks, especially for internal applications necessary for driving your business operations.
Not only do these issues inconvenience your users (from internal staff to external stakeholders such as customers), but they also increase your costs. For example, a bug could delay or halt business operations, causing a loss of potential sales and customers. Bug-fixing requires your IT team to spend valuable hours (or days) away from other important projects.
Lack of Needed Functionality
Your software could also lack necessary functionality. Since business environments are always changing, you may find that your software simply isn’t adapting to shifts in customer tastes, end user expectations, new technologies and other factors.
Lack of Competitiveness
If your software fails to keep-up with your industry’s expectations and needs, then you could find yourself as a weak competitor. This could be reflected in poorer user satisfaction, delays in your product and service offerings or mounting compliance problems. Granted, in some cases your software system might be functioning ‘perfectly’ as-is, but relative to your competitors, you may be falling behind and could be at risk of losing new markets and revenue sources.
The lack of functionality, integration and interoperability could potentially be remedied through ad hoc workarounds to bridge gaps or accelerate processes. However, maintaining them could add to your costs, be it in terms of duplicating certain tasks (such as data entry and processing) or delays that can otherwise be avoided through different software.
Solution: Custom Software Development
In light of these issues, you could be looking at upgrading or replacing your software systems. However, it’s important to incorporate integration, interoperability and functionality into upgrade plan right from the start. There’s little point in spending on new software unless that acquisition equips you to build synergies, increase efficiency and, ultimately, support your profitability.
Today, SaaS vendors offer solutions meant for specific problems in your workflow at relatively low cost, at least upfront. However, solely relying on SaaS could result in repeating many of the same inefficiencies already present in your system, such as lack of interoperability.
It would be a good idea to consider incorporating custom-built software into your IT upgrade. A custom developed software solution would enable you to include the exact features you need at the start of your upgrade process. Granted, it’s a challenge to procure the right talent and tools to incorporate emerging technologies into your software.
This is where seeking a custom software development company is a good idea.
Outsourcing your custom software needs lets you leverage pre-existing talent and development capacities without worrying about the fixed costs of hiring or procurement. In addition, a strong custom development company will bring insights – such as best practices in your industry – that will let you build synergies, operational efficiencies, compliance and security elements into your software, thus preventing gaps and problems from emerging in the future.
If you’re unsure of where or how to start, then contact us today to discuss your current software issues and future requirements.