My team is in the business of building customized technology solutions for the clients we serve. This means that every project we embark upon has something new to be discovered. No matter how similar one project may appear to be to another, they are always these little idiosyncrasies that pop up here and there. Some lead to bright new discoveries while others lead to headaches and a trip to the “bang head here” sign posted in a dark corner of the office.
One of the great things about building custom software is that it provides our clients the opportunity to build something cutting edge and laser-focused on their business goals and technology resources. The corresponding truth, though, is that those goals and resources change over time. They grow, they shrink, they pivot, and they shift. In their wake they leave a custom technology solution that grows antiquated and harder to use.
When using off-the-shelf software tools, it’s not that hard to cut the cord and move to something new. But when you’ve invested significant time, money, and effort in building your own system, it’s much harder to let go and “start over.” The truth is, though, we’re never really starting over. Every new adventure is informed by those that have come before it. We’ve learned what works, and what doesn’t. We may not be able to guarantee what’s in the future, but we can learn from the past and make processes even better.
We just finished a complete overhaul of a system for a client that lasted well over a decade. In custom-software terms, that’s a long time. I was proud that something we created lasted that long through changes in both technology and business leadership. The new system was expensive and required much planning, but it was great for the entire team to come to the table knowing what we needed because it opened the door to explore how new technology could add true value to the endeavor.
You and your business may never be in a place to build your own app, custom web portal, or business integration system. What you do may be so “normal” that existing tools solve your problems and don’t require any customization or integration. Times do change, though, and we would all do well to regularly review pain points, opportunities, and ways to harness new technology in ways that help us better achieve business goals and personal satisfaction in life.
Written by Chet Cromer for publication in the Business Leader