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When Do You Need Custom Web Application Development?

Cameron Kennerly

November 19, 2020 · 5 minutes

We know it isn’t sexy but custom web application development can be pretty damn effective at helping you reach your business goals.

The question is “how do you know when you need it?”

To be frank, it all depends on a few factors:

  • What are your goals?
  • What’s the state of your business?
  • What are your business problems?

However, the biggest factor will be one of limitations (i.e. what are you currently doing that isn’t working).

Using an ineffective team of developers or commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software can produce similarly ineffective results. Exclusively or in tandem, these conditions can cause you to lose internal efficiency, time, and money depending on the project.

Thankfully, these kinds of hiccups are all too common—which means we know exactly where to start in solving them.

Here are a few instances that can clue you in when it’s time to make the jump to custom web application development…

You’re Not Getting What You Want

A pair of glasses in front a screenWhen you’re paying a development team for a specific service, you deserve what you pay for. 

Unfortunately, finding the results you’re looking for can be elusive. This can be a result of poor communication, a lack of dedicated expertise, simply dropping the ball, or all three.

When this happens, it may be time to get away from the “service team” model and get custom web application development designed for your business. The problem with most SaaS platforms that provide ongoing digital services (specifically CMS) is that they’re often doing the work for you.

However, with custom web application development, you can cut out the middleman yourself, equip your team with the right tools and bring it all in-house.

Not only can this save you a ton in monthly fees in the long run but can equip your business with propriety tech built to last.

Your Platform’s Customer Service is Terrible

Though unspecific to development teams, if you’re working with a COTS platform, you’ll likely deal with their customer service team.

Here’s a quick example:

Monday is a project management tool used by many businesses and organizations to keep track of timelines and goals. As a SaaS product, Monday provides the platform and allows users to come in, sign up, and access the tech at their discretion.

However, when adopting Monday across the board—whether you’re organization is large or small—there’s bound to be a learning curve. Now, many of these platforms have dedicated account managers to answer these questions, but not all. It depends on the size of the platform. 

As you can imagine, this questionable degree of assistance can create major problems for your business if you can’t get the help you need.

In that sense, your business really is at the mercy of your platform and not the other way around. 

Got a problem and can’t get someone on the phone? Guess you’ll have to wait…

To avoid this kind of dependency, it’s always better to employ your own custom web application development. Doing so will not only make your internal processes ownable to you, but it’ll also sever any external reliance on outside platforms.

You’ve Got Too Many Kinks in the Chain

A group of tech codersOne of the biggest problems in working with partners and collaborators is that it’s easy to have too many inputs.

For example, let’s say that you’re using a client management system (CMS) like Salesforce. However, because of legacy software in certain departments, another team is using Hubspot. 

Now, let’s imagine you have to coordinate with both of these departments on data to ensure an overarching project is completed.

Needless to say, it’s going to be a nightmare corralling both parties and systems to get what you need.

And this kind of set-up isn’t at all uncommon in businesses and non-profit organizations.

Thankfully, the solution is simple:

Consolidation.

When you launch custom web application development initiatives in-house, you get the ball rolling on bringing everyone together under one system.

The benefit is that the earlier you start in your organization’s growth, the easier it is to scale in the long run.

The Price Keeps Going Up

This is common to SaaS platforms as well as ongoing development teams: rising costs.

When your platform’s subscription rate increases significantly without an upgrade to your service or capabilities, it’s time to switch. We always advise getting all the information you need to satisfy your decision but you should always get value with your dollars.

Although it’s normal for some rates to increase over time (inflation, new services, etc.) if these upticks are constant without any additional benefits, that’s a red flag.

Ask the developer team to justify the price. If they’ve done a great job with your business, this should be a simple proposition. And if not, it may be an opportunity to negotiate a better rate or service.

You Move Beyond Their Capabilities

A cell towerIt happens; you outgrow the services of your provider.

This is an all too common occurrence for businesses and nonprofit organizations with an eye for growth—particularly for SaaS platforms.

It’s important to remember that virtually every SaaS platform is designed to be as broad and widely-appealing as possible. As a result, you’re always going to run into the wall of outgrowing your platform through niche requests.

In these circumstances, it’s often very tempting to jump into a bigger, beefier upgrade of your current platform. The downside, however, is that you’ll eventually run into the same problem as you continue to grow.

In fact, you see this pattern often in project development platforms.

For example, Trello, was originally the project management platform. Then users who grew their business within the platform started to recognize it’s data limitations. Sensing a need in the market, PM platforms like Monday and Asana quickly sprung up.

And soon, you’ll likely see replacements for them in the coming years.

Rather than putting your organization through the growing pains of learning new systems, why not give them a system they can grow with?

Their own. 

Not to beat a dead horse but that’s exactly what custom web application development is for. It creates the digital tools you need that are form-fitted for your organization. 

Like a suit designed to grow into it, rather than one that fits now, custom software is the way to go.

Moving Forward with Custom Web Application Development

If you’re business or organization is one that’s dedicated to scaleable growth, developing your own custom software is inevitable. 

At some point, you will grow out of the current platforms or development teams you’re working with, and when that happens, we’ll be there to help.

Ready to get started with custom web application development?
Click here to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.

About Cameron Kennerly

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