Technology is absolutely critical for supporting business growth and expansion. However, as a company evolves, it begins to outgrow its technology. Larry Cox, owner of Ontario-based trucking firm Polaris Transportation Group, faced this predicament. Polaris was enjoying significant growth, but its outdated computer systems were acting as a ceiling to its expansion.
“Our computer systems were cracking due to the sales volume,” said Mr. Cox in an interview with BDC.
One of the biggest benefits of custom software to a growing business is its versatility. Commercial software is not as dynamic and improves at the pace of the masses. However, adapting your software to meet your changing needs isn’t spontaneous — it requires planning and preparation.
Here are four steps to make custom software part of your business growth strategy:
1. Embrace New Technology
Excelling businesses employ technology strategies that give them a competitive advantage by improving workflow, saving time and money, and providing superior quality and service levels. However, custom software may seem intimidating and costly to a tech sector outsider.
“Businesspeople have difficulty spending money on something they aren’t familiar with. I have no problem investing in a new model of truck or trailer. But when I’m faced with technology that I can’t touch or feel, it’s harder to see the value in it,” Mr. Cox told BDC
Despite his trepidation, Mr. Cox decided to invest in custom software several times. As a result, Polaris has boosted its capacity and tripled its gross sales. When competing in today’s increasingly tech-based marketplace, a business must embrace changing technology to survive.
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” — Bill Gates
Before applying a custom software solution to your business processes, it is essential that you evaluate the processes themselves. Can you eliminate any processes? Can you merge some activities? Take the time to streamline your operations before moving forward with custom software.
3. Hire the Right Developers
When hiring a developer like Gravit-e for your custom software, it’s important to think long term. Building software is one thing, but maintaining and updating that software is another. You need to ensure that your custom software is constructed with flexibility so it can easily be extended or updated, preferably by the same developer.
An indicator of a promising development team is a good record with its previous clients. What level of support is being providing to their clients? Are their current applications up to date? Ask for case studies and check references.
4. Be Proactive
Don’t wait until your software is inefficient before updating or replacing it. By then it may already be a burden that compromises your service and requires additional staff and effort to maintain.
Performing smaller, regular enhancements rather than one major update every few years has the advantage of:
– Minimal disruption to business practices
– No staff retraining costs
– Allowing you to consistently provide services at an optimal level
– Increasing the likelihood your technology strategy succeeds
Map out your business goals and potential growth areas to anticipate technology roadblocks that may appear.
By embracing technology, hiring the right team and keeping your eyes on the horizon, you will position your business to leave the competition behind.
Content in this article regarding Polaris Transportation Group is provided in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada. To read more please visit the BDC website.