As every small business owner will know, it’s important to approach your digital strategy with due care and consideration. Part of this means doing everything you can to ensure that the software you're choosing can adapt as your business grows and your requirements change. Similarly, paying attention to trends or patterns that are emerging in consumer behaviour and your particular industry is also important.
Bearing this in mind, more and more SMEs are investing in software that will both futureproof their business and reflect changing consumer habits. This, in turn, boosts authority, showing customers that the business is willing to meet their needs. As such, a key component to SMEs' digital strategy is software that encompasses the needs of both the customer and the SME. This can be achieved through SaaS, or bespoke Software as a Service.
What is SaaS?
SaaS, or software as a service, provides a company with a managed software solution, removing the need to run applications individually as a business. Eliminating the expense of hardware and maintenance, email, CRM or HR. For example, all business processes can be managed remotely by a software service provider.
Experienced SaaS developers can tailor SaaS to meet the needs of the company in question, which is why many SMEs consider it an extremely beneficial investment to make. Aspects such as security, maintenance and file sharing are managed externally, with all data stored securely by the service provider in a secure hosting facility.
All data is provided by a cloud-based server, enabling multiple users to access data, files and the like remotely, without the need to contact others for access. In terms of streamlining processes, software as a service is a popular option, and for smaller businesses with smaller budgets, opting for a personalized cloud based software solution may just be the perfect answer.
Through the use of SaaS, all aspects of running a business by digital means, i.e. the fundamental tech to run a business effectively, can be managed from one source.
Bespoke SaaS takes this one step further, developing software directly tailored to the needs of your business.
The benefits of bespoke SaaS
1. Cost efficient
For small to medium-sized businesses, SaaS can provide the perfect solution regarding data access. If a business decides not to implement software as a service, then all software would have to be managed and accessed on site, as opposed to being taken care of by a third party. Deciding to manage software internally requires an investment in the relevant licences, as well as facilities to store all the hardware required. These concerns are taken off your hands with SaaS.
2. Benefits remote workers
Another key benefit to SaaS is the fact that software can be accessed anywhere in the world, as long as there is an internet connection. This added flexibility ensures workers can access the relevant data they need, meaning businesses processes are far more streamlined to the modern way of working. With remote working looking to grow in popularity in the years to come, this is another reason why SaaS should be considered by SMEs. Taking this one step further, bespoke software will enable businesses with complicated core functionalities to still function and perform at a top level.
3. Saves valuable time and resources
Choosing SaaS can also save you a considerable amount of time and resources, as it is completely bespoke to your business’ needs and requirements. Off-the-shelf options may be cheaper at points, however, as they are literally designed to cater for varying business needs, some SMEs may find themselves caught amongst timely and costly setbacks should they encounter an issue or problem. Bespoke software providers can be on hand to get to the core issue with a far more intrinsic understanding of what is required.
4. Better integration
For some SMEs, their business model and core functionality can be disrupted or slowed down when implementing off-the-shelf software. Meanwhile, with bespoke options, a business can specifically tailor the software from the initial design stages, leaving no room for error. With such streamlining already core to business processes, bespoke software offers great flexibility and therefore an easier onboarding process, which businesses with more complex business needs can considerably benefit from.
An investment at first, bespoke software ensures your company is streamlined, efficient, and most importantly, it provides an effective solution for both you and your customers.
About the Author
James Ansell is the Founder and Director of Code23, a software and web development agency in Reading focused on high-end UX design, cross-platform mobile apps and innovative software development.