When the Cloud arrived on the technology scene around ten years years ago, the fanfare very quickly became deafening. There were more than a few bold predictions about how the Cloud would disrupt the software industry. One of the predictions was that legacy technology would soon go the way of the dinosaur.
SaaS solutions began popping up seemingly overnight to challenge dominant software players with promises of a lower technology TCO, painless upgrades and a more stable operating platform. In short, this brave new world of business software would be far more nimble, affordable and easy-to-adopt than its predecessor.
Custom software fell into the category of legacy technology as well. After all, companies are always better off running the newest software technology with all the latest bells and whistles. Or so the marketing literature would have you believe.
Well, it turns out that the very Cloud-based technology behind the explosion of SaaS solutions is what has now allowed companies to extend the life of their legacy software. In an ironic twist, Cloud technology has even made it easier than ever to develop new custom software solutions from the ground up to meet most any business need imaginable.
The bottom-line is that custom software development is back and here to stay for the foreseeable future. Indeed, here is why the case for custom software is greater now than ever:
We wrote about the the reasons why a hybrid Cloud approach is good for non-tech companies back in August and it’s at the top of this list too. Why? Because a hybrid Cloud allows companies to take advantage of the virtues of Cloud technology without having to give up 100% control over their data and software.
Recent advances in Cloud technology — we favor Microsoft Azure because of its stability and unmatched security — allow you to develop an entire custom software solution in the Cloud without ever missing a beat. A more recent Cloud offering is Platform as a Service (PaaS), which allows a company to develop custom software in a virtualized environment, giving you the ability to create apps without the hassle of actually maintaining the software, security, etc.
There are many other benefits to a hybrid Cloud, including the ability to outsource servers, storage and networking. But most of all, it makes it insanely easy to develop and host your applications with a lot less technology overhead.
Custom tailored solutions
A major advantage of custom developed software is that it perfectly fits how you run the business. With most commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions, whether on-premise or SaaS, a company may receive up to 90% of the functionality it needs. COTS solutions tend to come with a lot more functionality than the average company needs or ever uses, and they only allow for a minimal amount of customization. Translation: you’re on a lowest-common denominator application that won’t necessarily evolve hand-in-glove with your business.
The purpose of custom developed software is not to imitate a COTS application. The point is to capture your own special ways of doing business and build the exact workflows and automations that give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace. With the right software development talent, you can truly automate the last-mile of business to gain a lasting lead over the competition.
Lower cost and risk
The earliest argument for adopting the Cloud was that it could lower the cost associated with owning and maintaining IT infrastructure. While running custom software solutions created a competitive advantage for many mid-market enterprises, they often came with a hardware burden that increased overall IT costs. In other words, instead of just working on their own operations, many non-technical companies running custom software found themselves having to hire and retain teams of software developers, network engineers, security professionals, and more.
The arrival of the Cloud has freed up many ‘traditional’ companies to focus more time on their core business and much less time on buying and maintaining IT infrastructure. Perhaps best of all: with hardware in the hands of Cloud hosting solutions like Azure with its 99.99% uptime guarantee, the risk of unplanned system outage and data losses are a thing of the past.
To accommodate growth in the past, companies used to have to purchase the physical IT assets — servers, routers, security appliances, storage drives — but today a company can turn to a Cloud-based solution and lease the same functionality at whatever level is needed. Companies can add to or take away from their service with simple dashboard settings. An insurance company can now quickly add more bandwidth to handle data processing peaks due to seasonal enrollment, while a logistics company can add headcount quickly and manage surges in order processing during the Holidays. If it’s a question of bandwidth, the Cloud has virtually no limit on scalability.
Are you looking to deploy a digital transformation strategy for your company in 2018? If so, contact us today for a complimentary visit from one of our Cloud technology experts.