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Information and communications technology is becoming the dominant driving force in society and business.

Look closely at what’s happening in the world, and the beating heart of technology innovation isn’t our funky, labour-saving gadgets (please, this isn’t the 80s) – it’s software.

Isn’t it time you became a ‘software company’ too? Software is everywhere, and no-one can afford to be on the outside looking in.

Every leading business uses software as a strategic weapon to improve business processes and/or increase revenue. Pretty much every person relies on software to communicate, trade and work. (That includes your business and all your customers, by the way.) The world’s most valuable companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft are basically software companies But then – when you think about it – so are banks, media firms, retailers and every other kind of business… So you need to know more about software development.

It figures that if you invest the time to incorporate technology and software into your business planning, it will pay off. Rest assured that just little a few small steps can get you a long way.

Software for new revenue, or software for improving business processes?

Of course Barclays, Virgin and Marks & Spencer aren’t ‘software companies’ in the strictest sense of the word; rather they and other leading businesses have fully embraced the benefits of software for one or both of two primary purposes: Making money by ‘going to market’ with a software driven service This will either be genuinely novel, or else disrupts the market by delivering an existing service via a new software-driven platform and business model.

Generating increased efficiencies and improvements by targeting existing business processes and optimising them through the use of software Rather than targeting customer acquisition and revenue as its objectives, these software projects are typically justified by reducing business costs.

Both of these mutually exclusive approaches have a radically different relationship with business strategy. For example, launching revenue-generating services naturally involves a significant amount of market planning, customer research, marketing and pricing, payment processing etc. Conversely, business process optimisation projects are likely to be more concerned with complex internal relationships between resources and highly specific user groups.

The more unique your objectives, the more pointless buying pre-built software becomes

Now here’s the thing,

  • Unless you are so desperately in need of software that you are prepared to make huge compromises
  • Unless you have a very simple requirement that you share with thousands of other companies
  • Unless you’re dealing with a handful of users rather than tens, hundreds, thousands or millions

Unless any of these things, buying off-the-shelf software is never going to be an on-the-money decision for your business.

More often than not, the solution lies in a bespoke software development process orientated to your specific needs, the outcome of which is a piece of software for you and no-one else.

To make a business plan your own, make the technology your own!

Ask yourself: if you want competitiveness, creativity and change designed for your unique business goals, why invest in products designed for anyone else’s? Once you’ve taken software into the heart of your organisation, captured the objectives you want to harness it for, and understood the approach you need to take for software development – you’re well on the way to improving your business, let alone your business plan!