Custom Software Versus The Cloud App


I was doing an app review for one of my clients the other day.

Years ago, they had a custom app developed for them to run their business on.

As time has passed, changes have been made here and there to improve the app.

But it’s not perfect.

There are things they don’t like about the app.

There are things that don’t work quite as they should.

And then there’s the issue of money.

All that money they put into the dang thing.

You see, building the perfect beast is not always an easy task.

The 10,000 Foot View

As part of my review, I learned the basics of the app.

What it does and how it functions.

Like many custom apps I review, it has a Customer Relationship Management or CRM functionality that it does.

Companies, Contacts, and Information.

It has some integrations for sending emails and notifications.

It also keeps track of inventory.

And it ties into their billing system.

Yep, from a 10,000-foot view.

There’s nothing special to see here.

But it’s my baby

Now here’s the thing.

This app is this company's core line of business app.

They’ve been running on this app for years.

So moving to something else is a hard ask.

Tempering current frustrations versus the desire to change is hard to do.

But they’re open to the idea of change.

And that’s a good thing.

They’re open to the possibility of being able to do more.

And hence the review.

So where do we go from here?

Eventually, a change will need to be made.

Right now this client is just trying to get a handle on what they have and what it would take to move.

The high-level review tells us that they have some good options.

Salesforce, Oracle NetSuite, Sage Intacct or Microsoft Dynamics 365.

And any of these could fit the bill.

Or they could decide to just custom build again.

So why a cloud app?

Here’s the thing.

In this specific case.

There is no feature or function that makes the current custom app unique.

All features and functions could be done with any of the above-listed cloud-based apps.

But there’s more.

The cloud apps listed above do way more than this custom build app could ever hope to do.

There are speeds and feeds that could create new opportunities to improve this businesses ability to service their customers and increase revenue.

So this is where this conversation is headed...

What are our requirements?

Do we build or buy?

What are the features and benefits?

And last but not least.

What’s the cost model look like?

So off I go.

Let’s see where this one goes.