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There’s no excuse for one-size-fits-all software anymore

Technology is supposed to help your teams work together, improve your productivity, save everyone time, and free people up from the most mundane tasks. And while this does happen, in many cases, software tools are actually hurting your team's productivity. 

Research has found that companies are using a lot more apps than they can manage comfortably. Businesses with a few hundred people are using 89 apps on average, while larger companies (those with more than 2,000 employees) are using almost twice as many. People are getting bogged down by notifications, they find it difficult to locate key information, and struggle to get their heads around one-size-fits-all apps that don’t match the structure of their business. 

In fact, it’s precisely because these tools are so generic that businesses keep having to add more of them, because they don’t have all the functionality required, meaning more needed to fill the gap. At the same time, you’ll see new tools rolled out with great fanfare only to be scrapped 12 months later, either because no one wants to use them, or no one has figured out how. And the cycle continues. 

All of this means companies are suffering with an expensive sprawl of generic tools and point solutions that don’t work together and severely damage productivity. Custom software is the obvious solution to this problem, but it’s traditionally been out of reach for most companies, due to the large costs and complexity involved. That was until Qatalog. 

Qatalog is on a mission to democratize access to custom software, giving every business a made-to-measure operating system to run their business, in a fraction of the time and cost. But before we get into that, let’s explain what custom software is, why it’s useful, and why it’s not been accessible until now. 

What is custom software?

Custom software is precisely what it sounds like — it refers to software applications that are tailored specifically to your business’s needs. They’re not only designed with your organization’s unique tasks, processes, and workflow in mind, but also with your preferred terminology. 

Tech giants like Meta, Amazon, Stripe, and Shopify use custom software to manage their internal operations because they realized that generic off-the-shelf solutions don’t cut it. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. All sorts of companies have either built their own solution or used external developers to design something specifically for their needs. 

These are some of its big advantages:

1. It’s tailored to your needs

By design, off-the-shelf software exists to cater to a general audience. That means it’ll have features you don’t need, and your team will need to adapt to the platform's structure, workflows, and terminology. Also, the SaaS provider may prioritize product updates and developments that don’t necessarily benefit you. 

In contrast, custom software is tailored to your business’s specific requirements in a way that off-the-shelf software simply can’t be. You get all of the features you need, and not the ones you don’t. The UI/UX is designed to suit your organization’s unique workflow, and developments and update schedules are determined by your priorities. 

2. It can replace multiple solutions

SaaS sprawl has gotten out of hand. As we mentioned earlier, large organizations are using close to 200 apps. But what’s driving this behavior?

Put simply, your team has some problems that need solving, so you search for a  software tool to help out. Of course, it’d be great if you found one app that meets all your requirements, but that’s rare. It’s more likely that you find a tool that does three out of the five things required — so you’re forced to find some other tools to fill the gaps. 

But if you choose custom software, you can often create a platform that fulfills all five functions, avoiding the need for lots of individual point solutions. And this one tool will be tailored to your business, so you won’t have any unnecessary features either. 

3.It feels more intuitive

Off-the-shelf software comes with existing terminology and workflows that your team will need to get used to. As a result, these apps can be less intuitive, and adoption can be trickier. By contrast, custom software reflects your organization’s existing structure, terminology and workflows.

Just think of all the nuances in internal communication, for example. Your team might call certain types of work “campaigns,” for example. Or perhaps your engineering team works in “sprints” not “tasks.” Now, because your custom software reflects familiar terminology you actually use, new adopters intuitively know where to look. 

Why custom software has been inaccessible

We’ve established that custom software has plenty to offer. So why is it still relatively rare?

  • It can be expensive to build. Cost-effectiveness is a big reason why off-the-shelf SaaS tools are the default. Instead of paying to build your own custom software, you “rent” someone else’s platform for a fraction of the cost. To build your own system internally, you’ll need to hire a team of talented (and expensive) engineers. But outsourcing is just as expensive, if not more so, with costs often reaching hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to build. That’s why SaaS has traditionally made more sense.

  • Design and implementation take time. Building a solution to specifically meet your company’s needs isn’t easy, and it requires a good deal of time and expertise to pull off. Your engineering team (or the external consultancy you hire) will need to design software around your unique processes and workflows. Depending on the complexity of what you’re building, it will likely require lots of conversations with people from across your company and lots of review meetings.    

  • Maintenance and development costs. With custom software, there’s the build costs and the ongoing maintenance costs to think about. This can be a resource drain. When you use SaaS, the provider takes care of all the updates, testing, bug fixes, and general maintenance. SaaS providers are also incentivized to keep developing the product and implementing new features, to keep them relevant to their audience. When you use custom software, you’ll need to keep investing in development so the tool doesn’t become outdated. 

So, although custom software has a number of big advantages, the cost, complexity, and time required means most companies have little choice but to keep using the one-size-fits-all solutions. 

The democratization of custom software

Instead of hiring an expensive consultancy or a team of in-house developers, Qatalog allows you to create a custom Work Hub in under a minute, using Qatalog AI. It can then be precisely configured to fit your exact needs, with zero code required and zero technical knowledge. It’s as easy as changing the settings on your phone.  

We’ve got tech startups, agencies, consultancies, real estate firms, galleries, investment firms, manufacturing companies, and everything in between using Qatalog and each one has their own bespoke operating system to run their business. If a company uses specific terminology to reflect a distinct operating model or culture, this is also mirrored. This effectively allows Qatalog to reproduce the operations of any company and make them digitally native.

For example, agencies and consultancies often use it to create a clear system to organize their clients, centralize all the work related to projects and campaigns, manage the services they offer, and create flexible and connected teams. This helps their new joiners get up to speed quickly, as they can access all the info they need from one place.

Many of these businesses would never have considered custom software before, either because of the cost, time to deliver, or the complexity involved. With Qatalog, they now have a custom Work Hub that centralizes their people, processes, and knowledge, with all the functionality they need, in a single platform. 

It enables an entirely new way of building a tool stack for a company — and one that is radically simplified. No more bloat and wasted budgets. Just software that fits. And because everything is connected, work becomes visible, processes are automated, and collaboration is supercharged.

Book a call to see how Qatalog can help simplify your tool stack and supercharge collaboration with a bespoke Work Hub designed just for you.

A London based VP of Engineering, Leo obsesses about productivity and efficiency
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