Digitization has never been such a hotly debated and urgent topic. The corona crisis acts like a catapult for digitization measures, especially for companies. Even those who have refused to come here so far will be forced into an argument. In the spirit of home office and virtual collaboration, workflows and work processes are digitized and restructured. But with which tools can the workflow be optimized and thus the potential of digitization be exploited?
The limits of Excel
For many small and medium-sized businesses, the sobering answer is often: Microsoft Excel. According to a survey by the BARC Institute (Business Application Research Center), around 80 percent of the SMEs surveyed use Excel as a planning tool and for data analysis. The Office program is also still used as a CRM database or for personal data. But its widespread use is not to be equated with its popularity. Above all, there is dissatisfaction with regard to the following aspects:
- Lack of flexibility and usability
- Data inconsistency
- Missing business logic
- Labor intensive due to manual data entry
- Unsuitable for large amounts of data
- Few evaluation options, no simulation
However, the reasons for the frustration with Excel in companies cannot be traced back to its nature alone, but also to a social development: In the course of individualization on a personal and company level as well as growing specialization, more and more niches are emerging. With advancing technical possibilities and viewing habits, the demands on the performance of productivity tools also increase. And last but not least, the fast pace of a digitized world demands one thing above all: efficiency. Meeting these modern demands was never the set goal of one-size-fits-all solutions like Excel. One more reason for companies to move away from convenience and think about an individual software solution.
The individual digitization needs of medium-sized companies cannot be met with off-the-peg software.
Tailored software solutions
Standard software is similar to the chicken-and-egg problem: Are the work processes there for which the right tool can be found, or do certain processes only arise through the use of certain software? The latter scenario is often the case. The integration of standard software is often time-consuming and costly and, last but not least, causes frustration for employees when they have to adapt their work to the tools.
The use of individual software does not only mean a substitution of the previously used software solution, but can also ensure that the work process is optimized and compressed.
With custom software, on the other hand, the focus is on the company’s own needs and requirements, which form the basis for software development. In this way, corporate processes can remain in place – in the best case scenario, the individual software can even be seamlessly integrated into existing solutions. In this way, the tools used work against instead of against – the best prerequisites for increasing efficiency.
EXTRA: Software for entrepreneurs: You shouldn’t miss these 5
More job satisfaction
However, increasing efficiency is not just a matter of the software: Ultimately, it is the employees of a company who are responsible for completing the tasks. And here, too, the factors are mutually dependent: Individual software that maps the needs of its users from the start is intuitive and does not require a long training period. There is also no need to switch to updates, which are often installed involuntarily in standard solutions. And a good user experience ultimately unconsciously results in a qualitative and quantitative improvement in performance.
Long-term cost savings
For many companies, however, the use of individual software is not a question of practicality, but of cost. At first glance, the individual development is of course the bigger investment, since the conception and programming are time-consuming and therefore cost-intensive. In the long run, however:
- a cost saving that results from the optimization of the work processes with the new tool.
- Investment security: When working with an agency, the source code of the software is usually handed over in its entirety, including the documentation.
- There is also a fixed contact person for problems or change requests, and programs can be continuously developed within the framework of long-term cooperation.
In contrast to license costs, regardless of whether it is a one-time price or a subscription, the development of individual software is an investment in the future of a company.