If your bespoke systems are costing you the earth, it might be time to evaluate where you can consolidate your maintenance budget. Here, we outline three ways to trim the fat from your operations.
1. Automate your system
One of the biggest costs to bespoke systems’ maintenance is people’s time. This is not just about IT’s hours being sucked up by simply maintaining and supporting your system, but wasted manual procedures from outdated software.
As a bespoke system gets older, both the system and the employees maintaining it will change. While software improvements are welcome, features that have been coded into the software can quickly become outdated. The older these features get, and the further away you move from the original intention of the system, the more team members need to work manually to keep everything ticking along. If the business as a whole is changing, the software needs to change with it.
It’s important that you have a holistic view of your system and how fit-for-purpose it still is for your company. If employees are wasting time on manual fixes for an outdated system, their hours quickly become an expensive cost. If headcount costs have become a significant money pit, it might be time to switch to a system that is quicker and easier to keep up-to-date and align with your business – working quietly and efficiently behind the scenes pushing critical changes to production environments without manual input. If your bespoke software can’t reflect the latest updates in your business, you’ll sink a huge amount of cost into making sure they do – manually.
2. Streamline your software development
With a skills shortage in the UK, software developers are hot property. Technology is also rapidly evolving, meaning it costs a lot of money to keep developers happily employed, and trained up for the latest advancements. This can mean your support costs more than you’d like, especially for small businesses, which usually end up keeping more developers on hand to support their software than they actually need. If you have a support team with fewer than five people, for example, you’ll be paying more than larger companies who can scale up and pay less per head.
If you’re a small or medium-sized business worried that you’re getting a bad deal, make sure you look at your software support team in the first instance. Are they priced competitively? Are you in control of maintenance costs and do you have a long-term budget, or are you simply paying extortionate ad-hoc fees? If you’re worried about internal resources, are you investing enough in employee engagement to keep your tech team happy? It’s worth making sure that your support is also skilled and efficient enough for your needs, otherwise you’ll end up paying more to fix problems in the long run.
3. Keep up with the cloud
While hosting infrastructure has become much cheaper in recent years with cloud technology, a lot of bespoke software is not actually developed for these new platforms. Don’t make the mistake of thinking moving to a public cloud will cut costs either. Technology such as Microsoft SQL Server is surprisingly expensive to use, while software that is incompatible with the latest tech stacks run on the premise that they will incur costs from licencing maintenance and support.
True cloud technology means bespoke systems that benefit from the immense possibility and improvements from serverless computing. They don’t have set up and running costs of outdated technology and aren’t left with a bill when those servers go down. As well as keeping down the amount spent on tech, they also free up developers’ time to work on more important things such as enhancements, new features, safety and performance, highlighting once again that time is the most valuable resource when it comes to bespoke software.
Find out more about our Software Development as a Service plans to support your bespoke systems.