Without fail, in my experience as a developer any potentially valuable custom application project has been the result of identifying some area of operation which:
- Has become unwieldy, requiring too many steps or multiple data entry
- Has become more and more demanding as a result of increased volume
- Always seemed to be behind time – trying to play catchup and not succeeding
- Required information availability not currently or effectively available
- Just “seemed” to take too long to accomplish
My post Application Value is an excellent example of creating a custom application because of unwieldiness. Another application which I designed that provided for scanning and categorizing of tax exempt certificates was an application which solved all of the issues mentioned above.
Availability of information is a key factor in identifying value – i.e. An operation may be required to maintain original records to produce during audits, yet, that same information may also be required at out-lying locations. The choice can be to maintain a file at each location (trying to keep it up-to-date at all times of course), or somehow provide the means to quickly access the information via a custom application. “Scanning and Cataloguing” such information can provide the ready access required to solve the problem – and there probably isn’t an “off-the-shelf” program to help!
Bottom line to identifying potentially valuable applications — Review operations closely to identify any of the categories listed above. Once identified – it’s time to get creative!