First — In the interest of public discloser I must confess that perhaps I am biased on the subject of custom applications. While writing my previous post I found myself once again becoming excited about application development, and more especially the value that such an application can bring to an operation. I suspect that thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of potentially high value applications remain undeveloped because those responsible for the operation do not realize that it is possible to have the kind of efficient, specific and valuable applications developed at a reasonable cost.
Development tools available today provide the means to easily produce an application in stages, creating an initial database, entry forms and limited reporting as users are loading data into master tables etc. While my experience with development tools other than Visual Dataflex (VDF) is limited, I’m aware that there are multiple paths to produce powerful applications for a reasonable cost. The applications can easily be multi-user at the start and grow as additional functionality is desired. No need to use an expensive database, although the tools in most cases can “talk” with multiple databases.
So, back to “Why a Custom Application?” I’d list the following:
- Custom Apps can be “lean and mean” – no “extras” needed
- “New” functionality is added only as desired, not at a designers whim
- “Lean and mean” is efficient
- More “understandable” for users – thus easier to use with fewer errors
- A well developed app can provide excellent return on investment
- “Off-the-shelf” software doesn’t really “fit” your needs or requires too much in the way of training, maintenance or “tweaking” for it to be of value
- Your industry doesn’t have any “canned” vertical market software available, or it is designed for too large/small an operation, is too costly, doesn’t “fit” the way you want/need it to.
You can probably think of many others as well, but I believe those above list covers the gambit.
Next Post — “Factors Against a Custom Application?”