Software Feasibility Study: Questions To Ask When Deciding Between Custom And PrePackaged Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
When it comes time to invest in a new application, the software feasibility study is crucial in understanding what you really need. Before making a decision, it is essential to understand the current situation, pinpoint the pain-points, and determine the various technologies that should be considered. It is also imperative that if you are going to spend the time and resources on a project, whether custom or off-the-shelf, you resolve your problem and improve your entire system, whether it’s the efficiency of a process or collection of meaningful data.
Rule #1: If there is a prepackaged option that does everything you need, initially it will be less expensive. However, there are many more things to consider before you sign the contract. Answer the software feasibility study questions below to discover the best solution.
Begin Your Software Feasibility Study By Answering These Questions…
Let’s outline a few questions to consider before deciding on Custom Development or PrePackaged Software.
Business Questions That Need An Answer
- Effect On Business – This area will relate to revenue, efficiencies, including time savings and ROI, product offerings to customers, how these offerings compare with competitors’ offerings, and the satisfaction of employees.
- Who Will Use – Internal, external, decision-makers, other.
- Interoperability (Now & Future) – Which other systems, and how many, within the company should this new application interact seamlessly? Can and should it integrate with the current system? Will it run on infrastructure, in the cloud, or have to work as a hybrid or multi-system application?
- End-User Sophistication Level – Can this be a complex system, or should the user experience be in single steps? Is the audience expecting high-design, or can it be more “database” driven (i.e Turbo Tax vs. H&R Block Software)?
- How Much Data Will Be Delivered And Produced – This is a very important question. You should make sure the expectations align with your network and infrastructure. In addition, make sure that you plan to collect your data in a format that can be used for future predictive modeling and any automation that may be in your future if AI becomes part of your plan.
- How Much Data Will Be Delivered And Produced – This is a fundamental question. You should make sure the expectations align with your network and infrastructure. Besides, make sure that you plan to collect your data in a format that can be used for future predictive modeling and any automation that may be in your future if AI becomes part of your plan.
- What Is The Potential Value Of The Data – If it is proprietary to you and can be used to help in decisions, identifying trends, and assist in other areas of the company, the value increases exponentially.
- Process – Is there a specific process you need to follow for (a) creating custom software, or (b) purchasing and implementing a pre-packaged software solution?
- Business Rules & Business Logic – What e the business rules and what is the business logic for the specific application you would like to implement? The rules represent the portion of the software that is specific to your application’s core behavior and will remain fairly constant, while the logic is often subject to change as customer needs dictate. Define the core requirements and the adjustable requirements.
- Support (Now & Future) – Do you have people to support the application? In situations where there is no internal support, NMG is often tasked with upkeep and adjustments to keep the logic client based and in keeping with company directives. Pre-packaged software will typically have a support team that keeps the application updated but rarely offers the ability for meaningful customizations to fit changing requirements.
- System Integration – Do you have other applications you need to integrate with? Are there existing integrations that need to be considered? If so, will you be using the same approach or with the integrations be part of the new system? Do you control the integration points for the application or is it a packaged solution? If so, do you have all the licenses you need to operate and modify?
- Custom Reporting – Do you need custom reporting?
- Accessibility – With the many law suits creeping up on companies due to lack of accessibility, it is important to understand your requirements as a company and weigh the options. Accessibility can take additional time in application development, while many off-the-shelf solutions may not have every aspect of accessibility addressed and cannot be modified or require a work-order and fee to resolve.