Improving a Paper-to-digital Transition Process
Compared to off-the-shelf software, custom software can solve almost any business issue. Some popular examples of custom software are CRM, ERP, and E-commerce apps. CRM, standing for client relationship management, contains the basis of a business’s connections with their customers. Enterprise resource planning, or ERP, is a system that keeps different areas of a company under control. Apps for E-commerce allow buyers and sellers to connect with each other easily. Though these technologies can be built, there are plenty of off-the-shelf versions available. True custom software is the solution to one specific business idea that cannot be fixed with technology that is already built. Here are three examples of custom software that is made to service issues for various businesses.
One example is a major car manufacturer facing the chip shortage during the pandemic. Without these chips, unfinished vehicles were hard to find on the lot. Fortunately, the manufacturer’s employees had help from another technology: GPS. Using the rough coordinates from each vehicle’s GPS unit, workers could plot out the approximate location of an individual vehicle. This method required software that could fine-tune the process for finding each car. A software that could store and compile where different vehicle identification numbers (VINs) were located was the best solution. Implementation of this software would improve the employee’s workflow.
After struggling to locate the needed vehicles in a timely manner, this dealership looked for a different solution. The car dealership connected the vehicles’ information and VINs to their GPS locations. By constructing their own software with GPS, the workers could search for a specific vehicle by using its VIN. Searches with the software provided exact locations and other details like car model and color.
While you can build your own GPS system from scratch, there is an easier way to incorporate GPS technology: APIs. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are software that is already built and easily incorporated into your own software. For the dealership, instead of drawing and graphing maps of their property, they simply incorporated Google Maps technology into their product. With Google Maps as their API, the company could harness pre-established mapping technology for their own application. Along with “outsourcing” the technology from Google, the car dealership benefited from Google’s frequent updates to the maps, keeping the dealership’s focus on finding their vehicles rather than revising their own maps.
In this case, a company created custom software to streamline their job processes. Constructing unfinished vehicles is now more efficient as engineers and technicians can pinpoint the exact location of the car they need to work on. The next example demonstrates how custom software makes filing taxes with an accounting firm easier for both you and the accountants.
While working at a national accounting firm, employees realized they were inundated with calls from clients every day during tax season. This kept the accountants from their filing work and productivity across the firm decreased. On the client side, taxpayers were left wondering when their taxes would be filed and how far along the process was. Confusion and frustration led to clients calling their accountants in order to find out more information. Both accountants and clients were having difficulties and a customized solution was needed to make tax season easier for both parties.
The solution to this issue was a mobile app that allowed customers to track both their personal and business taxes. If a client wanted to see how their taxes were coming along, instead of calling their accountant, they could log into the application and view their account. Accountants update the taxes’ progress so clients are never out of the loop. If the accountant needs more information from their client, they can denote it in the app for the client to contact them. The app keeps customers informed and allows accountants to focus on their work.
Clients could now see the progress of their tax returns at any time, cutting down the amount of calls across multiple time zones to the firm. This unlimited access made communication faster between client and accountant, lowering the overall correspondence time. Over the first year of implementation, the app cut down client correspondence by 10%, and the firm projects it will more than double that percentage in the second year. Finally, the application offers the best-in-class security solution that fully integrates into the firm’s existing database. The accountants can focus on their work rather than balancing customer calls and clients do not have to worry about their taxes or security. Security and efficiency is important, especially when we take a look at custom software in the medical world.
A case in the medical field revolves around a medium sized hospital system. These hospitals, especially in light of the pandemic, wanted to record the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the amount of handwashing across all units. Previously the PPE technicians would tally how many times each nurse washed their hands or changed PPE with pencil and paper. Then the technicians would walk 20 minutes to the administrative office to document their data, and then walk 20 minutes back to the hospital. This process is slow and not performed in an effective way for data-driven decision making.
The solution is an application that can be used on both mobile and desktop where nurses could quickly record their handwashes and PPE changes with the tap of a button. The app is designed like a chart and sorted by each unit in the hospitals. Nurses need to select their unit and add their data to their own corresponding row. As this is already digitized, the technicians do not have to travel 40 minutes both ways just to record their paper data onto a computer. The data is stored safely on the software.
The use of this software enables the hospital administration to make data-driven decisions. Technicians no longer have to guess about compliance issues based on gut instinct alone. With the data readily available, hospital admins can compare the gathered data, especially when looking at the rates of health and safety compliance. The app is designed specifically for all the nurses’ needs. For example, nurses can switch between left- and right-handed functionality on mobile. Nurses can record their data quickly in the app and technicians do not have to walk 40 minutes to input the data; these are both examples of how custom software improves employee experience. Lastly, this software solution solves the problem of converting paper files to digital, therefore improving the process, scale, and automation of the hospitals.
This look at three less traditional types of custom software demonstrates how expansive the need for tailored applications is. In order to find unfinished vehicles on their lot, a car dealership built a tool that uses GPS to map out the location of the cars. By building an app that allows customers to see the state of their tax returns, an accounting firm saw a decrease in calls asking about their taxes. A hospital system created software to effectively record data relating to health and safety compliance. Processes within these companies are improved. Employees’ workloads became lighter and customers could avoid difficulties. These custom software examples make business smoother and transitions conventionally-stored information into the digital world.