What is software customization and how does it help my business?

SOFTWARE CUSTOMIZATION


 

Today’s software choice is enormous and their capabilities seem limitless. It not only can be overwhelming to choose the right one but also once installed the amount of options, setting and features can give a bit of a headache. Most businesses give too little time for a proper software configuration, and there is nothing to be surprised about it. After all today’s software can also be very expensive and everyone who pays for it just wants a ready to go, out of the box product. Unfortunately in most cases things are not that simple but stick along, and we will show you how a truly in-depth configuration and customization of your software can significantly improve your business workflow as well as your customer satisfaction.

Let’s start from the beginning and explain what does configuration and customization mean and how are they different for each other. Software configuration are the changes you make with the basic setting to your application and customization are also changes but more complicated ones regarding the existing features in the program. The later one also relates to creating some external apps which are used to improve original options to some specific requirements. All these actions can have a huge impact on the work flow, but it is crucial while squeezing every last drop of the software to look at the big picture and include all the parties that may work with the received data.

In civil engineering there is a term called BIM – Building Information Modeling. It’s core idea is to work on one set of data from start to finish. All parties included like designer, architects or installation department use building information which can be extracted, exchanged or networked among them gaining additional data each time. In an ideal system, the input of individual data should be done only once. That way the mistakes along the process when it comes to information are dramatically reduced. The main idea behind this system is easily transferable among every workflow working on with any data. You might by asking by now what does it all have to do if customization and configuration of software. To best show the benefits and improvements that those services provide we will bring a real life example of a construction company in which they made wonders to its work process.  

Average times of drafting accaptance drawings

Comparison of amount of errors per drawing

Before the customization, the first step were the acceptance drawings made with the data from the offer and then with the same date the calculation and construction drawings were prepared. In just those stages alone we had three inputs of the same data. It was a source of a lot of mistakes later on were. There were even some cases where basic building dimension were different from the offer. The company had the BIM in mind but thought that it is only possible on this scale by investing in additional custom software which cost a small fortune. We’ve made them rethink that, by customizing the software that this company already had thus reducing the additional cost to absolute minimum. For example for the first stage we have used an Excel file for inputting the basic building data like dimensions, amount of axes, type of walls etc. which then, by customizing some option in drawing software were transformed automatically into a sketched building which only needed few touches to be finished. In every step of the way, in every program they are using we have configured them in a way that the date from previous stage could be used without any additional inputs in the next one. Hundreds of custom templates were created and every option for even the slightest automation of the work flow was used. It not only changed the engineering part of the process, but  also we’ve managed to set up bills of materials in a way that it could automatically be put in calculation sheets for order and finance department thus reducing the amount of work and the errors occurred while inputting data. And bear in mind that it was only done with the basic software that this company already had.

Now, what about some figures behind this project? First, let’s look on the graph above with the amount of time it took to prepare a simple acceptance drawing. Before the customization it was about 8 hours but now it dropped dramatically to a rough 2-hour time. It’s worth noting that in those 2 hours most of the time is spent to really polish up the product, making it better than before. Also, as you may see the amount of errors on this stage was reduced to a staggering 0.44 per drawing. Nearly the same effect was observed in every step of the work process that software customization and configuration took place. It revolutionized their workflow, made easier transitioning between departments, reduced drastically costs of any mistakes by eliminating the big ones and all for a fraction of a price of additional custom application which may not even work in every stage.

When it comes to software it is crucial to take time, choose the best one which could be compatible with what we already own or what might be in the future. Those well-known, trusted  brands may be the best option as they offer a lot of external connection between other software’s. Customization and configuration isn’t the most promoted solution in IT industry but it certainly is a great alternative to a custom application which prices may be horrendous and effects less than satisfying. When done by professionals the end results might make your business a truly well-oiled machine in which everyone’s work is easier and overall better. But not only you and your workers can benefit from this solution. By reducing unnecessary times and errors, offered product or services can gain in quality while costing your business less than before. And there can be many more advantages. That’s the great thing about configuration and customization of your digital workflow, they make those hugely packed and advanced software’s your-business-friendly gaining new and additional benefits along the way.