I’m quietly celebrating today knowing that we just hit a home run for somebody. A client came to us in total frustration because they couldn’t get their software service to do what they needed. The cloud-based software service they were paying to run their business couldn’t be modified or expanded to allow them to take advantage of some great opportunities the client had identified.
For years the client was paying (some pretty high fees) to use the online ERP system to run its business operations in the field of property management, logistics and delivery services. The client is both aggressive and innovative and had identified opportunities to add additional services but couldn’t get the SAAS provider to modify the system to allow for new software modules to be implemented into the system. That meant they either had to ignore the idea, track it by hand, or buy some off the shelf product to run separately in order to track the additional services.
The client even asked for permission to pay for code modifications, but of course they were denied access to the code. At this point, they realized that they didn’t really own anything. They were reliant on the SAAS provider to create the code; the provider chose the code themselves; the client had no input on what direction the code would take; they couldn’t add new features. The list went on and on. In fact, our client realized that if the company running the software were to shut down, the client would have nothing. Sure, the client owned its own data, but without the software to process and analyze the data, they really had a mountain of inaccessible information.
Successful companies often outgrow their infrastructure and support systems as the company expands beyond the capabilities of their original software. Inventory, financial, delivery and personnel management systems that were implemented when the company started often can’t keep pace with company growth. SAAS systems written and maintained by third parties can leave you at their mercy in a lot of different ways.
We took on the responsibility of writing a custom system for the client from the ground up. It was a pretty big lift, taking over a year. The process was intense at times and there were some stops and restarts and some changes of direction along the way. We were fortunate that this client understood the process and stayed involved all the way through the process, providing great input and response.
At the end of the day, it’s working great. The client has exactly the product that they envisioned and has the ability to modify and expand the product as their industry changes over time or their business model pivots to a new area or direction.
To me, the satisfaction of solving the problem, of getting rid of the pain point for the client is the absolute coolest thing we do. I often joke when people ask us “Which vertical do you prefer to work in?”, my answer is “the vertical of pain”.
It’s funny, but it is very true. Most of our clients tend to be frustrated for some reason or another. They have an idea they can’t bring to life, or someone else can’t get it done. Perhaps they are growing too fast for their technology to keep up; or the software they rely on is twenty years old and patched together with bandages. Sometimes our clients were let down or deceived by others and come to us with no inclination to trust anybody else. We have to work to rebuild that trust by proving ourselves day in and day out, week in and week out until the client is willing to trust that we will get them through the maze they’ve been lost in for so long.
And when we do, it’s a pretty good day.
Wayne Hippo is an owner and Managing Partner of PS Solutions, a custom software development and consulting firm with offices in Altoona, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, and Wilmington, NC.You can reach Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org
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