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Matthew Goodchild on Knowing When to Develop Proprietary Software


This is something that vexes so many small and mid-sized businesses. At some point, the software they are using no longer meets the required level of functionality. At this point, company directors are wondering whether it is better to develop their own updates, or should they go with an outside developer?

As an advisor and marketing specialist who works heavily with the IT industry, this is something that Matthew Goodchild is often asked. Businesses he works with find that the software they have been using no longer meets the functionality they require. There is no question that they need either an upgrade or totally new software, but how should they proceed?

Matthew says, “It really depends on only a few things. The first area I ask them to analyze is cost. It is often cheaper to continue buying updates for software they have been using but that also brings about another interesting question. Is it cheaper? If they need to continually upgrade, at a cost, to keep their software functional for their current needs, it may be better to have totally new software developed for them.”

Also, Matthew recognizes the need for offering features that may not be easily integrated into the software they are currently using. “It’s all about whether or not the features they need can be coded into the software they are using.”

“I look at this from another perspective as well. In today’s market, you want to stand out from the competition. If, in your research, you find that all your main competitors are using the very same software you are using, maybe it would be better to have something developed for your company that is truly unique – something that stands apart from what everyone else is using.”

This is quite often the case with mobile apps. “So many apps function in exactly the same way but there is something lacking that has consumers highly frustrated. In a case like this, I suggest that they look into the exact features they would like incorporated into their app and then begin talking to developers about designing an entirely new app that has all the features consumers are seeking.”

He ends by noting that unless your company has an on-staff IT department, it would probably be better to outsource developing new or upgraded software. “In the end, it is probably more cost-effective, and you know you’ve got experts in the field coding the software the way you want it.”