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Why create new business software? #1 The leaky bucket

By John, Eastpoint Software on 13 May 2020

New business software tools and products come about for a multitude of reasons.

The variety of ideas we discuss with our clients is both mind boggling and inspiring.

Broadly speaking, we tend to see the need for new software projects fitting into one of two groups:

  1. The leaky bucket. Fixing an inefficiency or process problem within a business.
  2. The product. Pursing a new product venture idea, sometimes a startup/scaleup business.

Undoubtedly there will be other reasons, but as a web/mobile software development consultancy these are the ones we see.

In this article, we look at projects that target solving a problem/inefficiency.

Fixing the leaky bucket

Despite its slightly negative sounding name, the leaky bucket is often where the biggest opportunities lie, and so we have a lot of joy here.

Let’s say our client, Company X, has a “clear and obvious” problem that is costing the business in some way.

That cost may be in the form of time, sales, reputation, compliance, quality or any other important measure. It can often have a financial figure calculated against it.

When the decision makers at Company X see that that cost of this issue is greater than the cost of fixing it with software, the decision to invest is made easier.

So, how do we understand the cost of solving the problem?

What is the real problem?

Consultants always prefer to get to the root of the problem and be involved conceiving the solution.

We want to understand why this software is needed, because we want to create software that delivers on promises.

By helping us to understand why, you enable us to engage in the problem solving, and bring our decades of experience to the issue.

We frequently speak to companies that have identified a problem, devised a solution and are looking for someone to build it.

This is, of course, fine in many cases, and we’re always happy to discuss how we can help.

However, if the solution has been devised without people who are experienced in solving problems with software, there is a big missed opportunity to find the optimal solution, and a greater risk that there are hidden implementation difficulties.

So, why create new software? Because the problem exists. That’s obvious. It may be less obvious that understanding and communicating this part of “why” is critical to creating a real solution.

But what will it cost to solve the problem with new software?

The critical step in deciding whether to invest in new software to solve the problem is understanding the relative costs – financial or otherwise.

As a software consultancy business, this is an important part of Eastpoint’s work.

We are responsible for planning, designing, implementing and supporting new software products for our clients.

Having understood the problem, an expert team works to devise a solution to fit by consulting on possible solution(s), and accurately sizing up the work.

This often means considering alternatives that will achieve the same outcome but with different tradeoffs and costs.

This step takes a lot of care and attention because if the costs are misleading, the decision to go ahead is flawed.

When completed successfully, this step allows the decision makers at Company X to weigh up the costs involved in fixing the leaky bucket.

Wrapping up

When looking to improve a process within an organisation, we recommend working with experts that have direct experience in solving that kind of problem from the off.

Focusing on why the software is needed can be a critical part to delivering something that really solves the problem.

Engaging a team experienced in the full software product lifecycle (scope, design, develop, test and support) brings knowhow and experience to the project.

And involving them throughout brings a sense of ownership that helps to motivate and ensure the problem is truly solved.

If you have an internal software development team with the right type of experience, then involve them early on.

Or, work with an external company like Eastpoint, and speak to us as early in the process as possible.

So, why create new software to fix a business problem? Because you’ve enabled experts help you to determine it’s a good investment.

Contact Eastpoint on info@eastpoint.co.uk or call 01223 690164.