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Power Platform, Tech

Power Automate Explained in Under 5 Minutes 

Long-winded processes can be a productivity killer. They take up a lot of time and energy, not to mention their impact on your employees’ morale.  

When you automate tedious processes, you can free up your time and energy for more important things like growing your business. In fact, automating your business can help you gain a competitive edge over other companies in your industry by increasing productivity and improving efficiency. This can be anything from setting up a recurring task like sending out a monthly newsletter to the process of filling out information on your website. 

It’s time to automate those processes—and it’s easier than you think! 

Power Automate is a tool that lets you automate your business without having to be an expert in programming. 

Power Automate helps you get things done faster, so you can spend less time doing boring stuff and more time focusing on what matters: growing your business. 

What is Power Automate?

Power Automate is a cloud-based software tool that can help you automate your business processes and make them more efficient. 

Power Automate allows you to create custom workflows triggered by specific events, like when a customer places an order or makes a payment. You can also use Power Automate to send notifications and alerts to ensure your team stays on top of everything.  

Power Automate integrates with third-party applications and systems that are important to your business. There are over 1000 active connectors for all kinds of apps, including popular ones like Slack, Facebook Messenger, Google Calendar, and Twitter. 

What’s more, Power Automate has several features that are designed specifically for businesses. For example, it’s easy to set up a schedule, so tasks are completed at the right time and in the correct order.  

Because Power Automate is cloud-based, it’s accessible anywhere, anytime—no matter where your employees are. 

How it works

Let’s start with connectors: Connectors are how you connect your app with Power Automate. If you want to automate something, chances are there’s a connector for it.  

There are two types of connectors: free and premium. Free connectors help with anything from basic automation to complex processes, but they have limited functionality and require manual intervention. Premium connectors offer more features and are used for more complex automation. 

For example, suppose you want to pull data from Salesforce into Excel automatically every week. In that case, a free connector could do this—but it would require manual intervention every time the process updates. A premium connector would automatically pull the data without requiring any intervention on your part. 

One of the most valuable features of Power Automate is templates. Templates are the easiest way to start creating a workflow. They’re pre-made workflows tested and proven to work in the real world. All you need to do is choose your pre-built template and sign into the apps it uses. Power Automate then does all the work for you and creates your workflow.  

Of course, you can build your workflows in Power Automate if there isn’t a template that solves your problem. Workflows in Power Automate consist of triggers, actions and conditions. 

A trigger happens outside the workflow; for example, CRM creates a new contact or sends an email to your inbox. Triggers happen automatically when a specific event occurs (like getting an email), or they can be manually triggered by you when you need them (like when someone pays for their order). 

An action is an activity performed by one or more users—it could be something like sending an email, creating a new record in CRM or posting a message to a Team. 

A condition defines what needs to happen before an action takes place. Power Automate bases conditions on time (like “when I enter the office”), on location (“when I’m at home”) or even on certain events occurring (“when there’s a new email in my inbox”). 

Workflows use low to no code, so you can quickly build your workflow without years of developer experience under your belt. 

How can my business use Power Automate?

You can create workflows in Power Automate that automate approval processes, schedule events, trigger manual actions, and more. 

Here are some examples of workflows you can create in Power Automate: 

-Approvals: Using Power Automate, you can manage document approvals across multiple services. You can, for instance, create document approval flows that approve invoices, work orders, and sales quotations. Additionally, you can create approval flows for vacations, overtime work, and travel. 

-Scheduled: This workflow allows you to schedule regular tasks for repetitive events like sending out monthly newsletters or updating social media accounts. It’s great for anyone who needs to run their business without spending hours doing menial tasks every day. 

-Manual: This workflow allows you to quickly run a task whenever necessary without remembering when it’s due – you simply click a button. It will automatically run the workflow for you whenever you need it. 

-Trigger: A trigger runs another workflow when it meets certain conditions automatically (e.g. someone updates a file). They’re great for automating repetitive tasks like sending monthly reports or keeping up with email marketing campaigns. 

You can use Power Automate at your company in many different ways, but even if you only use it for one thing, it will save you tons of time and energy! 

Should I leverage the Power of Power Automate?

If you want to be more productive and efficient while saving time and money, you should definitely consider automating your business processes. Power Automate is an incredibly powerful business process automation tool built directly into Microsoft Office 365. It is accessible on top of the industry’s leading business productivity suite, putting an incredible amount of Power into your organization’s hands. With the help of Power Automate, your team can automate almost any repetitive task, helping you get more done faster. The possibilities are endless! 

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Power Platform, Tech

Microsoft Power Apps Explained in Under 5 Minutes

Today, businesses are constantly trying to find ways to stay ahead of the curve. They’re looking for ways to increase efficiency and drive profits by using technology that will make their workflows more efficient. But up until recently, there wasn’t really a way to do this without hiring an entire IT department—which is expensive and time-consuming.

That’s where Microsoft Power Apps comes in. It allows businesses of all sizes to build apps for their employees on the fly with minimal training. Instead of having to hire an entire team of developers (and pay them for months on end), you can use Power Apps in just a few hours! This means that you can get your app up and running in no time and start seeing results with as little as 10 minutes of training!

What are Power Apps? 

Microsoft Power Apps is a cloud-based platform that lets you build business applications quickly. It’s part of the Microsoft Power Platform, including Microsoft Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents and Microsoft Power BI. You can create everything from a simple contact form to a full-blown CRM system, all with just a few clicks and a little bit of work.

Because it’s built on the Microsoft cloud, PowerApps gives you access to the same tools and infrastructure developers use to build their own apps. This means you won’t have to hire an expensive developer or learn to code yourself to make the most out of PowerApps’ features.

The platform is designed specifically for business users, so it’s easy to use even if you’re unfamiliar with coding languages like HTML or CSS. You can even use PowerApps without any programming knowledge at all—it will provide templates for everyday tasks such as creating forms or building dashboards that show information about your organisation’s progress toward goals set by management or leadership teams.

PowerApps also allows users outside of IT departments (like marketing teams) to build custom apps without any technical expertise! The platform was designed specifically with non-technical users in mind, so there are no special requirements (like installing software on each machine) before using PowerApps on an individual basis.

Building PowerApps is relatively simple because it has an easy drag-and-drop interface. You can drag tables, actions, text, images, or whatever you want to include in your app and move it around with your cursor. PowerApps also comes with a library of sample apps that you can use as a starting point for your own creations. This means that you can quickly get started with something similar to what you need, then customise it until it works exactly how you want it to.

Data is at the heart of most apps, including Power Apps. You connect your app to a data source to bring data into your app. To communicate with the data source, the connection uses a connector. In Power Apps, you can connect to hundreds of popular services and on-premises data sources, such as SQL Server, Office 365, Salesforce, Twitter and more.

What type of apps are there? 

Power Apps offers two ways to create apps: model-driven or canvas-based.

Canvas Apps

Canvas apps are what most people think of when they hear the words “Microsoft PowerApps.” Like an artist’s canvas, canvas apps start with a blank screen manually laid out by the creator. Each element on the canvas can be placed according to the creator’s preference.

Canvas apps can be built either with or without a Dataverse database because data and services are accessed through connectors. These are mobile-friendly, responsive web pages that you can use to create custom forms, surveys, or other simple data-entry interfaces. You can then share these canvas apps with others, who can edit them without needing to know any code.

Model Driven Apps

Model apps are more complex than canvas apps and require a Microsoft Dataverse database. But they are also more helpful at solving specific problems. For example, a model app will probably be your best bet if you need to build an app for managing an extensive database or configuring business settings (like time zones). Model apps work by storing data in SharePoint or Azure SQL Database databases and allowing users to update this data through the web browser or using Excel workbooks.

How can my business use Power Apps?

Whether the process is internal or client-facing, PowerApps has endless possibilities. PowerApps can help improve communication, productivity and efficiency within an organisation and speed up decision-making processes.

Here are just a few ways you can use PowerApps:

For example, you could use it to create an app that lets your customers pay bills online and then export the data into a spreadsheet. Or you could use it to create a survey for your employees about their work experience and send it out via email.

You can use PowerApps to set up a customer support team that can provide real-time help to clients. This means that customers will never be left wondering if they’re being taken care of properly because they’ll always have access to someone who can answer their questions immediately.

You can also use PowerApps to ensure that new employees are trained on your company’s latest procedures and processes. The platform allows you to create training modules automatically when an employee starts working with you, so they don’t have to spend time figuring things out on their own—they just get it done!

With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to use PowerApps to help your business save time, money, and energy—and make your job easier!

Should I leverage the power of Power Apps?

PowerApps is definitely a tool worth checking out, especially if you’re interested in introducing more automation into creating business applications. If you would like to get a little more hands-on with your technology, PowerApps also offers detailed tutorials that take users through every step of the creation process. This is perfect for users who are new to the concept of business application creation and may be overwhelmed by the number of tools available.

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Power Platform

What is the Power Platform?

We see a lot of questions from people asking what the power platform is and how they can make the most of it. Microsoft has released hundreds of documents on the subject but sometimes it’s just too much. In this blog post along with some of our future posts, we are hoping to help break down this barrier and explain some of the benefits you can start taking advantage of right now or where you could get help from partners.

This post however, will focus on the Power Platform and aim to answer some of your questions at a high level about what it is and what components make up the Power Platform. We’ll even touch a little bit on licensing to help show how available the Power Platform is to you already.

Why is the Power Platform important?

Microsoft released the first parts of the Power Platform back in 2016 with Power Apps and Power Automate. These tools were aimed at helping “Citizen Developers” or Champion users within a company quickly building mobile or desktop apps that could help solve many business problems quickly.

The key advantage of the Power Platform is that it suddenly gave everyone access to data that was all over their Office 365 environments. This in turn enabled everyone to start building forms, automating approval flows, and connecting to the information stored in SharePoint at no additional cost.

Since 2016 Microsoft has continued to invest in the Power Platform and it now feels like one of its flagship offerings for anyone that has Office 365. We now have Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI & Power Virtual agents all coming together to build what is known as the Power Platform.

This went one step further recently with the release of Power Apps and Power virtual agents for teams. These enabled people to build apps within their team channels and not having to access a separate webpage to interact with them.

This enabled businesses to start utilising their Office 365 tenants and transform paper or manually intensive processes into quick and effortless solutions with the help of Power Apps and Power Automate. By digitising forms or creating automated approval processes that took hours to create instead of months.

How Do I Get it? Power Platform Licensing

Microsoft licensing for the Power Platform can sometimes sound complicated and with there many different types of licenses it is. The diagram below thanks to Perspicuity gives a great indication if your current licenses include the Power Platform apps.

Diagram from Perspicuity that shows the Power Platform licenses found within each Office 365 license

What this table means is, if you’re looking to use data that already exists within your office 365 tenant e.g., SharePoint, OneDrive, or Outlook. Then as long as you have a license above you will be able to start using the Power Platform with no additional cost.

The additional cost comes in place if you want to access data outside your Office 365 tenant. To do this you will need “Premium Connectors” that are available on the licensed models which are called the following.

  • Power Apps per user
  • Power Apps per App
  • Power Automate per User
  • Power Automate per app

Power Bi sits within its own area with licenses, the way we break this down to our customers is as follows. You can use the PowerBI desktop client to create reports and connect to your data for free however, when you want to then share this report with others you will need to acquire a PowerBI Pro license.

Why Hire a Partner for Power Platform?

So, we mentioned that the Power Platform was aimed at Citizen developer and that anyone could pick it up to start building. This is true for the most part but with all great ideas sometimes comes complexity.

Or simply there might not be enough time in the day for someone within your company to be able to dedicate the time to build an app and that great ideas are suddenly years away.

A Microsoft Partner who deals with the Power Platform such as Nimbitech can help you right from the beginning of your ideation all the way through to delivery. They also have dealt with a wide range of clients and apps previously and will be able to help guide what will and won’t work. They can also help clear any of the clutter around licenses or where to store your data to future-proof your application.

Another way we help our customers is to be there as consultants when our clients start using the power platform themselves but get stuck. In these cases, we come in and help them overcome the current road blockers and provide training to help with it in future. Have a look at the case study section of our website to find ways we’ve helped people in the past claim back ROI with the Power Platform.

What Next?

So far, we’ve learnt that the Power Platform is a powerful set of tools available for free with most of Microsoft’s licenses. Along with where the premium licenses come into play. We’ve also gone over how the Power Platform consists of Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents and Power BI. Over the next few blog posts, we’ll deep dive into each of these components including some of their teams’ alternatives. We aim to help you better understand each of them and give you some examples of how they could solve problems within your business.

Further details about the Power Platform and each of its components can also be found on the Microsoft website. You can also find some great learning material on the Microsoft learn website. Microsoft Learn will guide you through written text and videos to create your first App.

For further reading on Power Apps and how it revolutionised app development, take a look at our blog post. If you are ready to reach out to a partner already, you can get in touch with us by visiting our contact page.

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Tech

Power Apps: Doing for Applications What WordPress Did for Websites

In the past, businesses with small budgets had no hope of getting a website. You had to have deep pockets to afford bespoke software and pay HTML developers big bucks to build a website from scratch. This was before companies like WordPress and Go Daddy came along, allowing small business owners to build their own custom websites quickly and cheaply.

Fast forward to the present day, and Microsoft is doing the same with app development. Nowadays, you don’t need a million pounds and a team of developers to create business applications. With PowerApps, you can build apps right inside Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that can interact with over 400 sources of data. Powerapps democratizes the idea of apps. It makes it easy for small businesses to use powerful apps on their smartphones and tablets without breaking the bank.

The PowerApps Surge

Since its initial release in January 2016, Microsoft PowerApps has generated a lot of excitement. People love the idea of being able to turn their spreadsheets, Word documents, and PowerPoint slides into actual applications. You can build an application without having years of experience in developing software and without having to study any software language. You just need PowerApps.

At its core, PowerApps does for applications what WordPress did for websites, causing innovation to flourish and spreading opportunity to many who had previously been left out of the equation. With Power Apps, small business owners can now quickly create mobile business apps for Android, iOS, Windows (Modern Apps), and almost every web browser that connects easily to data sources in your business.

In addition to being able to connect to databases and on-premises data sources, Power Apps has brought in connectors for Salesforce and other popular user database systems. This flexibility further enhances PowerApps because most people are familiar with Microsoft Office 365. It integrates into their workflow.

How Microsoft Gave Tools to Non-Developers

PowerApps enables non-developers to use low-code tools to build data-centric, responsive and secure apps that run on any device and in most modern browsers. That means that anyone in your company, regardless of their technical expertise or abilities, can build apps so that the business can offload some tasks from IT. You can use PowerApps to connect your existing business systems, create new ones or build simple mobile forms that simplify completing tasks in the field. You can do this in minutes or hours instead of days or weeks with traditional programming languages like C# or Java.

This is crucial for the small business owner with limited resources and budgets and a greater need for apps that can help them manage their finances, customer service and more.

So what can you build with PowerApps?

With PowerApps, you can build apps from scratch or use PowerApps templates. Templates are quick ways to create apps that use connected data sources. In addition to Microsoft’s templates, you can extend and customize them to meet your needs. Some examples of templates are:

  • Site Inspection App
  • Budget Tracker App
  • Employee Ideas App
  • Service Desk

PowerApps also provides the ability to create modern applications from your data. There are several out-of-the-box connectors to different systems, such as Azure, SQL, Slack, SharePoint, Salesforce, and Dropbox, to name a few. Custom apps are where it gets exciting because the possibilities are endless. You can create whatever app you need, for example:

  • A simple checklist app that lets you tick off the items on a list
  • An expense reporting app where you upload receipts, and it automatically calculates your total expenses by category and deducts them from an expense account balance
  • An HR onboarding form that captures all the information needed to get new hires up and running in their role
  • A tracking app to help record customer inventory or products

PowerApps can build apps that are accessed in Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and websites by your employees or customers.

Why are PowerApps great for SMBs?

1.      Saves money

One of the best things about PowerApps is that it can save your company money. Buying off-the-shelf software is expensive and often does not meet business needs. With PowerApps, you don’t need code, developers or IT departments. You don’t need to hire additional staff or pay hefty developer fees. You don’t need to own a data centre or servers; everything runs from Microsoft’s secure cloud infrastructure.

2.      Fast Deploying

Another significant advantage of Power Apps is how fast you can develop a professional app. Businesses no longer need to wait for IT. Compared to traditional development methods, Power Apps makes it much easier for your IT company to develop and deploy apps. Through a drag-and-drop interface and pre-built templates, the low-code platform makes building a user interface connecting data more accessible within weeks. You also won’t have to worry about app store approvals or the long wait times for getting your app approved by the Apple App Store or Google Play Store (if you choose to publish on those platforms).

3.      Easily scalable

For your apps to keep up with your business, they need to grow. PowerApps is built on Azure so that you can rely on the robust infrastructure of Microsoft. Whether you need to build one app or one thousand apps, PowerApps can help you be agile and grow with your business.

Final Word

PowerApps’ technology may very well be revolutionary: it allows us to build and publish apps then use them on an unlimited number of devices and share them with others. The possibilities for what we as individuals and professionals can do with these apps seem endless. For example, entrepreneurs can create business plans and financial spreadsheets for managing budgets.

The future of designing apps for business is looking bright, and it’s all thanks to programs like Microsoft PowerApps. With powerful tools at your disposal, why wouldn’t you be eager to start building your next big idea today?

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StartUp, Tech

Citizen Developers and How They Can Help Your Business.

Citizen developers are a new concept to many people, especially in less IT centred industries and lately, it’s become a bit of a buzz term. It is in every blog and mentioned on every tech-savvy LinkedIn page (Even ours 😉). 

What is a citizen developer you may ask?  

To give you a full definition, a citizen developer is someone who creates applications to aid with their work for consumption by themselves, or others using tools that aren’t forbidden by IT. These applications usually have to do with automating processes or improving on a process that is already in place using technology. It is not a title or targeted role, but a type of person and they could be in any department. 

Across different industries, one trend seems to be that companies want to explore automation but do not have the time, or their IT departments are so busy that they are unable to explore any new possibilities. For somebody in this position, citizen developers are a lifeline. They are hungry, they want to make their jobs easier, and they usually have a base knowledge or the motivation to learn new technology in their own time. 

A Recent look into how business is affected when IT cannot deliver new solutions in an efficient manner (By Mendix) shows some statistics that put the importance of citizen development into perspective. 49% of businesses miss out on cost reduction opportunities and 62% of forward-thinking employees become frustrated with their employer.  

Maybe you don’t see your business having any citizen developers within the ranks, but why not seek them? There is plenty of ways to find out your employee’s hidden skills or lowkey interests. It is a case of empowering and investing a little in your people. If you have access to Microsoft365, we have a way to help you. We offer Power Platform training which can inspire your employees and spark an interest in citizen development. If you don’t have the time, we do. You just need initiative. 

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Misc, Power Platform

The Power of Low Code and Employee Engagement. “The Great Resignation” Pt 1.

The working world is currently undergoing what some people are calling the ‘Great Resignation’ with surveys showing that “55% of Americans expect to search for a new job in the next 12 months”. This isn’t just affecting America either, a recent study by Personio found that over a third of UK employees are looking to change their role in the next 6 to 12 months. With these statistics in mind, we can confidently say that the time to focus on employee retention is now. 

Organisations are becoming more and more people focused (rightly so). They are beginning to understand that empowering and investing in your employees can have a huge ROI. In this blog, we are going to discuss how low code programs can help you empower your employees, keep them engaged, increase retention, and improve your business, all at once. 

Citizen developers 

Introducing Citizen Developers, A Citizen Developer is an employee who creates application capabilities for consumption by themselves or others within the business.  

Entrusting your employees with the ability to streamline processes within your business is a hard step to make. Those processes are usually in place for a reason and it’s sometimes hard for the people who they were created by to see how tedious they can be or how they can work better. Employees that use these processes daily know it like the back of their hand, they will be able to identify what works well, what doesn’t work well, and how it can be made more efficient. 

A business with a budget may look into creating new systems to make these processes easier but they can still miss the mark, and this can be a costly endeavour. Allowing an employee to become a Citizen Developer would mean that someone much closer to the challenges can collaborate with their colleagues and find a better solution that will work for them all. All this may cost you is the employees time, but what it provides is an employee who is more invested and engaged with the business and is able to prove their worth in a way that is their own. As well as this they can spend more time on the engaging, valuable work that they actually came to do now that they have eliminated laborious tasks. 

Retaining employees with learning. 

Following on from the idea of Citizen Developers, there is a direct correlation between the ongoing development and upskilling of employees and retaining them. The more businesses are willing to invest in their employees the more willing employees are to stay with the business.  

It’s been noted across many blogs that there is a surge of new, young employees who have an obsessive work ethic. Many of them want to learn as much as they can so they are better equipped to move forward in their careers and their aspirations. This isn’t exclusive to young employees either, there is a new wave coming across the general workforce and it’s the need to learn. People don’t want to feel like they have become stagnant in their work and development. Providing these employees with the freedom to learn, create and automate their way down the career path they have chosen is a valuable way to retain your workforce and better your business as people will apply what they have learnt into their role. 

Open-mindedness 

Everything in the aforementioned sections all comes back to culture, as most things usually do. Not only should a business provide the opportunity to grow and develop, whether it’s in the development space of elsewhere, they should also advocate for it. This way employees can see that their employer is ready and willing to invest in them, this can make an employee feel valued and empowered. A business that takes feedback and encourages ideas from their employees will have a better all-round culture, it creates an innovative and psychologically safe environment for employees and your business to thrive. 

Our Thoughts 

Obviously, with everything that has been said, we are not suggesting that the only way to retain employees is through letting them develop applications and/or putting them through learning plans. This does not work for everybody, and some people react better to other incentives. Retention and the forecasted labour shortage is a problem that needs to be addressed on a contextual basis, these are just some solutions that we can see being applicable in the right business.  

If you are reading this and feel your business would benefit from looking at culture and employee retention from a new angle, we are able to support you by advising on the technology and resources available to you through your Microsoft 365 licenses to help this solution become a reality for you. We also offer training and consultancy within the Microsoft Power Platform, which is a fantastic way to introduce people to low code applications and there are many documented low code Citizen Developers that have created unbelievably valuable applications for their business. Your employees could be next to do that for you. What are you waiting for? 

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Tech

Bespoke vs Off-the-Shelf Software: A basic overview.

Most businesses will reach a point where they need software or applications that will assist them with their operations, processes, and/or day-to-day needs. As a business owner, it is important for you to make sure you understand your options to the best of your ability, ensuring you don’t waste time, money, or effort on an unsuitable solution. 

This article compares how bespoke and off-the-shelf software can be beneficial for business. If you have any further questions or would like a deeper discussion on this topic, please contact us. We’d be happy to help, no strings attached. 

What is bespoke software? 

Bespoke software is a piece of software a business builds or contracts somebody to build and is tailored to the specific processes and functions of the business. This means the software is built from the ground up to ensure that all the businesses needs are met. 

What does bespoke mean for you? 

Efficiency  

Integrating Bespoke software means that you do not have to change any of your business’s processes to align with standardised software. This, in turn, creates a more productive environment as you continue to use the same processes in a more efficient manner or streamline them even further, as they are now automated. 

Integration  

When adopting new software, a major concern is compatibility with the current applications (and sometimes legacy software) in use. Unlike off-the-shelf software, which is prebuilt and packaged, bespoke software can be built and made to integrate with current applications so that no further investment is required to make everything work together. 

Independence 

When you choose the right partner, bespoke software means that your business will not have to worry about rising license fees or possible update fees, provided that you have the right in-house talents or support from your developer. With bespoke software, you can make changes and add features that you want, not what a software provider dictates you should have. 

Better Security  

Off-the-shelf software will always have security but is often a “One size fits all” approach and this is not the case with most businesses. Bespoke software security will be tailored to fit the specifications that the client has, meaning security will be tighter and the business is less susceptible to security issues. 

No Excess Features  

Often, out of the box software has a huge array of features and this can get very exciting for prospective users or businesses. Realistically, a number of these features a business or user does not need and will never use so they end up paying for things they don’t need as they are all part of one package. With bespoke software, the client picks and chooses what they want and need which means this is all considered in pricing. This can also be added to and changed at their will. 

No Conforming! 

Now, for the best part of bespoke software, you can do as you please (subject to the capability of the technology). Unlike regular out-of-the-box software, which is unable to be altered, your software is custom-developed to meet your needs and can be tailored according to your specifications (depending on your agreement with the developer). 

What is off-the-shelf software? 

It is software that is pre-made and pre-packaged for businesses or clients to purchase and install. This means that the integration is much faster as off-the-shelf software is a one size fits all solution for whatever function it is supposed to perform. 

What does off the shelf mean for you? 

Suitability  

Many businesses’ day-to-day operations are not as complex as they think. Often, there is an off-the-shelf product that will perform the tasks they need, so unless the business grows, their processes change and/or they require a more specific solution, there is no need to implement a bespoke solution. 

Cost 

Initially, off-the-shelf software is cheaper than bespoke development, because the initial investment is not usually as high, so it is a good starting point to work out what you want and need. The low cost is initial. It could be the case that as the business grows, you require more licenses at extra cost, or you require more functionality (a higher-level package) which would also come at a higher cost. 

Fast Implementation & Prior Proof of Functionality 

Because the software is pre-made it should, in theory, be easy to set up and install across an organisation. This means that there are probably a good number of businesses that have used the software before, which means prospective users can read reviews, case studies, and/or contact businesses that use the software to find out how useful, effective, and functional it is. 

Regular Updates 

Because the software provider has a certain number of products, they can focus on growing their software, adding functionality and fixing bugs on a regular basis. Usually, these upgrades are not up to the client, but are decided by the development team as to what they deem necessary at the time. The fixes can, however, come at a price to the end user. 

Online Help and Forums 

Again, since off-the-shelf software is a pre-existing product, users can usually find plenty of online help through guides and forums to solve any problem they may encounter, which is free when you do a google search. 

Our Thoughts! 

Like anything, software, both bespoke and off-the-shelf have their advantages and disadvantages. Whatever you decide, it’s important that you are well informed and have the best understanding of; the position you are in, the needs your business has, your budget, and what providers or solutions are available to you. 

If you choose bespoke software, then you need to pick a software developer/partner that you are comfortable working with on a project. A good relationship between you (the client) and your developer is imperative since, if communication is not there between both parties and you are not on the same page, it may result in your software not being suitable or not fully functioning. 

If you choose off-the-shelf, then you may be paying for things you don’t need or you may find that the software no longer serves your day-to-day operations because it may become outdated, discontinued, or your business needs will change, and it may become counterproductive. 

Contact us for help in finding out what you need to make your business thrive using a new software solution. We will tell you what we think is best for you and, if we are not able to deliver it, we will try to help you find someone who can. 

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