Using off-the-shelf business can become ineffective as your business grows. No matter what a vendor promises, not all features of their software will fit exactly what your business needs. Some adjustments often must be made to off-the-shelf solutions to get maximum return on investment.
Custom applications are thought of as expensive. However, when you consider the benefits, it is an option that both small and large organizations can settle on for their software needs. For instance, custom desktop applications offer scalability should your organization grow. Off-the-shelf solutions may be meant for small scale usage or may require a larger subscription fee to unlock certain features.
In addition, a custom-built solution allows the developer to take necessary security precautions based on the sensitivity of the data the application will handle. There are other numerous features but perhaps the most crucial one is complementing your staff and maximizing their productivity.
However, sometimes organizations will build custom applications that fail to produce the expected results. Employees may undergo training on how to use the applications but opt to go back to using their previous solutions. Why does this happen and how can organizations avoid or resolve such occurrences?
Failing to Include Employee Input
A major reason for resistance to new technology or any other form of change in an organization is feeling excluded in the formative stages. Employees had an old way of doing things before the new application. Did the management ask how their experience was? Were they asked about how to improve productivity?
Vendors approach management and propose building new solutions for them. They throw out figures about productivity improvement and cost-efficiencies. However, if the people meant to use the new application daily are excluded from sharing their opinions, there will be apathy once you try to implement it.
Lack of Top Managerial Support
The technical benefits of a new custom-built application may not be enough to gain its support across a vast organization. When hundreds or thousands of users are expected to switch to a new application, there must be some form of lobbying for its support.
Top leaders and key opinion leaders within the organization must display enthusiasm and genuine belief in the need to switch to the new application. The organization must find a way of weaving the benefits of the new application in discourse amongst staff. Most organizations will often organize some event or fanfare around the launch of the new system just to drive support for it internally.
Poor Implementation of Custom Desktop Application
When your developer is building the custom desktop application, they will have the current organizational needs in mind. However, it is likely that there will be areas where the application needs to scale to meet the increased needs of the users. This becomes a challenge if developers did not consider scalability during the development. It could lead to your employees finding the application unusable for their workflow.
The solution in such a scenario would be to contact your developer so that the application becomes adjusted to suit current and future scalability needs.
Poor Results from the Custom Desktop Application
It may be that the custom-built application does not deliver the benefits for which it was intended. This often happens when the brief was not clear enough or there was not enough consultation during the build.
The client organization needs to have a liaison officer to keep in touch with the development team so that the implementation fits the brief. Regular updates are necessary so that you request adjustments on time. Waiting until the deadline to identify mistakes only increases the project time. After handover, the development team needs to stay in touch to supervise how the application works in a real-world environment.
Staff Technical Proficiency
Did your developer consider the user experience when building your custom desktop application? Often, staff members will shy away from using new applications because they are afraid of making mistakes. The user interface may be filled with numerous widgets, buttons, and tabs that make it intimidating to look at.
It would be best to implement a simpler design that encourages intended users to try and learn. Staff need proper training coupled with technical assistance at hand for a few weeks after implementation. Besides the technical training, management must ensure that staff understand the benefits of any new application introduced as part of their workflow.
In the best-case scenario, the developer will include proper documentation within the application so that staff can learn features, tricks, and shortcuts at their own pace. It is also possible to prepare video tutorials that staff can pull and view on demand.
The Effects of Resistance and Possible Incentives
What happens when some of your employees do not use your new custom-built desktop application? Well first, the incongruence may lead to project delays. Imagine building a collaboration application yet a few people do not want to use the new software. Delays could lead to loss of revenue especially when you had promised clients that the change would improve their experience. In the worst case, the resistance can be too much, and the organization decides to abandon the change altogether. This will require the company to write off development costs already spent.
When launching a new application, do not onboard everyone at once. Ask a few employees to volunteer to be part of early testing of the new custom built application. Let them try it and give back feedback. They will evangelize the change to the rest of the employees in your organization.
Part of what you need to ask them is how the new technology creates value for the organization. They should also provide feedback on challenges in using the new system. When early adopters report positively on the application, your organization will have an easier time getting the rest of the employees on board.
If your company requires any assistance with technology training, check out Transcendent Software. We train teams to be more productive and deliver software faster. We can coach employees so that they utilize the technology available to them for maximum productivity. It will improve their job satisfaction and increase your staff retention rate.