While the initial expense of a custom operational solution is obviously higher than the monthly subscription fee of the typical business SaaS solution, over time the ROI on a custom system can be significantly higher.
Operational software is built to streamline your business operations—usually through automating a lot of your administrative work and by reducing the number of platforms you have to work through. It really just helps you manage and track your information better and reduces the amount of administrative overhead.
A lot of businesses use SaaS (software as a service) solutions to accomplish the same administrative work that a good custom operational software can—solutions like Asana for task management, Hubspot for customer resource management, Quickbooks for bookkeeping and inventory management and invoicing, Toggl for time tracking, Google maps for locations data. These systems can be great for small businesses just getting started out, but they definitely have their limitations.
One of them is price. While the monthly subscription fees for these solutions can seem relatively inexpensive, when you’re using 5-10 of them at their premium enterprise levels, with multiple users, the costs can quickly add up — into the $1,000’s per month, easily. One small company that we work with, with just 3 employees, spends $700/month on various SaaS solutions that custom software could streamline and the more we talk to folks, the more we believe that to be an average figure.
Another limitation to using lots of separate SaaS resources is the crazy amount of additional admin work that can be necessary to get the work done — importing/exporting data, sometimes manual entry across multiple platforms that don’t sync when something changes. And a lot of the integrated functionalities that streamlined businesses absolutely need are just lacking; because of understandable forces surrounding these SaaS companies’ business models. They can’t be experts in everything, but sometimes it makes really good sense to be able to invoice directly from the same solution you’re tracking time or your inventory in, or to schedule appointments immediately when a customer purchases a class or some billable hours from you—and this is where custom software can really help.
While the initial expense of a custom operational solution is obviously higher than the monthly subscription fee of the typical business SaaS solution, over time the ROI on a custom system can be significantly higher. SaaS solutions have their place in the market, and can improve the operating efficiencies of many small businesses. Larger businesses, though, may outgrow these solutions and that’s where replacing lots of SaaS solutions with custom operational software can take the process of automation and streamlining operations to the next level—saving further administrative overhead, keeping data secure, and making a business more profitable.