Moving your IT systems from a cost to profit centre

The starting point, is to understand how your IT spend corresponds to your earnings and how this impacts on the way you do business. Off-the-shelf solutions offer a cheaper alternative while a custom solution comes with the benefits of being tailored to your exact needs. But does cost outweigh the potential benefits and even additional revenue streams that a bespoke system offers?

For a starter, the investment you make in a custom application means that it is both your property and an asset of your business. It is designed to meet your exact specifications and requirements. It gives you all the information and functionality you need, in the format that works best for your requirements. But the very fact that your system delivers an exceptional, intuitive user experience means that is likely to be applicable to other businesses and even your competitors. Had you considered that developing a bespoke system could actually make you money?

Here are Synetec’s top three things to think about when considering whether your bespoke system could become the next off-the-shelf money-maker:

Make sure there’s a market
Many of the most successful industry specific software businesses have been developed from a bespoke software system, that has had broader industry wide application.

It may sound simple, but as with any product, research and understanding your market is key. Just because you think it is a great system or concept, doesn’t mean it solves a fundamental need or will generate you income. So before you invest in developing the software- ensure there is a market for it.

Partner with the right developer
Forming a partnership with the right developer means that you will not only enjoy a much higher quality of engagement and support for the software but it creates a win win opportunity for both parties, mitigating some of your financial cost in the process.

Of course, as with any capital project if you fail to identify the right suppliers to work with you will incur significant potential risk, both in terms of financial costs, scope creep and delays in delivery. Be clear as to who owns the IP rights associated with the product and to set out the rights and responsibilities of each party in the partnership.

Pay a little more to keep it generic
It’s also worth considering that you may not wish to give away everything, so why not keep the product more generic, so as to avoid giving away any key differentiators which you may want to keep for yourself.

As you continue to evolve your own differentiators, this may also enable you to develop additional products and ‘plug-ins’, to support the original software package and extend your revenue streams.

Conclusions
A bespoke software solution can be a major competitive advantage to any business. But systems based around your people’s knowledge means that when they leave so does their knowledge, so why not take every opportunity to make money from it.

The bespoke system you commission today could be a off-the-shelf product available to others in future, not only giving you the product that you want, but as part of a longer term business strategy it can also off-set costs and boast significant reputational benefits as well. You also position yourself as an industry leader, which in itself can bring about more reputation related business opportunities.

Partnering with Synetec
As a developer who partners with leading financial service providers; we work with our clients to identify opportunities to monetise their products and factor those opportunities when costing developments, enabling clients to earn a return on future sales.

George Toursoulopoulos is a financial technology specialist and Director at Synetec, one of the UK’s leading providers of bespoke financial services software solutions. George started his career with US-software giant EDS, becoming the youngest manager in the company’s history and has since gone on to lead Synetec where he has continued to deliver world-class solutions for a number of the UK’s most prestigious Hedge Funds and Family Offices. George is a regular conference speaker on the implementation of technology within the financial services industry with a particular focus on delivering ROI and improving key business drivers. George has lectured on Microsoft development and has served as a director on numerous company boards.

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