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One of the things I notice with clients is that, no matter what industry they're a part of, there are usually software solutions available that are (1) specific to the client's industry, and/or (2) otherwise desirable even though they cater to a more broad range of industries. An example of the former would be a software suite to help realtors manage properties for sale -- very industry and process-specific stuff there. An example of the latter would be a CRM system that is ostensibly applicable to any business model. And why not? All businesses need to manage customer data somehow.

Commonly, though, no matter what solutions have been purchased, companies often find themselves incompletely satisfied by either end of the above spectrum. Getting an industry-specific software package is great, and is usually a good way's toward what would be absolutely ideal in terms of a software suite to move forward with. But, as each business is unique in its practices and preferences, you may not find an *exact* fit for your purposes and processes. In these cases, business owners tend to either (1) simply move ahead and not get what they truly want -- maybe it's just some very specific type of report based on data in the system, but just isn't a standard menu item, or (2) supplement these systems via standard office-type software (such as Excel, for example). Yep, that works too. Excel to the rescue once again! (Only, you wish you didn't have to bother with what should really be part of your core system.)

On the other end of the spectrum, it's often much worse. If you select a big CRM package, for example, you're likely going to have to install something that's 100 times more powerful than you need -- just way, way more complex than is practical for you. Desktop-based CRM packages are like this, for example. Often, they do things like provide email services... and yeah that's great, but maybe you like Gmail or Outlook and don't want to use some new package for that. Or if it's a cloud-based CRM, it may still be overly complex -- replete with a huge learning curve, too many options and levels to get your head around, and ongoing monthly expenses. Sometimes that's on a per-user basis, too, which means you have to decide who gets what, and at what level. Hey, it'd be great if the office manager had "unlimited"-level access, you might think... but is it worth an extra $125/month for me to add her to my account? That's kind of the thinking that goes into these things sometimes.

There's even a third (far worse) scenario out there, which is the industry-specific software that also attempts to provide, in *one* ridiculous package, "everything" a business needs. For example, it might be one of those pieces of software that claims something like: "Restaurant Master" provides 100% of your software needs for running a restaurant. It does ordering, it does HR, it does accounting, it does social media, it does your email, it generates coupons... and sure it does do all of that. But then there's that one thing (or two things, or three, etc.) that it *invariably* doesn't do... which is a major bummer for you, not to mention the issue of: What happens to all of your data if you ever want to switch? It's just kind of messy.

What's more... in *any* scenario above, these packages still have to cater to widely differing scenarios. After all, even if you're a contractor (a specific industry) and using some package for, say, estimating jobs (a specific task within a specific industry) ... well, that package probably caters to all sorts of ways various contractors approach that -- not to mention the various trades that all probably do it differently and (often) inconsistently (and for good reason).

When it comes down to it, most businesses are *unique* in their desired processes and preferences. And, while what I'm ultimately getting at here is normal time-honored database / server / programming techniques, I'm amazed that more companies today do not seem to even consider *100% customized* systems to manage their corporate information and processes.

"Okay, So Tell Me About a Customized System For My Company"

The trick here is this: By attempting to extol the benefits of this approach for all businesses, I'm making the same exact mistake as I'm describing, above. The solutions are 100% custom, as are the benefits. So, how do we still prove the point that such a system may well be able to run *your specific* business much more efficiently? The answer is the same as the solution: We customize the answer for your business. So, here's what you do if you want a potential answer customized for your business:

In the "Message / Comments" area, tell us a bit about your business. What business are you in? What kinds of software do you use, and for what purposes? What task(s) are routinely time-consuming that you think could possibly be automated? We will reply with, most likely, additional questions to hone in on some things. But ultimately, we've found that this sort of conversation is highly enlightening to business owners -- and these are exciting projects that often make businesses more efficient, and life easier for those who use these systems!

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