Building a custom software solution for a business problem that does not have off-the-shelf products readily available means a number of valuable benefits for companies. A few of the obvious ones include:
Exact fit-to-purpose solution
Complete control over functionality
Intellectual property retention
However, the toolsets used by development firms along with server-side hardware is always getting better. This allows a development team to make significant improvements to software.
With many of the legacy approaches used in the world of software development, a company would provision servers, build a custom software system and then deploy it to their newly acquired hardware. This resulted in at least an extra load on the IT staff to maintain the hardware. In addition, if the software was to be rev’ed and kept up-to-date with technology and security improvements, this drove a constant expense and risk related to always working on the solution.
Enter the Salesforce Development Platform
By creating the same custom software solution in the cloud on the Salesforce Platform, we see a very different outcome and total cost of ownership. To start, we are out of the server hardware business - whew! This frees up our valuable IT staff to focus on higher value tasks, and of course the spend on hardware, hardware maintenance and future hardware refreshes are all eliminated - significant savings. But those are most likely obvious when building in a cloud-computing environment.
The more inconspicuous benefit comes in the form of a platform that is constantly being updated, improved, monitored and secured. Think of it like building a car around an engine that has more than $600M a year being spent to improve it - and you’re not on the hook for the $600M.
For example, one of the primary expectations from a company building a custom software system is to have it produce robust, timely and accurate reports from the data collected and calculated by the system. When a company builds and deploys their software on the Salesforce Platform, not only do they get an exceptionally powerful reporting component that the development team does not have to build (which means the customer doesn’t pay to build it), they also get continual updates to that reporting engine long after the development on the custom solution is complete.
The same is true for a wide variety of features provided by the Salesforce 1 Platform that are often leverage by custom software solutions built on it. This is not an exhaustive list, but a few of the key areas that come to mind include:
Workflow and Process Management
Exa Consulting is a professional services firm focused on building customer-specific software solutions for customers in the energy industry. Since 2001 Exa has been providing software solutions specifically tailored to serve the unique requirements of oil and gas companies. Our delivery approach coupled with our solution accelerators built on the Salesforce Platform enable us to very quickly deliver software systems that solve many of the complex problems found within the energy industry.