It’s common to hear businesses say they are unique and there is no software off the shelf that supports the way they do business. However, the reality is that there is usually a software package that does the majority of needs with custom developed software minimized.
Not since American Airlines deployed Sabre in 1960, has there been any custom code software that revolutionized an industry. Fifty years later, most business and technology people understand why large custom developed software projects should be avoided:
- Maintenance and upgrades are many times the original cost. The vendor that develops the software is generally the only party qualified to upgrade the system, on technology that is generally outdated by the time it is deployed.
- Business requirements are fuzzy. Vague or frequently changing business requirements wreak more havoc in software development than going to a homebuilder daily and changing room dimensions.
- Waterfall effect is crushing. The biggest blind spot for most business people in a technology project is failing to think about what other business processes and systems are affected. The “information hub” of Obamacare means that any change to a system on the hub will require an update to each of the connected systems.
Many studies have been done over the years that show such projects: usually fail, commonly run far over budget and schedule, and vendors often go under with responsible parties fired. Avoid large custom software projects in your business and let’s hope Obamacare doesn’t become the largest technology tax on the government and our pay checks.