Industries that have pretty much stayed the same for decades are now moving at a breakneck pace due to heavily digitized processes. If you work in a software company delivering suitable complex standard solutions that are the cornerstone of your customers’ operations, then you know it all too well: Your customers want you to cover each and every of their requirements and have them added to your standard product. But fulfilling each request would cause your standard software to quickly get bloated. You have to weigh in, and can’t just say yes to every feature request. Staying true to your roadmap, you probably only add those features that fit the long-term vision and will benefit the majority of customers. But as the speed of today’s digitized operations is increasing and the requirements are immense, you have no choice but to leave some of your customers hanging.
Customers may end up considering your solution to be too rigid and inflexible and even if they happen to understand the reality of your business, they are still unhappy that they can’t get the changes they need. Not only that, your customers also can’t afford to wait months for a new feature to be added to the standard product while their requests are evaluated. Changes to the standard product take at least months before they are reviewed, accepted, prioritized, added to the roadmap and finally built, tested and released. Your customer will end up dissatisfied with an inflexible product and poor ROI.
Considering this situation, you may find yourself in quite the dilemma: If customers will no longer take no for an answer and the days of one-size-fits-all are over, how do you keep your product lean and still keep customers happy?
Is full customization the answer?
By tailoring your product to the exact needs of your customer, you can help them meet their demand for more speed and functionality in their operations and push them to the next level. Customization services can, therefore, provide a significant additional revenue stream, but there are two reasons why many software vendors shy away from this model.
- In the talent market of today, you as the software vendor and employer already have a hard time finding enough qualified developers. In this time of widespread developer shortage, staffing up to fill a professional services department is not only a Herculean task, it can easily break your budget.
- Creating your own professional services department to be in tune with the current and future customization desires from your customers would represent a different business model compared to just creating and delivering a standardized product. Building your business case around both approaches is typically not very efficient for small to medium sized software vendors and if actually done, it only ends up raising the cost of the customized solution for your client and damages your bottom-line competitiveness.
For full customization to be done properly, it would consume too much of your workforce and it would change your whole business model, which only would translate into much higher costs for your customer. It would, at least theoretically, lead to a very satisfied customer, but how can he actually be, if the bill you would have to present him with would easily break his budget. Not to mention, he would still have to wait weeks or months for the final launch. Full customization is therefore not always the most wise business decision, so as a software vendor you’re best advised to stick to your roadmap. Yet, customers are still eager to avoid the hassle of the above-mentioned one-size-fits-all products. Fortunately, there is a middle ground where most of the customization can be done directly by the customer: by incorporating a low-code development approach.
Teach a man how to fish with low code
If you integrate a low code platform into your software, you will be able to let customers do their own customization. Low code means that customers don’t need a team of pro developers or expensive consultants, and business users can quickly build their own solutions with intuitive visual development. For customers who have a bigger budget or just don’t want to dedicate resources to citizen development, low code vendors can also provide professional services as needed. For your business case this basically means less total effort, needing fewer resources. There is also additional revenue to be created through commissions on low code platform licenses and services. It will simply end up being more affordable for your customers; whether they take a DIY approach or hire the low code vendor, they can change their mind anytime and remain flexible.
Companies are constantly working to get the most out of their processes, which are increasingly supported by software. Here, optimization often represents a decisive advantage, and this is usually associated with software adaptations. Low code development platforms are able to support an agile approach on the customer’s side and thus make an important contribution to the digital requirements of tomorrow.
If you want to learn more about how your customers can build out a digital infrastructure with low code or just to see the amazing apps that can be built with low code, then check out these blog posts:
Aim high with low code: How citizen developers and pros create amazing apps together
Building out your digital infrastructure: How low code helps to counter IT talent shortage