As the first step you must identify the flow of work in your business and draw a diagram. This will be called a “Work Flow Diagram”. Once you draw this anyone would be able to identify how you run your business and you also will have a clear picture about the work flow with in the business. It is always better to have a documented workflow for your business processes. It will help you to further optimize the operation and let the employees know what to do next effectively.
Once your business starts growing to a certain level, you will be having more specific requirements. If you think that level has been reached, the next step is, custom made software, in other words specially designed software which will cater for exactly what you need.
In the time you were using “off the shelf” software, I’m pretty sure things went smoothly. That is because those software solutions are designed to fit in to most of the general requirements perfectly after doing a massive research. But of course, as your business grows and changes your requirements become more specific and unique. That’s where you have to develop software for yourself. But the question is, “Will it run smoothly as the previously used off the shelf software?”
The theoretical answer is YES, it has to be that way. It is software specially designed to cater for the unique requirement of your own business. Off the shelf software is like a pair of pants you bought from a fashion store, which is designed for everyone while custom made software is like a pair of pants you order and designed for your own measurements by a local tailor. But when it comes to software in more than 70% of the cases answer is NO. But why? What will happen if your tailor gets inaccurate measurements before he designs the pants? Obviously it won’t fit you. Same as that, if the software developer didn’t identify exactly what your business is and what you really need, the software they are going to develop won’t fit in to your business. In real life, as I said before, in almost 70% of cases Software Developers are failing to take accurate measurement of your business, in other words Poor Requirement Analysis.