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How to Derive Value and Success from Custom Software for Business

derive value and success from custom software for business

Most successful businesses are relying heavily on technology and software to run the business, solve problems and serve their clients effectively.

Replacing or upgrading software can be unpredictable and tricky to navigate for any size business. What is the good news? There are ways to mitigate or eliminate the challenges associated with planning and launching new software.

In our Antares Software Success Series, we’ll share tips on how to use the VALUE roadmap to navigate a successful software solution implementation. We will include strategies that can be employed to set your organization up for success.

What is a value roadmap?

A value roadmap is a strategic guide that defines a goal or desired outcome and includes the major steps or milestones needed to reach it. A great programming team can’t create the best custom software without a value roadmap.

How do you get started in developing a value roadmap to great software solutions?

One of the first steps to planning a successful journey is to establish a clear “Vision.”  Where do you want to go and what might it take to get there? Having a clear vision will help to mitigate some of the risks and increase the likelihood of your technology investment paying strong dividends in the future.

How to articulate a clear software vision:


Let’s dive into the first part of our journey and talk a bit about some of the considerations to think through before you chart the course to your destination:

Step 1 – Ask Why

Identify the Factors that Drive the Need for Change

Change can be uncomfortable to say the least. Trying to update software that has been in use for 10-20 years may make many employees uneasy and apprehensive. There are usually several variables that influence your organization’s decision to take on new technology initiatives.

To help select the right approach and build a sustainable software solution, your organization needs to understand the why behind the change.

Ask these questions:

  • Has your organization outgrown your current software?
  • Is your company in need of a more mature business processes to adapt to shifting technology climate?
  • Has the lifespan of the software’s maintenance support period ended, and is your company reconsidering costs and level of service provided?
  • Is your organization considering moving to the cloud to enable remote work, enhance business continuity and improve capabilities?
  • Perhaps your organization is under new leadership. Has the organization’s direction changed?
  • Is it a regulatory or compliance requirement that is driving the need for change?

Once you know more about why you really need the new software you can move to step two.


Step 2 – Ask What

Envision the Future State of Your Business

Looking into the future for success

Every organization faces a unique set of challenges. Whether it’s remaining relevant in the marketplace, retaining resources, or dealing with outdated data – we’ve all got opportunities for improvement.

Pinpointing your organizations’ specific pain points (what needs to change) early in the process can help you select the right approach.

Ask your organization these questions:

  • Do you need to automate repeatable business processes and allow employees more opportunity to focus on cross-functional activities that help grow the business?
  • Is the organization interested in creating a comprehensive solution that capitalizes on the organizations strengths to help deliver value to your clients?
  • Are you looking to transform the way that you interact with current and potential client base through a customized portal that allows them easier access to the data?
  • Is your organization interested in enhancing protections against cybersecurity attacks and limiting exposure of sensitive data?

Now that you know more about what needs to change you can move to step three.


Step 3 – Ask How

Map out Planning and Development Milestones

Milestone plan to reach through help with software

If your organization is planning to replace your legacy systems and software, it is a smart strategy to document the different business activities (tasks) that are required for your next generation software system to address current and future needs.

This exercise is the foundation for the roadmap that a software partner can follow. It is a vital tool and guide that will allow your software development team to understand how to effectively address your organization’s needs.

Software planning can be overwhelming. Antares Technology Solutions has assisted hundreds of companies through all phases of software planning and development. Contact Antares to see how they can assist you through the planning and launch of a software system that benefits your company or organization.

A fundamental change to technology can be frightening.  Be ready to set smaller objectives as they can be a more manageable way for your team to identify specific deliverables that will need to be accomplished.

What is a milestone? A milestone is a point on the calendar with one clearly defined deliverable and tasks are the activities required to accomplish that milestone.

As your team progresses through the requirements, prioritize, and rank your business needs and determine what features the new system must have and what would be nice to have.

Once you have your milestones in place it is time for step four.


Step 4 – Find Out How Much?

Cost of the Journey and Your Return on Investment

New software can propel your business forward and it is vital to take the time in the beginning to think through the big picture.

How do you calculate your ROI?

When calculating your future return on investment (ROI), it is important to look beyond the price tag and think about the impact the software will have on your overall business – a five (5) to seven (7) year projection is a good start!

Work to calculate your ROI through saved time, accuracy, speed for the client.

Ask these questions:

  • Do your workflows exist outside of your system and does your team perform their tasks from rote memory? If YES, then how much money would be saved if the new software now does this work?
  • Will the replacement of technology impact multiple divisions within your business and help to move the organization towards a more productive future?
  • Are there sunken costs in an outdated system that do not propel the business forward?
    • Ex: Yearly maintenance costs
    • Costs for patch upgrades
  • Perhaps your organization wants to focus more on the Key Performance Indictors (KPIs) and understand how to use your data to track metrics that correlate with success?

Now that you understand your possible ROI it is time for step five.


Step 5 – Ask Who?

Organization’s Tolerance for a Change in Software

At the inception phase of your project, it is important to identify the different stakeholders. Remember that stakeholders are both internal and external to your organization. They will all be impacted by the changes.

Your internal stakeholders that use the current technology are a goldmine of information. They can help you make an informed decision. Involving these team members early may also provide them with a sense of ownership over the problem and a vested interest in the solution.

It is also important to understand how your internal stakeholders respond to change and to determine their future availability to learn new technology.

Uncovering these types of details may help to determine how broad of an undertaking your software implementation should be and whether an incremental/phased approach should be used.


Antares value roadmap for custom software

Once your organization has developed a high-level vision for the new technology solution you can begin planning the next steps to translate your company objectives into strategies.

In our next edition we’ll focus on how Assessment of the business contributes to the VALUE roadmap. Join us for the next blog in our series as we progress through this journey of value based software development.

Tanya Boyd is a PMP and PMI-ACP certified Project Manager at Antares and has over 20+ years’ experience. Tanya serves as President of the Baton Rouge PMI Chapter where she has served on the board since 2016. Tanya collaborates with her team and clients to understand their business changes and identify ways to improve business processes through software solutions.