custom software Custom Software
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There are a lot of off-the-shelf software packages and free apps available to you.

But sometimes all of the software you've collected feels like more of a barrier to productivity than a helper.

What Can Custom Software Do For Me?

Custom software can help you streamline your business flow, increase manpower efficiency, and reduce costs. Blou Designs specializes in doing this through business process automation and systems integration.
  • Streamline data entry
  • Extend the life of your legacy software
  • Create new capabilities that aren't possible with any of your systems alone
All of the software solutions developed by Blou Designs are 100% custom. What does that mean? It means things like:
  • You get the software features you need and none of the features you don't.
  • The software works with your data without any manual manipulation or "hand jamming".
  • The language embedded in the software matches the language you use in-house. So whether an employee is talking about something in a meeting or entering data into your software, every employee will be on the same page because the terminology will be the same across your entire enterprise. You don't have to worry about translating someone else's jargon into your own words.
  • We can usually work with your existing software, like Microsoft Office, to provide the capabilities you need without the cost of additional software licenses or hardware.

How we work...

Blou Designs has honed a 5-Phase methodology for designing and developing software solutions on time and within budget.


1
We Connect

Barbara will meet with you -- by phone, email, or face-to-face -- to discuss your immediate needs and your long-term objectives.

If we decide we're a good fit, we'll start on your project.
2
We Plan

This is where we nail down your success criteria for this product and how this new product fits into your overall desired business flow.

If you already have a scope of work (SOW) in place, Blou Designs will work with you from that scope.

If you're still in the planning phase, Blou Designs can assist with one or more brainstorming sessions to solidify your needs into a SOW.

Based on our discussions and analyses, Blou Designs will devise a technical plan (including cost estimates) to develop your solution. Things like button colors will come later, but this plan will reflect all of the important dates (the schedule), data sources and formats, and all responsible persons.
3
We Prototype

Based on your deadline and the schedule we agreed upon in Phase 2, Blou Designs will develop and test your project as a series of working prototypes.

You'll also review and test these prototypes as they evolve into the final deliverable.

Sometimes these reviews result in new feature requests. Blou Designs can help you assess these requests and determine whether your deadline and budget allow for the incorporation of these new features or feature changes.

Because you are part of the development process, you'll know that the project is on-track with what you want.
4
We Deliver

On time and within budget, your final product is delivered to you.

There won't be any surprises, because you've been a part of the prototype and review process the entire time.
5
We Support

Support can take the form of:
  • Documentation
  • Training
  • Phone calls
  • Feature updates on an as-needed basis
  • A service contract
You pick the support option or options that best fit your needs and your budget.



Frequently Asked Questions

Are you taking new projects right now?

Yes! Let's Connect.

Can I add or remove features as we go?

Yes. We understand that software development can be a dynamic process. Sometimes you don't realize there's a feature you want until you see your product begin to take shape. We're always happy to discuss change requests with you, and explore how they might fit within your timeframe and budget.

What happens after the software is delivered? Who handles support? Who adds new features? Who fixes bugs?

Blou Designs software is designed to leave you as self-sufficient as you want to be. If you have an existing IT team that wants to take over maintenance of the delivered product, Blou Designs will build that into your contract. If not, Blou Designs will be there to help.

We realize that sometimes a bug slips through the cracks, sometimes there's a feature that couldn't be added to the original software because of lack of time or money or managerial approval, and sometimes you need training for employees new to the system. Blou Designs will be available on an as-needed basis for all of these situations.

Why should I spend money on custom software when I can buy something off-the-shelf?

There are a lot of things to take into consideration when faced with a custom software project, only one of which is budget.

Basically, you should at least review your business, your software, and your people.
  1. Tally the number of manpower hours spent doing things the way they're done now. How much does that cost in terms of employee salaries?
  2. Think about the parts of that process that are repetitive and that could be automated, like monthly reports that pull from the same data and perform the same analysis every month.
  3. Think about the parts of that process that are "busy work", like logging into multiple systems to grab data from each of them, or copying charts from MS Excel into MS Word or MS PowerPoint.
  4. Now calculate how much time (and money on employee salaries and benefits) can be saved if you automate those tasks or integrate those systems. That's the budget you save every year once you have a custom software solution in place.
Now you just have to ask, Does that budget justify paying for a custom software alternative?

How long does it take?

It really depends on the complexity of the work you've requested.

A typical MS Excel project, complete with macros and templates and data integration, can be completed in under 200 hours.

How do you bill?

Unless we've come to some other arrangement, we bill monthly. Work will be invoiced in 15-minute increments at the hourly rate for the service provided.

What if I don't know if I'm ready for a custom solution?

Let's connect and talk about your situation.

We'd love to hear from you.