We live in a high tech world
Every industry is embracing digital innovation to maximise business opportunities and take advantage of benefits like enhanced agility and process improvement. Digital technologies are constantly evolving to utilise 21st century innovations and the powerful computer we’re all carrying around in our pockets.
There’re hundreds of thousands of apps that you can use to undertake pretty much anything to do with the running of your business. Indeed we’re at the stage that the market is considered saturated. The problem is that each app tends to perform one task splendidly, but to manage all the tasks you need multiple apps. Unfortunately, much of the time these apps do not talk to one another without expensive API development or additional investment in a platform like Zapier. That’s where software comes into place.
Software should work for you. It should make sure that digital technologies your business adopts delivers real business benefit for you, such as time or cost savings, improved processes, and better communication. Customisation recognises that every business is different and in the case of Vanguard Wireless, every site where our systems would be installed is different. For a B2B business, often a one-size-fits-all approach will limit the appeal and effectiveness of a product or service.
Software customisation can be pre-set, or purpose built
Pre-set customisations are those that a supplier offers to all or a segment of their customers automatically. At Vanguard Wireless, customers can use customisation to set how long their evacuation sirens sound for, and what sound pattern they use. They can set up users and select what permissions they have. Often a pre-set customisation originates as a purpose built one for a large customer, refined in conjunction with their feedback, then rolled out as an option to the wider group.
Purpose built customisations are those built specifically to address a customer need, provided there’s clear value for both parties in doing so. A good example is the emergency alert system Vanguard Wireless designed and installed for the Central Station project. The project presented unique challenges due to the public nature of the site and railway infrastructure. To ensure the customer could establish a device network we developed cellular connected devices as the traditional radio frequency driven network didn’t work. To prevent false alarms – catastrophic to any transport hub – we developed virtual triggers that the public couldn’t see. The scale of the project and the value of the customer meant we would derive ROI, however we identified that the NPD we undertook could be utilised by a large segment of all our customers.
The point of customisations is to solve unique problems that a customer has (provided there’s a business case). In a digital world, if a supplier values your business, then it’s reasonable for you as the customer to expect some form of customisation.
Integration is a type of customisation
Any digitised product or service is likely to have APIs built into its development which means they can integrate with third party hardware or software to provide a seamless user experience. For example we have integrated with home automation systems and super sensitive buttons for Cerebral Palsy Alliance homes, and project management apps for some of our construction customers. Our technology remained fairly the same but for the customers it means the current products or systems they have in place (often at a great investment) aren’t made redundant by introducing other tech.
Some integrations are bespoke (for example if there’s a particular piece of technology that needs to be integrated with) and others are more general (for example an app that much of the construction business currently uses).
How valuable is your business to your supplier?
Successful businesses are constantly chasing efficiencies in terms of time or cost; a system that can be customised to work with what your business, workers, and potentially customers are already using will make onboarding faster and ongoing business management more effective.
Certainly the supplier needs to calculate how big the opportunity is, and what the likelihood is of any work being used by a broader group of customers. If you’re willing to commit to a long term partnership with them, they’re foolish to not at least consider it.