Never hire a programmer to build your back office tool (here's 7 reasons why)

7 reasons why you should never hire a programmer to build back office tools in 2023.

Never hire a programmer to build your back office tool (here's 7 reasons why)
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Businesses have used programmers for years to make custom back-office tools that automate processes, boost output, and make workflows more efficient. But do you really need to hire a programmer in 2023?

"But Matthew, the irony! Aren't you a programmer! " – You, in your head

True! But hear me out. There are many platforms for building back office tools today that don't require programming it from scratch. Hence getting a programmer might not be the best way to go.

Let's explore why you should NOT hire a programmer in 2023 to build a back office or internal administrative tool for your business.

#1: High Cost of Development

Hiring a programmer to build a backoffice tool can be expensive, especially if the coder is very skilled and experienced. This can lead to high costs for developing the project, making it out of reach for many businesses.

Of course, you can try to hire a more junior software developer. But this has its own problems and pitfalls. Junior software developers tend to take longer, produce software with more bugs, and may fail to adequately translate your business requirements into a viable solution.

In the end, hiring a "cheap" software developer may make the project more expensive than hiring a more talented, expensive developer.

Hence if you plan to directly hire a software developer, be prepared for costs to run out of control beyond initial estimates. This is especially true if you don't have lots of experience managing software developers in the past.

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#2: Long Development Time

Creating a custom back office tool from scratch can take a long time, especially if it has a lot of complicated features and integrations. This can cause delays and missed deadlines, which can be frustrating.

Your business may urgently need the tool to run your operations. Generally when a business decides to automate, it means the manual approach has reached a breaking point. As in: "We need this YESTERDAY."

The sooner you get the tool up and running, the sooner your business can realize the benefit in terms of efficiency or improved customer experience. Building software from scratch can take a LONG time.

If you plan to hire programmers, just be prepared for a long journey with the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) including specification, design, development, review, revision, quality assurance, bug fixing, and deployment.

What is the SDLC (and what to expect as a business owner)?
Experiences & thoughts on software pragmatism from the desk of Matthew Joseph Martin

#3: Need for Ongoing IT Help

Once a custom backoffice tool has been built, it will probably need support and maintenance from an IT team on an ongoing basis. This can take a lot of time and cost a lot of money.

Your business will either need to hire IT staff to handle the tool, or pay some type of ongoing service agreement with the programmer(s). If you're buying a long term support contract, you'll need to evaluate the vendor in more detail including its stability, etc. The worst possible outcome is to spend a fortune on a custom built solution, only to have the vendor disappear and you can't continue using it!

Worse yet, bespoke or proprietary built solutions will be unique to the programmer(s) that built it. Anyone new coming in to support it will need to learn from scratch. There may be a lack of standardization or an approach that fails to follow industry best practices.

How to avoid the pitfalls of bespoke software for your business
Experiences & thoughts on software pragmatism from the desk of Matthew Joseph Martin

#4: High Learning Curve

To make a custom back office tool, you need to know a lot about code and have a lot of experience with it. This means that you will have to spend time and money training a programmer, which can take time away from other important jobs.

It's a bit like a game of broken telephone. You or your team have business needs. Then you need to communicate these to the programmer. And then the programmer needs to turn that into a solution via code.

Each step in that chain has the possibility for miscommunication. Plus, it takes time. How much time do you have available for meetings to train the programmer on the unique ins and outs of your business? I'd bet, not much.

#5: Scalability

A custom-built back office tool may not be easy to scale, especially if it was made with a specific set of features in mind. As a business grows and its needs change, the tool may need to be rebuilt or greatly changed, which can be expensive and take a long time.

There may not be many ways to connect a custom-built backoffice tool to other software systems, which can limit its value and capabilities. This can make it hard for businesses to organize their processes and make their operations run more smoothly.

Errors are more likely to happen when programming by hand, especially when making complex software applications. This can lead to bugs and glitches that are hard to fix and cause people to waste time and money.

#6: Changes Are Hard (and Expensive) to Make

Once a custom back office tool has been built, it can be hard and take a long time to make changes or add new features. This can slow down businesses that need to adapt to changing market conditions and cause them to miss out on chances.

How did that thing work again? You'll need to contact the programmer. Good luck. They may be busy with other clients. Hopefully you purchased a long-term service contract that includes an SLA (service level agreement)

#7: High Cost of Ownership (Maintenance)

Custom-built back office tools need to be maintained and supported on an ongoing basis, which can be expensive and take a lot of time. This can cause businesses to have to pay more for repairs, which can hurt their bottom line.

So, who to hire?

With a custom-built back office tool, businesses may not have as much access to updates and new features because they have to depend on their programmers to make these changes. This can make the tool less helpful and less up-to-date over time.

Find a developer who is versed in the latest nocode technologies. Developers should focus on results, not writing code.

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Essential skills for any software developer in 2023 (in the modern era of nocode)
Experiences & thoughts on software pragmatism from the desk of Matthew Joseph Martin