Retail requirement for bespoke software

We know that many retailers are struggling right now. We have over 30 years of experience in the retail sector and have built custom retail software solutions for many global and national high street brands. Almost without exception, these clients have some dependency on legacy IT infrastructure, or rely on software that has not kept up with the rapid pace of change that retailers have become accustomed to. There is often functionality that sits across multiple pieces of software, and different business units rely on different sources of data to make crucial business decisions.

Covering every aspect of retail, our experience in buying, merchandising and supply chain software makes us the software shop of choice for many retail software procurement teams.

A Complex Landscape

The complex landscape here is one Igale are all too familiar with, and our London based bespoke software development team are well accustomed to helping retailers to plug the gaps in their existing tech stack, replace legacy retail software, or remove reliance on Excel. The need for a piece of bespoke software can come from a number of business situations, and a combination of the factors below usually feature in the early discussions with our clients:

Common Bespoke Software Scenarios in Retail

There are many ways that a business can find the need for bespoke software arising, but the below list cover some of the most common scenarios Igale encounters.

  • A system has built up over time in Excel/Access and has now become burdensome to maintain and or enhance. Typically, a system spans multiple Excel/Access files/databases and the time to get information in and out of the system is causing the business operational challenges.
  • A key staff member has left the business or retired, and their legacy estate of applications/reports was only fully understood by them. The business is hurting from their departure and needs to invest to modernise this legacy estate.
  • Software is now near end of life or out of support on legacy technologies. Finding people who are willing and able to work on this can be challenging and their costs when you can find these people are often expensive!
  • Another (typically big 4) consultancy has been working on a solution for a long time, the project has been delayed or delivery is failing all together, and it’s costing the business a lot of money in both development and lost opportunity.
  • There are multiple business systems all solving parts of a business issue, and no one system can fulfil the business need. Data is spread across multiple systems that cannot see each other. Reporting has to be done outside of these systems requiring a lot of time.
  • Existing systems are not compatible and cannot be integrated to work together. The business knows there is value in these systems working together, but the task to integrate and maintain multiple systems outweighs the benefit of doing so.
  • Multiple teams require different data and reports from the same system, their desires and requirements on how to best enhance the system are not aligned and the existing system has become disjointed and the data messy.

Setting Up For Success

We know that all of the situations above can seem daunting and hard to get yourself out of, and Igale makes the process as easy as possible for our clients.

During sprint 0 Igale works with clients to set the project up ready for success. By working in close partnership with our clients we ensure that everything is prepared in readiness for starting development sprints. More information on how we conduct sprint 0 can be found in the link at the bottom of this page.

There is a distinct difference in the skillsets of development teams who build Enterprise software and those who build websites. Although the tools used are similar, the challenges that need to be overcome are often very different. Compliance and development standards are usually much more onerous. Building Enterprise software using the Agile method typically requires people of the following skillsets within the team:

  • Product Owner
  • Project Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Solution Architect
  • Test Manager
  • Scrum Master
  • Development Team

Building Strong Foundations

Building custom retail software takes time, and having a full vision of what the software needs to do, who will use it, how many people will use it, what they will use it for and how long it’s expected to be in use for are all key considerations that will influence the solution architecture. Understanding that there may be points before the final go live, where a subset of the final product can be deployed, and the business can start getting feedback on the software is crucial as this can steer the future direction of the product ensuring that resources are well utilised. You can find out more about how we build an MVP here.

If you’re looking for bespoke buying, merchandising or supply chain software, contact Igale today.

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