September 19, 2022 4 MIN Read

Build it, Don’t Buy It: How Software Developers Give Your Business a Tailor-Made Advantage

It's no longer 'build or buy'; it’s now 'build or die'. The right software developers can develop custom systems that set your business apart. Find out how.

Optimising the digital transformation of your small business requires digital tools that allow you to best serve customers. Unfortunately, many startup decision-makers view software development (and IT in general) as an added expense rather than a competitive advantage. What they are yet to realise is that the right software developers can develop custom systems that set your business apart. Find out how below.

Ask Your Developer

Former developer and current Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson wrote an exceptional book called Ask Your Developer: How to Harness the Power of Software Developers and Win in the 21st Century. In the book, Lawson extols the untapped potential of software developers in our digital age. He says that too often, developers are seen as “digital factory workers” rather than a creative workforce. 

Lawson rightfully argues that the best software developers are capable of providing unique business solutions that help develop and deliver exceptional products for customers. Further, he says that utilising software developers to build unique solutions is not confined to Amazon and Google. Nearly every startup can benefit from building custom products and processes, with the end goal of serving customers better. According to Lawson, companies that bring in software developers are winning, as it’s no longer a ‘build or buy’ world; it’s now a ‘build or die’ world. 

Are You Underutilising Your Software Developers? 

“Code is creative”, as Lawson so eloquently puts it. However as most business owners can attest, leaders tend to be much more well-versed at motivating their sales teams than their software developers. This leads to an underutilisation of useful software development talent.

The old-guard business model of handing your developers a detailed document full of mere product requirements rather than engaging their creativity is over. Instead, one of the best routes to digital transformation you can take as a small business owner is to engage with your software developers. You’d be surprised to know that tapping into the creative problem-solving ability of a developer can be the change your business needs to better serve customers. It can help encourage the culture your business needs to scale from a small multidisciplinary team to a larger one.

How to Put Your Software Developers to Work for You 

Instead of handing off product requirements to your software developers or sharing what you believe to be the solution, share your problems with them. Doing so is part of the digital transformation that some of the best companies are implementing. This allows your developers to apply their creative problem-solving abilities to the problem along with their understanding of the technology your company already has in place.

When you share problems rather than already-decided-upon solutions with your software developers, you’re rewarded with an instant team connection that supports company growth. This approach addresses the challenge of monopolisation of ideas, which is something a lot of business leaders are guilty of. It allows you to build better solutions faster, which is something that every business owner and developer wants — bigger impact, faster.

Examples of Companies That Made Effective Digital Transformations

A perfect example of this is the digital transformation of the American fast food pizza chain, Domino’s. Domino’s went from a pizza company to a technology company after their CEO shared a problem with their development team, leading to a decade of innovation in their business. The problem? They didn’t know who their customers were, what their previous orders were, their addresses, or their preferences.

Once the problem was identified, the tech team made changes by building custom mobile apps that allow busy parents to order their kids a pizza with a text message. This not only saved Domino’s from being on the brink of bankruptcy, but positioned them as a top chain in the competitive American fast food pizza market during the 2020 pandemic year. All of this came from simply sharing the problem with the tech team and letting them do what they do best.

L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetic company, is also a good example of an effective digital transformation. In recent years, the company has gone through a revolution to not only offer their makeup in-store, but has also developed a set of e-commerce solutions.

Clients can also use virtual technology to have online consultations and try all their products, thanks to augmented reality. With online purchasing accelerating, this digital transformation has created a unique opportunity for clients to shop in the comfort of their homes with an enriched experience and enhanced services, customisation, and personalisation. This industry-leading digital transformation led to a banner year for the brand, with their 2021 annual sales growth exceeding twice that of the entire rest of the European beauty product market.

Key Skill Sets of Software Developers

Clearly, adding the right developers to your team is a critical part of your business’s digital transformation. Here are some examples of the key skills that Software Developer talent from The ROOM possess. 

  • Ability to discuss client expectations and requirements
  • Ability to collaborate — not just with the rest of the developer team, but with other parts of the company
  • Developing and proposing unique solutions
  • Writing and testing code (that you specify)
  • Using development tools (that you specify)

Gone are the days when developers were confined to engaging only with other developers. Successful digital transformation for many of today’s startups and small businesses requires solid communication and collaboration across the board -– much of which will start with your software development team.

Ready to Hire World-Class Software Developer Talent?

Hiring the best remote software developer can be a challenge for many business owners who are already busy with a million other things. That’s where The ROOM comes in.

If you are ready to see what our top software developer talent can do for you, visit The ROOM to access a pool of highly skilled engineers rigorously trained in web, app, and software development for front-end, back-end, and development operations. 

The ROOM is home to a highly specialised community of agile digital talent, connecting individuals and companies across the globe with the skills and resources they need to future-proof their teams and thrive in the new world of work.