Bespoke Software Development Case Study

Customer Profile

Back Office Support Services started back in 1998 to help recruitment agencies of all shapes and sizes prosper and grow. They do this by providing outsourced administrative operations, such as Payroll, Credit Control, and invoicing. This allows the agency to focus on what they do best, matching temporary staff to their client’s positions.

When we first met them, they were operating in a modest office building above a charity shop with around a dozen staff, many of whom still work for them today (which is testimony to the family ethos that they have managed to maintain despite their growth).

A few years ago, they bought a brand new purpose built office block and now have over 60 employees.

Their customer base has grown hugely too. And, like their loyal employees a number have been with them for a long time. This kind of loyalty has to be earned and all their staff always go that extra mile for their customers.

I have lost count of the number of times we have visited their premises to see another huge bunch of flowers from a satisfied customer.

Business Issue

Back Office started the business with a “tailorable” off the shelf payroll and credit control solution. However, this system was not as “tailorable” as they were first led to believe.

We sat down with their Managing Director and immersed ourselves in learning their business processes. It quickly became apparent that we could really help them grow through a bespoke, custom built, bespoke software development solution.

Its tremendously satisfying, as a bespoke software provider, to be able to tell a new client that they can do things, through bespoke software, that they did not know were possible. It opens up so many opportunities.

IT Solution

Greystone rewrote Back Office’s payroll and credit control systems from scratch to their specific requirements. Working closely with Back Office allowed us to produce bespoke systems that run alongside the way they want to work and to a timeframe that suited them.

Developing bespoke software that enables a company to operate exactly how they want to operate, as opposed to having to adapt to a fixed off the shelf package, give a business a huge boost. They find they can offer their clients so much more than they could have previously. This not only helps them win new business but also helps them retain their existing clients by meeting their constantly changing needs.

Our solutions don’t stand still either. They have evolved and adapted as Back Office has evolved and adapted.

Because our solutions were built on well defined solid foundations, they have never been offline. Delivering that level of quality, consistently for over 20 years doesn’t happen by accident. Greystone are a collection of highly skilled, customers focused, driven, IT specialists who, like our clients go that extra mile to make sure we always exceed expectations.

Technology Used

  • Visual Basic
  • .Net framework
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • FoxPro
  • OPERA

Results and benefits

Back Office have always strived to offer a personal service that goes above and beyond that of their competitors. Their custom-designed and engineered systems have constantly evolved to meet their client needs.

Their unique business model completely relies on the flexibility of bespoke software and the detailed understanding that allows Greystone’s software engineers to develop and support the systems.

Back Office have grown their operation from a dozen clients to over 300. Greystone has been supporting their software needs for over 20 years as they have grown and evolved.

Benefits of Bespoke Software Development

For many businesses just starting out, getting the right software solution to help them grow is vital as there are so many to choose from. Business owners will be mindful of costs, but also wanting their businesses to begin trading as soon as possible. They may look for a quick fix by purchasing an ‘off the shelf’ software solution to get their business up and running.

But, although software systems such as these are very good initially, as the business grows you may find the software is no longer as flexible, and a bespoke solution is needed. Some businesses dread the idea of creating bespoke software even though they realise they need it. They don’t want the disruption, they think it will be costly and it will take a long time to build, install and to train staff.

A bespoke software solution is actually the opposite of all these.

A bespoke solution begins with our developers immersing themselves in your business, looking at the way it operates now, but also what are its ambitions for the future so it can be built to flex and update seamlessly as it grows.

Software should also be intuitive to your business and consider how it will be used by employees, to ensure it is easy to understand and use. So much so, that a user guide shouldn’t be required. Bespoke solutions can be integrated across various departments and job roles so it will link into existing systems, for example, account packages or a CRM – so no disruption to your day to day operations.

Plus, getting a bespoke system installed into your business now will save your money in the long run. Getting an off the shelf solution now may look like a cost-effective option just as you are starting out. But it won’t flex to your business needs as a bespoke solution will do and to change it down the line will cost you!

And finally, if you are in a competitive industry, a bespoke system will ensure you are ahead of the game as your competitors use inflexible off the shelf alternatives. Surely that is worth investing in!

So, in summary, here are the benefits of bespoke:

  • It is built around your business and no one else’s
  • It can streamline your operation
  • It won’t contain loads of processing that you don’t use. Off the Shelf software has to work for all its clients, and not everyone works the same way
  • Will give your business a competitive edge
  • If you need to flex, make changes, etc your IT software company will be able to update your system allowing you to adapt
  • Bespoke software will bring all your departments together and help ensure they’re all pulling in the same direction
  • Building a Bespoke solution around your business will give you a fresh set of eyes that often results in you being able to offer services in a way you never knew were possible

A word from Back Office...

Back Office Support Services have worked with Ray Locke and Greystone for nearly 20 years. Over that time we have devised several “best-in-class” modular systems and it is testament to Greystone’s design and development ability that, whilst upgraded over the years, the core packages are still in use now.

Ian Humphrey