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Specialized software: Buy or write?

Greetings habrovchan!
I think many faced the problem of choosing software for any specific tasks. In contrast to the dominance of all kinds of editors or clients for social networks (Facebook, VKontakte and etc.), it is extremely difficult to select a highly specialized program. Such software is a niche product, respectively, the producers of such software are few and the community has little interest in such programs (there are no manuals, reviews or other useful information in the network) - you have to move.
This is where the flour of choice comes in - to take a ready-made "cat in a bag" or to shoulder the burden of developing software for yourself.
I was not lucky to go both ways ...

I started my work activity in the company - buy and sell the distributor. We bought in large quantities household chemicals and cosmetics from different manufacturers and sold with delivery to a great many large and small stores. In addition to the warehouse and a dozen cars in the company, heaped-up sales representatives who traveled to customers and collected orders. It was this part of the work that I wanted to optimize.
The fact is that each sales agent collected orders from morning to night (he just wrote them down), and in the evening he returned to the office and dictated these requests to operators who drove them into the database (1C). All this took a lot of time - I had to collect and load the ordered goods into cars all night.
I started looking for a solution. It immediately became clear that in this scheme there are extra operators. If the sales representatives (or customers) directly placed orders into the database, bypassing the paper media, and even in real time - it would be just super. Such solutions have already been on the market - these are special programs running on PDAs with the ability to exchange via GPRS / WiFi. From a not very large number of proposals, I chose a solution from a company that was at that time the industry leader. Immediately bought a pair of PDAs and began to experiment. Everything worked, far from "half a kick", but still orders started coming directly to the database during the day - we both refused from operators and night shifts at the warehouse, without losing the speed of delivery of goods to customers.
It was darkened only by the fact that the software itself was not very convenient. And all because of the fact that with each release, developers introduced more and more features that were often poorly thought out and sometimes frankly unnecessary. The program began to resemble some awkward monster. Working with her is like using Photoshop to view photos ...
For two years I put up with it - or rather not even I, but sales representatives - I periodically caught them when they were sitting in the evening and interrupting applications from good old pieces of paper into new trendy PDAs. And I decided to write a custom solution to fit my needs. I found a company-developer, made TK and launched it into “production”.
What did I want to get in this new solution?

A small comparison of key technical points:
Third Party SolutionOwn decision
Exchange process with dbCommunication directly via TCP / IP between the PDA and the "office server". A special service listens to the TCP port, receives and decomposes data into file system directories, and “pulls” 1C through the Message Queue and a special dll, and 1C, in turn, downloads data from the files using another dll.The PDA leaves the data on the ftp server, and 1C takes data from this server with just one COM object.
UsabilityIn view of the redundant functionality, the interface is overloaded with all kinds of ticks, lists, and unnecessary confirmations. The most frequently requested actions are done in a few taps.Simplified access to basic functions (creation of an application, customer selection, navigation through the list of products). It is much more convenient to enter the number (the “longest” process in the work) - you can use a calculator, a hard keyboard or a joystick (mega conveniently: you swung to the right - you added a box / thing, you swung left - to subtract ...), or you could just “snap” number with your finger or stylus.

After a certain time, the first beta version was ready and I started testing. Despite the fears that testing and catching "bugs" would be delayed, I soon received the release of the program and quickly transferred my entire economy to the new software immediately having felt the benefits - the whole system practically did not require any support on my part (unlike of the past decision, where with enviable periodicity I had something to shaman somewhere). And most importantly - it became much easier for sales agents to work. The papers have disappeared completely, and the sales agents have become similar to mobile gamers - they work only on PDAs.
After some time, another company turned to me with a request to introduce such a technology (someone from the management of this company saw my sales agents with PDAs “in the fields” and was very interested). I tried and this experience was so successful that I continued to develop the product with the developer.
Please love and respect:

As output:
Do not be afraid to reinvent the wheel. Believe me, no one knows your needs better than you, and the belief in a “smart uncle” who will come up with everything for you is unlikely to bring you the desired result. And having spent a little of our own efforts - you can get not only a working solution, but also some other “buns”. On the other hand, we should not forget that developing your own product is not always profitable and requires a lot of attention and support and development efforts - it is up to you to act in each specific case.

PS This article is written not only by me. When I was still living in Kiev, I worked in a very cozy company IMESC . One of the projects I was working on was IMTA. I still have the best reviews about the team and partners of the company, and when one of the initiators of this project (Aleksey Plutenko) suggested that I publish an article, I gladly agreed.


Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/101591/

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