In the late spring of 2010 we started to notice an unpleasant trend.  Our pipeline looked better than ever but the length of our sales cycle had nearly doubled.  We were fairly certain this development could be attributed to the economy and after a few rough months on the sales front, we sat down and asked ourselves a couple of questions: What can we do to better position ourselves to appeal to business owners regardless of the current economy?  How can we become the “value play” for software development in Kansas City?

The answer? Innovate.

We reviewed our software development process and identified inefficiencies and bottlenecks.  We then looked at our project management and software development tools to see where we could make improvements to eliminate those inefficiencies and bottlenecks.  We had slowly been building out a custom project management tool for some time but finally decided that we needed to move it off the back burner.  We decided what we needed the tool to do, determined how we would build it, invested some of our resources and six weeks later rolled out version 1 of our internal PM tool, SoftwareStreamline.

Software Streamline is saving us nearly 10 hours a week in project management time.  That's 40 hours a month, 520 hours a year.  And it's only version 1.  We'll continue to improve the tool and continue to reap the rewards of innovation. 

Because we invested a little bit of time in our own custom software development efforts, we were able to reduce our hourly rate by over 50% without decreasing profitability.  We already boast some of the best software architects in the area and that hasn't changed.  Now it just costs our clients a lot less to reap the rewards of their expertise.

Now it's your turn! How can you leverage innovation to better position your company to appeal to business owners regardless of the current economy? 

“Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.”
-Bill Gates