Specialized knowledge is important for building great software products

In order to build a new, innovative version of an application that already exists, it’s critical to first have an understanding of the current options. This seems fairly obvious, but it’s often not what happens.  Computer engineers build applications, but these applications are used to solve non-computer engineering problems. Frequently the specialized knowledge component is glossed over, to quickly get a minimum viable product out the door and start iterating on customer feedback.  Much is lost there.


There’s a lot of old software powering the world of business.  In fact, most software currently being used by large business is old, by any current standard.  But it’s so intertwined their operations that it’s very difficult to make the switch to something new.  Convincing a Fortune 500 company to transition a mission critical application is often a multi-year, detailed process, requiring a considerable amount of strategy specific to the industry and their business in particular.  Even the most brilliant team of ivy league computer scientists can’t pull this off without bringing others with specialized knowledge into the fold, early on.  


So if you’re considering a new software product, check out the founding team.  Review their backgrounds and consider why they’re building this product. Seek out providers that have specialized knowledge related to problem they’re solving.  


Example: accounting software experience at SoftLedger


At SoftLedger, we have about 25 years of corporate accounting and financial reporting experience, two CPAs, and an MBA.  Our advisors have extensive experience as well, enabling us to confer with the foremost experts from the Big 4 accounting firms and accounting standards setters.  This is what it takes to develop a reliable accounting and reporting application.  


Further, when exploring new areas like reporting for blockchain networks and crypto accounting, it’s important to have extensive expertise.  These are new, risky, uncertain areas that take careful consideration. Even just the tax implications when accounting for crypto incorrectly could result in a significant financial impact.


When in doubt, don’t risk it


In summary, don’t take a risk on an inexperienced team.  Ensure your software provider has intimate knowledge of the subject matter, from real work experience at legitimate companies.  


As with anything, it often comes down to a story.  What is their story? Why are they doing this? If they don’t have a good answer for that question… run for the hills.