What’s more important, investing in software or investing in people?

In this era of rapid software advancement, the landscape is teeming with possibilities as innovation continues to unfold. With generative AI gathering significant attention in recent months, it's become increasingly vital to grasp both public sentiment and industry perspectives on the evolving role of bespoke software in our society. Understanding this dynamic landscape not only propels businesses forward, but also lays the groundwork for developing software solutions that truly resonate.

Software versus people

We conducted a nationwide survey with over 800 UK executives to discover their views on where investment should be placed in the future and, critically, the importance of investing in software versus people. 

We asked: “In your opinion, is investing in software development more important than investing in people?”

Investing in people won out, with 54% of all respondents stating that this was more important over the next 10 years. Wider research into business success reinforces this thinking, as investing in people often leads to increased employee motivation, greater job satisfaction and improved productivity, all of which lead to growth. 

Therefore ensuring your business is investing in the right training, support and culture is a critical consideration for businesses that are looking to improve and thrive. In fact, some of the most well-regarded businesses focus on employee investment as the core to their success. As Richard Branson aptly put it, "Your employees are your greatest asset and worth the long-term investment.

What about the remaining 46%?

Our survey revealed that investment in software was also very important to businesses and almost half of respondents, a whopping 46%, feel that investing in software development is more important than investing in people. 

This startling statistic shines a light on how critical many individuals in business across all sectors feel software is to the advancement and development of businesses and the economy. It may also suggest that current investment in software in many companies is still in its infancy, whereas investment in people is at a more mature level, therefore, there is a need to address this balance and invest in software that advances and develops positive change within organisations and growth for individuals and the economy. 

Automating our future success

A study by McKinsey found that automation has the potential to increase productivity by up to 20%. Therefore, investing in the right software may not only improve efficiency, but also contribute to significant time and cost savings by reducing mundane tasks for employees. In today's competitive business landscape, staying ahead of the technology curve, and keeping employees motivated is key so is automation the answer? 

People-first bespoke software development

Our experts at Propel Tech believe that automation must be built on understanding customer and employee needs and that investing in bespoke automation and software development should deliver a people-focused software solution, be this by reducing repetitive tasks, enhancing communication and reporting, improving customer experience or increasing transparency. Bespoke software solves human problems and it requires well-trained developers to understand the people and customer needs of a business to execute a well-planned and bespoke outcome.

Modernising your existing system with bespoke enhancements and updates can also reduce the cost of systems maintenance and support, as the aim is that fewer bugs and issues will need to be fixed over time.

Furthermore, bespoke software that meets your business needs should provide a competitive advantage. Companies that invest in bespoke software development can differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering specialist or improved products and services. 

Taking a balanced approach

Propel Tech’s HR Manager, Hannah Starkey, concludes: “Investing in both people and the software they use is important for business success. A system that’s designed to make jobs easier and more enjoyable builds trust, reduces costs, and enables firms to stay ahead of competitors. As the demand for software continues to grow, businesses need to prioritise the human needs, and fully understand the user case before starting a software project.”

At Propel Tech, we are more than just a team of software developers, testers, and project managers, we are advocates for the transformative power of technology - but we also value people and the critical skills, curiosity and ability to develop fresh ideas and novel thinking. 

If you would like to know more about how Propel Tech can support you in automating aspects of your processes and developing people-first bespoke software to improve your business get in touch with us today.

Survey data gathered November - December 2023.

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