The year is ending. Christmas is upon us, it is cold and dark and wet, and I have the biggest and scariest change of my working life coming next year. All this has put me in a melancholic mood and has me looking back at the last couple of years. I remembered it is two years ago that I created my first extension and almost two years ago that I started blogging about it. I realized it is time to make good on a promise I made to you, dear reader, and write about my experiences.
The first, and maybe not so obvious, thing I learned is that building extensions is all about creating value and reducing cost.
The way we create value for the organizations who employ us is by identifying what it is that makes those organizations unique and competitive. Then we take what is so unique and competitive and use clever automation to make that better.
Take for example a crane company. What makes that company competitive and unique is it’s ability to lift heavy things at a certain time and in a certain place. So in order to add value to this company we would have to create a better crane that can lift bigger or a wider variety of loads. We could also create clever planning software that would enable said company to do more jobs in a day. Both measures would result in the company doing more work and thus earning more money.
The way we save money for the organizations who employ us is by reducing operating costs. We make what they do cheaper and easier.
Going back to our crane company. We can use cheaper paper for the office stationery or choose to implement software to manage their parts store more efficiently.
Here is the kicker though. While there is a limit to the amount of money a company can save, there is no limit to the amount of money a company can make.
The goal for your innovative project should be to increase revenue more than the cost required to increase that revenue. For instance a new crane that can lift heavier loads quicker and has a lower service interval. Both innovations mean you can do more work in a day.
Related reading: extension design principles
Admittedly this has nothing to do with extensions. You should see this entire blog as a call to evaluate what you spend your time on and how that adds value to your customers. The reason this is the first thing I write about is because this is the foundation from which I started to design extensions.
When you know what adds value for your customer it is easy to determine your priorities. Develop unique software that adds value. Everything else can be off the shelf stuff.