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When it comes to development philosophy, businesses have a lot of different choices. And yet, it seems that no matter what a company chooses to do, development often comes down to building it yourself or paying someone else to do it.

As a company that offers development platforms, we see all kinds of development scenarios. Based on our years of experience, we can offer a few observations when it comes to development and IVR.

Outsource Everything

At one end of the spectrum, there are companies that want to outsource the entire development process. This is like handing over car keys to a newly licensed teenager. In a lot of ways, you’re giving them complete control and hoping that everything works out the way you want it to.

The upside of outsourcing is that you don’t have to put the time or energy into building and managing a particular solution. At some companies, it’s critical to recoup that time so people can focus on higher priority projects.

If the project being outsourced is, or closely integrates with a mission-critical process there can be some drawbacks to outsourcing. The biggest issue is that no one knows your business like you do.

This has the potential to create issues down the line because there is no guarantee that all changes or updates that your outsourced vendor makes will 1. be timely, or 2. reflect the needs of your business or your customers.

Now, this isn’t to say that outsourcing is a bad idea. These issues can certainly be overcome with the right relationship and enough time and effort. But if your company is one that doesn’t have the time or ability to guide a vendor through change orders, then you might want to re-consider your outsourcing strategy.

Here at Plum, we do offer professional services, and we build everything to spec. So, if you know exactly what you want we can build it for you. But our professional services are not 100% outsourced because we require input from you.

The DIY Approach

We’re talking about two different development approaches here, and the other one is ‘do it yourself’. This is like changing the oil on your car on your own instead of taking it to the dealership.

We’ve found that many of our most successful customers have taken a DIY approach. And when you think about it, this makes sense. Businesses that build their own applications are able to adapt their customer self-service applications to fit the changing needs of their business or their customers on the fly.

One of the biggest roadblocks to the DIY approach is the fact that IVR technology is so complex. Oftentimes, businesses think that it will take too much time to learn the technology. But that’s not really the story when considering Plum’s products.

For example, Plum Fuse is designed specifically to make the development process easy and more team-friendly. How does it accomplish this? We start with an intuitive, visual, drag-n-drop interface. There’s no coding necessary for most of the tasks in Fuse.

Developer resources, especially time, are precious commodities at almost every company. This is another area where Fuse helps businesses out. Your developers may need to help with the initial Fuse setup, ensuring that integrations and web services function properly, and things of that nature.

But once that initial setup is complete, there’s very little that developers have to do. One of our clients granted permission to their marketing manager and a business analyst to manage their Fuse apps. These individuals had no previous development experience.

In just a couple of hours poking around in Fuse, the marketing manager was able to update prompts, change call routing options, add pages to the application, and upload new audio.

Similarly, their business analyst was able to dig into the VoiceTrends data for their applications and identify trouble areas. VoiceTrends’ diagnostic flow feature does for IVR data analysis what Fuse’s visual editor does for IVR development: it makes it easier. The diagnostic flow is a visual representation of your call-flow data, showing how callers use your IVR applications.

Pick The Approach That’s Right For Your Company

It’s important to remember that the ‘correct’ development approach is the one that meets the needs of your business. For some that will mean outsourcing development and for others that will mean building their own applications. No matter what approach is right for you, Plum Voice has the technology to help you improve your customer self-service IVR applications.

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Jason Myers stitches together letters and words into cogent thoughts as the Copywriter at Plum Voice.

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