If your company has software needs that can’t be fully addressed by software systems purchased off-the-shelf, it may be time to consider custom software development.
What Is Custom Software Development?
Custom software development refers to the process of creating a custom software application that specifically addresses the needs of a given company or client. Custom-built software is an approach for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to achieve their business goals by following a clear and fast route designed especially for their needs.
Commercial off-the-shelf software solutions, also known as COTS, address a broad scope of requirements so they can be commercially distributed. Custom software is tailored to a very narrow list of requirements defined by the company or the user who commissions it.
If you have business requirements that can’t be effectively or efficiently met by off-the-shelf software packages, tailor-made software or bespoke software is definitely a solution worth looking into. Companies or clients can commission custom-build software in two ways: through in-house development or outsourcing to a third-party company that specializes in custom software development.
When you decide to go beyond off-the-shelf software products and work with a custom software company, your dedicated development team will gather requirements, construct wireframes and code, proceed with testing the software, and deploy it using methodologies like Agile, DevOps, or similar.
What Are the Pros and Cons of a Custom Software Solution Compared to an Off-the-Shelf Software Solution?
Custom software development solutions can be a great approach to solving unique business challenges or requirements, but they can have their drawbacks. Here are some of the pros and cons of custom software development.
Pros of Custom Software Development
- Solves unique problems with custom features
Customized solutions address very specific problems and requirements that can’t be solved with off-the-shelf products. During the development process, software engineers will figure out the individual requirements for your software and design efficient solutions to meet them.
- It can evolve with your company
As your company grows (and its business processes change) your software can grow with you. This can be achieved by designing features to accommodate your business growth from the start, or with updates and revisions as time goes on. If you have an in-house development team the latter is very easy.
- It gives you a competitive advantage
With a custom solution to keep up with your business flow and sustain business continuity, you can be confident that none of your competitors will be using the same software as your company, which can provide a big advantage while increasing business productivity. If your software is well designed, this innovative solution might be exactly what you need to satisfy your customers more effectively and enjoy a higher rate of customer engagement than your competitors.
Cons of Custom Software Development
- It’s expensive
The cost of custom software is often the main reason businesses choose off-the-shelf solutions. However, as their business operations change and the business workflow increases, the benefits of working with custom software developers can help offset these costs significantly. The custom software development process is very involved and requires a lot of work at every stage. Even if your company can articulate clear requirements, good developers still need to conduct research to ensure that the solution they produce is the most effective. This takes time and money.
- It takes time
If you need an immediate fix to a business problem, custom software probably isn’t going to be the best solution— especially if the problem is complex. It takes time to construct effective software, and a custom software development project isn’t something that can be rushed.
How Can Custom Software Development Help a Business?
Custom software development can help a business in a lot of different ways. It can provide a significant competitive advantage by uniquely addressing customer needs and improving customer experiences. Your custom software can collect specific customer data that will provide valuable insights, or it can automatically initialize a sales process, or perhaps even track employee productivity.
Custom software can also cut back on your staffing and development costs— if you outsource it, that is. If your company doesn’t require a constant flow of new software to address ever-changing problems (in which case, an in-house dedicated team of developers is your best option), outsourcing your custom software development can help keep HR costs lower.
It can also help you mitigate project risks associated with launching your software. This is because outsourcing custom software development means hiring a team of highly skilled professionals that uses the highest quality project management tracking software to get the job done.
Does Your Company Need Custom Software Development?
If your company has specific business requirements or needs that aren’t being met as efficiently as you’d like with COTS, then custom software development might be a good option for you. COTS can be pretty good for a lot of companies and users, but because it addresses such a broad scope of requirements, you probably will end up paying for features that you don’t need and might not get your requirements met to the depth you expected.
Even if your company just needs a small adjustment to an existing COTS, you can still commission custom software development to produce software for you that provides all of the necessary features while eliminating the superfluous ones.
Custom software is also the right solution if your business is still growing and the requirements are likely to grow and shift with you. Furthermore, when you hire an external development team to produce custom software, you get the opportunity to form an ongoing relationship with them and benefit from custom solutions and revisions down the line as the need arises.
What Types of Custom Software Development Services Are Available?
Software is a broad term that can refer to a lot of things, and as a result, custom software development has several different services you can opt for. These include:
Mobile Application Development
Custom mobile app development can help you deliver a satisfactory user experience for your customers. It can provide unique features and solutions with increased revenue, a greater scope of scale, and enhanced security.
E-commerce Software Development
Custom e-commerce software can help your company meet the ever-changing needs of customers in the e-commerce space while giving you a significant competitive advantage.
SaaS stands for Software as a Service and is an explosively growing tech sector. Companies whose entire product is a type of software (like Dropbox) require highly intricate and well-developed custom software.