According to statistics, spendings in the sector of enterprise software grow steadily and expect to reach $457 billion in 2019, which demonstrates, among other factors, the obvious trend for growing competitiveness of business software efficiency.
Indeed, when your startup grows as fast as you expected, there comes a time when you are compelled to update your digital strategy and create 100% responsive business environment.
Custom software development appears the only reliable way for maintaining software at the advanced level as it efficiently addresses the issues of:
- facilitating the management of a growing enterprise
- satisfying the specific needs of the business by offering the tailored solutions
- maintaining the consistent growth of revenue generation
- unlocking a new level of business productivity by applying the ideally fitted software.
With that said, let’s dive deeper into what defines custom software, what stages are introduced within the process and, if you need customized solutions for your enterprise, what you must be aware of to make a zero risk choice and benefit your business.
Custom aka in-house software: Definition
Generic software is developed by product companies to help perform certain task that commonly relates to any industry. Purchasing such software means that you accept its functionality and conditions of usage set by the company provider.
Custom software that also goes under the names of bespoke and in-house software is developed for the specific customer, which implies meeting all the specifications regardless of however complex they might seem.
Customized software proved to be more useful in comparison to generic software in terms of providing functionalities meeting your business requirements with precision.
In addition to tailored cut, you get an easy-to-learn software that by default ‘communicates’ in the language of your business. Customized software does not suppose reselling so practically you get one of a kind solution.
Custom software vs off-the-shelf
The difference between custom software solutions and off-the-shelf offers is similar to the difference between ready-made and tailored clothes: both are designed to be wearable but when it comes to feeling more confident and serving longer it is easy to guess which option is a fail-proof problem solver.
Off-the-shelf software is the commercial product of generic build aimed at a worldwide audience to satisfy the similar needs. For instance, PowerPoint or Impress are products of set design developed for a wide range of users that want to have a tool for presentations. However universally applicable this software is, it does not deliver solutions to a specific business, and here is the point where custom software enters.
Custom software development delivers a software product to a single business that is commissioned, created and supported to be in fine tune with organization requirements of the entity where it operates. The logic of choice in favor of customization is quite simple: it can provide a unique mix of flexibility (due to individual design, updates and changes are adjusted to current business needs) and performance boost (as it is targeting the specific problems).
When your business needs custom software development?
You are surely required to introduce customization into your business when it has some unique characteristics, and a customer needs software built around highlighting them.
Nowadays, a lot of businesses opt for custom software development rather than apply generic software because customization creates:
- the products that satisfy their overall needs
- the software solutions for the niche specialty they are working on.
In case of applying customized software both these issues are successfully addressed as custom applications give any specific business the ability:
- to automate the logistics of functions
- optimize the internal business process.
Sectors that implement custom software development cover all the top industries including healthcare, hotels, real estate, IT companies, insurance businesses, marketing agencies, call centers, law firms. Practically, we are speaking of almost all regulated industries demanding multiplex billing, complex document management, and in-depth strategies for work planning.
Narrowing down the numerous cases of custom software development to basics, we can say that a business cannot do without custom software solutions when the essence and core concepts of the enterprise incorporate:
- achieving fail-proof performance for critical functions in manufacturing process within your business
- smooth running of content management systems
- managing the customer engagement channels for guaranteed revenue generation.
6 questions to ask yourself before making a decision in favor of custom software development
To help you decide, we developed a simple test based on our experience. It might take only 1 minute to answer questions related to choice between custom software and off-the-shelf software.
Pros and cons of the custom software
When you implement the customized solutions you get a number of benefits putting you into avantgarde in your industry sector. The major advantages your business acquires with custom software include both tangible and intangible benefits:
→Enhanced efficiency. With applying the customized solutions, you streamline your service delivery and expand on your efficiency because the main goal of custom software is to increase organization productivity by minimizing the adjustment time.
→Loyalty of your customers. Applying specialized software solutions in your business custom care management enables individual approach to each client and upscales the management level within your enterprise. By ensuring the bigger chance of clients’ loyalty to your product and service, you increase your chance for stable and growing revenue because having loyal clients is hundred times more efficient than searching for a new one.
→The integrations you need. When you apply the custom software development you will get only those integrations that you need without overloading workflows with unnecessary technicalities, and this way you will save a considerable amount of time and money.
→Security. Due to increase on cybersecurity problems (especially in the growing sector of online banking), custom software development seems a solution that helps face this challenge by configuring the security measures for the specific needs of your business.
There is a flip side, of course, and when you take a decision to build your software, you must be aware of the possible risks and disadvantages.
Your requirements may fall into the niche that demands elaborate design and development, which can translate into a high price for implementation.
The other risk associated with custom software development pertains to a time consumption. Customizing implies tailoring at the stage of development and testing, which might come with stumbles and delays.
Custom Software Development Process
Speaking of custom software development stages, we should, first of all, claim the complexity of the process and underline that success of solution provision will heavily rely on both developer and customer engagement alike.
The process itself includes several stages starting typically with Planning and Analysis followed by Design, Development, Testing and completed with ongoing stage of Maintenance and Support.
The key goal at the initial stage of planning and analysis is to collect as much data as possible for precise listing of technical requirements of the project. Besides, this is the time of the highest adjustability as the more detail is discussed at the preparatory sessions with the clients, the more positive impact it will make on designing and configuring the optimal solution.
The choice of design reflecting the brand identity and enriching the user experience is one of the crucial stages of custom software development. At this point, the stack of tech requirements gradually transforms into a visual picture.
Once the design of the software is ready, it is implemented in the code that links all the components together and empowers the application with the designed capabilities.
Completion of development is followed by testing codes to check the coordination of software in terms of its functionality and compatibilities. Engineers test different codes for ensuring the quality and speed of performance.
Furthermore, at this stage, the custom software documentation is processed in full. In addition to the documentation approved at the stage of planning (technological requirements and design specifications), the documents for maintenance and support are introduced.
Maintenance is no less important than development itself: with bespoke software, a client owns it, which implies keeping it current and introducing updates so the custom development company offers ongoing support and service on future development as the integral part of the specialized software package.
Customer's Role in Software Development
It is impossible to overrate the importance of customers in the software development process as their requirements are the only roadmap the developers need to arrive at custom software development destination.
Letting even a small detail slip off developers’ attention may result in inadequate project planning so being a customer-centric and building the custom software solutions with having the user experience in mind will never hurt.
There is a false belief in equation of ‘customized’ and ‘overpriced’ though the cost of in-house software can be actually lower than the price of the generic software that can run in millions while demonstrating less functionality.
To remove all the uncertainty, the cost and finance analysis showing the precise numbers is usually introduced prior to implementing the in-depth customization. Then, businesses apply customizing solutions themselves or outsource with a reliable supplier.
Making a choice in favor of a company that will develop software perfectly-suited your business needs is half of success. Needless to say, the other half is customer’s active participation in all the stages.
The company arranges a meeting with the prospective customer to estimate the scale of a project, outline the range of tasks and calculate the total amount of time and resources required to come up with the design and development of the customized software.
It is vital that a company service provider should be picked on the basis of detailed analysis of all the criteria (including financial estimate and affordability but not limited exclusively to them). What is much more important is company readiness for being flexible and inclined to consolidate efforts with the customer to achieve the desired results.
To answer your business needs under the conditions of evolving economy, you need to set a direction for moving fast forward to be ahead of competitors. With business plans to expand and explore new levels, you may consider applying customized solutions that upscale the existing processes.
There are two options to address customization effectively: either you create in-house software with a team of your developers, or you choose outsourcing to build the software from scratch with a custom software development company that will focus on your needs to provide a client-fit solution, which no commercial off-the-shelf software could possibly offer.
So in case you opt for outsourcing custom software development, all you need is the right service supplier to deliver a solution upscaling your business operation to high optimization and effectiveness.