With businesses having more complex and diverse technological needs today than ever before, off-the-shelf software products are becoming more inadequate and inefficient. As a result, more companies are opting for custom software development as a solution to their unique problems.
What exactly does custom software development involve and why is it an excellent approach for most businesses? Let’s look at the difference between off-the-shelf software and custom applications as well as the advantages of the custom development approach. We’ll also help you determine whether custom application development is a good idea for your business.
What is Custom Software Development?
Custom software development refers to the development of custom software applications that are designed to suit the specific needs and requirements of an organization. As these software products are developed for just that organization, they can address the needs of users a lot more precisely and provide exclusive, in-depth solutions to their problems.
Off-the-shelf software products, on the other hand, are designed to cater to a broad audience with similar requirements. They aren’t designed to solve the specific needs of any organizations and thus, may not be very suitable for businesses with unique needs.
Custom software development is often handled by a third-party or, in some cases, an in-house development team. The development process is usually iterative, with changes being made as more needs are identified.
Now, you’re probably wondering whether custom software development is right for your business and what the advantages are. Let’s consider some of the rewards you stand to reap from choosing the custom approach.
Advantages of Custom Software Development
Here are the major benefits of designing and creating software that’s tailored to your business needs.
Flexibility and Efficiency
One significant advantage of custom software development is the flexibility it provides. With custom development, you can decide what features you want to be included in the software product depending on the needs of your business. And as these needs change due to growth, your custom software can easily be updated to handle new requirements.
This level of flexibility means that custom software is often much more efficient than off-the-shelf products. Custom applications can help with the automation of repetitive tasks and boost collaboration within an organization. The increased efficiency and productivity that results from the use of custom software is one of the principal reasons why it is popular among large organizations.
Custom software is also more secure than mainstream software. This is because popular off-the-shelf applications are more likely to be targeted by hackers than custom software that is used by just one business.
If hackers successfully hack mainstream off-the-shelf applications, they can get access to a lot of data from different companies. Hacking custom software, on the other hand, will only provide access to one company’s data, which isn’t very rewarding for cybercriminals.
Custom development also gives you full control over what security technologies or protocols are integrated into your software. Thus, you can choose the ones that suit your business best and save costs.
Support and Maintenance
With custom software development, you get access to a dedicated support team who can provide in-depth technical support and regular maintenance. Such focused support and maintenance mean that any technical challenges or security loopholes can be resolved in much less time than it would take an off-the-shelf software provider to update their product.
Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about your software provider suddenly discontinuing support for a product or service that your business relies on. You’ll get consistent maintenance for the lifetime of your custom software.
While developing a custom application for your business may not seem like the most cost effective thing to do at first, doing so can provide you with substantial long-term savings. The efficiency and productivity gains that custom software development provides often offsets the initial costs. And while off-the-shelf products may be less expensive initially, the costs associated with training, licensing, and finding alternatives that provide missing features can add up pretty quickly.
Moreover, custom development lets you plan the development process. You can begin working on the most important features and, depending on your budget, append advanced features over time. Breaking up the process into phases also enables you to test and acquire feedback on the product and improve it in subsequent upgrades.
Better integration with existing systems
Many companies make use of multiple software systems across various departments. This can lead to compatibility and integration issues which reduce efficiency and lower productivity. With custom development, however, the various processes handled by those different systems can be integrated into one major software program.
Custom solutions can easily be integrated with existing systems and can be designed to accommodate the skill level of the users. They can even be used to extend the functionality of existing tools and they could be developed to look and function similar to programs that the users are familiar with.
Custom software development also gives organizations the ability to personalize the look and feel of their software. It ensures that your software fits seamlessly into your company’s workflow. With custom development, you can design and develop a system that is aligned with your business model and thus, promote the uniqueness of your brand.
As businesses grow, their needs become more complex and require more advanced tools. Custom software development allows you to ensure that your software scales to accommodate your business’ growth over time. This allows your business to grow faster without being restricted by inadequate software.
Should You Choose Custom Software Development?
Custom software development is indeed a great approach for businesses with unique needs. But is it right for your business? Here are some things to consider before going down the custom route.
If your company has unique requirements that are not delivered by the off-the-shelf software products out there, then custom software development is the way to go. If you can’t find a product that suits your needs on the market, you’ll have to build one. However, if the technology needs of your company aren’t complex or unique, you might be able to get by with mainstream software products.
On the other hand, if you have specific long-term goals or are looking to raise the value of your business, custom development is a great idea. The gains from increased efficiency and ongoing support give you a competitive edge over other businesses who employ poorly optimized solutions.