Are you tired of using off-the-shelf software solutions that don’t meet your company’s unique needs? As a CTO or IT manager, you know that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to software. That’s where custom software development comes in. This article will provide you with valuable insights into the benefits of custom software and why it’s a smart investment for your business’s growth and success.
Table of Contents
What is custom software?
Custom software, also known as bespoke or tailor-made software, is designed to cater to a specific company or user, setting it apart from mass-market software like commercial off-the-shelf or free software programs. Unlike commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software, custom software is engineered to address a particular set of requirements, reflecting the unique needs and goals of the user. As a result, custom software development has emerged as a preferred option for businesses seeking tailored solutions that align with their strategic vision, increase operational efficiency, and drive growth.
Custom software development aims to create a unique and innovative solution that caters specifically to the needs of a particular organization. This may include the development of a manufacturer’s program for field service equipment maintenance or a bank’s customized online banking app that meets the unique requirements of the bank and its customers. Unlike off-the-shelf software, custom software is not intended to be modified for use by any other organization. This type of software is particularly desirable when an organization has highly specialized needs that cannot be fully satisfied by existing software packages.
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Custom software development definition
The process of developing, deploying, and sustaining software specifically for a given group of users, tasks, or organizations is known as custom software development. In-house development teams or outside contractors are typically used to create custom software. Custom software is developed using the same procedures and approaches as conventional software. The same processes, such as Agile, DevOps, or Rapid Application Development, would be used for a custom project in addition to the standard requirements gathering, coding, testing, and deployment phases.
Applications can be managed, customized, and modernized as part of the custom developed software process. Application customization describes adjusting commercial off-the-shelf software to accommodate unique needs.
The capacity of a company’s proprietary software to adapt to changing customer and market expectations depends critically on application modernization. Software is more effective when application management is used to assist operations including installation, upgrading, performance and availability optimization, and service desk functions.
Why do companies need custom software?
Custom software development is crucial for businesses as it allows them to meet their specific requirements at a reasonable cost compared to buying and modifying commercial software. There are several reasons why custom software is a valuable investment:
- Independence: Custom software allows enterprises to avoid escalating licensing and support costs, as well as the need to keep using packaged software in the event of a vendor going out of business or discontinuing a product.
- Lower integration costs: Compatibility with existing programs is an important consideration when purchasing commercial software. If there is no compatibility, businesses will need to spend more money on purchasing software that will work with their current infrastructure and integrate with it. Custom software can be developed to fit the environment it is meant for, thereby lowering integration costs.
- Efficiency: Custom software is designed to streamline processes quickly and effectively without the need to modify or customize commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) programs.
- Scalability: Custom software can be scaled up as a company or industry grows and develops. Designers and developers can anticipate future needs as part of the requirements gathering process. These factors can then be integrated into the application, rather than investing in additional licenses or subscriptions for bundled apps.
- Profitability: Developing custom software offers the potential for financial gain. Businesses that create their own software own it and can sell or grant licenses to other organizations, depending on the specifics of the project.
Keys to an efficient custom developed software
Decide whether to construct or purchase
Making sure that custom software is actually required rather than purchasing a packaged solution is the first essential to a successful software customization project, and there is a strong reason to be certain. One strategy for conducting a build vs. purchase study is to determine whether there is already a packaged software solution that provides more than 80% of the required features to:
- Support or automate one-of-a-kind business transactions
- Manage information and statistics that are particular to a sector or business
- Satisfy special privacy or security needs
- Make it easier to integrate legacy applications and data
- Replace or assist in cost-effectively combining existing solutions.
- Increase productivity, swap out existing approaches or assist in their consolidation.
- Open up new possibilities or boost competitive edge
- Expand and adjust to new demands.
If it is decided to build, getting the support of key stakeholders and making sure they communicate and work together on the project is a crucial first step. Sponsors, users, developers, even clients and business associates outside the company are examples of collaborators.
Collaboration in this sense refers to business users working together on requirements, knowledge exchange among international development teams, and close cooperation between development and operations teams to increase quality and responsiveness.
A distinct, agreed understanding of what the program must do—and not do—is one of the crucial outcomes of collaboration. In order to meet customer requests, address compliance, stay on schedule, and stay within budget, organizations need to effectively establish and manage requirements. A good prerequisite is:
- True (technically and legally possible)
- Complete (expresses a whole notion or message) (expresses a whole idea or statement)
- Clear (unambiguous and not confusing) (unambiguous and not confusing)
- Consistent (not in contradiction with other requirements) (not in conflict with other requirements)
- Verifiable (can be determined that the application fits the condition) (can be determined that the application meets the requirement)
- Traceable (uniquely identified and tracked) (uniquely identified and tracked)
- Feasible (can be completed within cost and timeframe) (can be accomplished within cost and schedule)
- Modular (can be modified without undue impact) (can be changed without excessive impact)
- independent of design (does not impose specific solutions on design).
Methodologies, technologies and practices
With requirements defined — and they will likely change more than once — applying mature, modern development methodologies and practices can help deliver effective, even innovative, software efficiently and rapidly. Development methodologies to consider such as: Agile development, DevOps, Rapid application development (RAD), Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).
Technologies and practices including Open source, Cloud-based development, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Low code, Analytics technologies, Mobile application technology may simply be a must.
The pros and cons of developing custom software
- Solutions tailored to needs: Because every firm has a unique set of business processes, custom software is the greatest option for meeting their demands. It is made to satisfy the unique needs of a single person or a group of people. Additionally, it increases productivity because you acquire what you want and gain a competitive advantage.
- Security: Every software and business must prioritize security since no one wants an app that can be easily compromised. The ability to implement as many security precautions as you desire with custom software helps lower security concerns. No off-the-shelf product requires you to rely on its limited security measures.
- Simple integration: Custom software is made to be simple to integrate with your company’s current software and systems. You may design software with the aid of software professionals, making adoption simpler and boosting business efficiency.
- Freedom of use and control: Custom software gives companies the freedom to use and update the program, giving them total control over the program. The customized software is your own, and you are free to upgrade or utilize it however you see fit.
- High Cost of Development: While market forces drive down the price of off-the-shelf software solutions, the cost of building custom software is generally high for organizations. The price of custom software often includes the cost of maintenance and support. However, once deployed, the functionality of tailor-made software seems to outweigh the expense of development.
- Time-consuming to construct: The creation of a fully functional piece of custom software for a company requires a lot of time because business requirements aren’t always as obvious as one may expect. To be certain of every criterion and identify those that are not explicit or direct, a lot of effort is spent researching and evaluating.
- Risk of dealing with a bad developer: Not just in the software development industry, but in most other sectors as well, there is a risk of working with a bad developer or company. Time and money might be lost by selecting the incorrect vendor. You can choose those who offer subpar or unprofessional software development services because there are a lot of bespoke software development companies available in the industry. Consequently, it is advised against hiring a developer in a hurry. To guard against losses in the future, spend more time researching.
Consider the above advantages and disadvantages before starting your bespoke software development journey to determine what your company needs.
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Custom software development process
There are many different software development models, and each one uses a particular strategy to guarantee the delivery of the finished product. There are some stages that every model includes, albeit the techniques may vary. The following essential actions can help software development organizations succeed:
1. Collecting preliminary prerequisites
After understanding what is custom software development, consultation with a software development company for your project is the first stage. A development company meets with the client frequently throughout the first requirement gathering stage to collect all the project needs.
It is a stage in which designers and developers comprehend project requirements, software goals, software users, and client expectations for the functionality of the final product. The software development company uses all of that data to determine whether you could be a good fit for its project.
2. Planning and requirement analysis
The development company begins studying the requirements after gathering them in order to provide a solid foundation for the software program. The requirement analysis and planning stage is therefore the most important one in the entire development process. For the development organization to satisfy all client needs, extensive investigation must be performed. In this phase, customer goals are transformed into a plan to allow two visions to collide.
The client demands must be documented and independently validated by both parties before going on to the next phase. A Software Requirement Specification (SRS) document, on which the product is planned and developed, contains the client’s requirements. Planning requirements also make sure there are no misunderstandings.
3. Technical and visual design
The development company must decide how to construct what has to be built after they are aware of what needs to be built. Designing a system architecture is essential for every project because every software solution needs a unique strategy. In the SRS paper, the internal layout of every software module is described. The modularity of the design and risk assessment are parameters that are taken into account at this stage.
During this phase, the external design may also be created. Wireframes, technical architecture, database design, high fidelity screens, a wonder prototype, user stories, and database schema are among the deliverables for this stage.
4. Development & Implementation
Since the real product is still being produced, this step might take the longest. Beginning with the software requirements specification document, as well as the visual and technical design, developers begin to program the software. Coding can be carried out smoothly if the phases prior to the development stage have been finished in a meticulous manner.
Depending on the type of software development paradigm, every development team approaches the development activity from a different perspective. Currently, the majority of businesses use the Agile process, which involves iterative meetings known as daily Scrum meetings where each team member updates on the status and problems with their assigned work.
To identify and correct flaws and weaknesses, testing is typically performed after the product has been developed and is prepared for release. Testers conduct several kinds of functional and non-functional testing while conducting tests. The following important aspects are being tested during testing:
- Basic application features.
- Installation on regional computer systems.
- Compatibility across several platforms.
- Text entry
If a bug is found, it is corrected and tested once more. The testing procedure is carried out repeatedly until the software satisfies quality standards. Both the client’s team and the developer team must test the software.
The varieties of software testing methods that you ought to use to evaluate the caliber of your custom software are as follows:
- Functional Evaluation: A form of testing called functional testing examines a software program’s capabilities. You must test each and every feature of the software when running functional tests. You must check to determine if you are attaining the desired results. Both manual and automated testing methods are available for functional tests.
- Non-functional testing: Testing non-functional components of an application, such as dependability, usability, security, and performance, is known as non-functional testing. They are carried out following functional tests. You can greatly improve the quality of your program by using non-functional testing.
6. Installation and Maintenance
A software application is released after it is tested thoroughly. But some people call the A software program is made available after extensive testing. However, after it is launched, some individuals declare the project to be “done.” You can experience a few unforeseen issues once you start using the software. Issues can either be resolved immediately or later depending on their priority.
You must choose between on-premises and cloud-based software deployment when it comes to the deployment of the software.
Software that is deployed on-premises is kept on a business’s own servers and secured by its own internal firewall. Up until recently, it was the sole means to integrate third-party software or applications with the codebase of the business. It is advantageous if your business needs total control over integrations with third-party features.
On the other hand, setting up a virtual computer environment is required for software deployment on the cloud. Organizations can access scalable and adaptable virtual computing resources thanks to cloud-based deployment. Cloud-based software deployment can be done via cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and others.
Because a development business continues to work on your product even after it has been released, maintenance is one of the benefits of custom software applications. The software development business oversees any upgrades and new functionality as part of the maintenance service.
Custom software can be a significant investment for a business, but one that typically yields positive results. By understanding what custom software is and its potential benefits, companies can make informed decisions about whether it is the right solution for their needs. With its ability to offer independence, lower integration costs, increased efficiency, scalability, and profitability, custom software is an attractive option for many organizations. At BiPlus, we specialize in creating tailored software solutions that meet the unique needs of our clients. To stay updated on the latest insights and trends in the custom software development industry, sign up for our newsletter today by filling out the form below.
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