Every innovative and disruptive web and mobile app development company often faces the decision of whether to stick with their current off-the-shelf or OTS software for the different enterprise and business process requirements or make an investment in custom software development.
It is quite difficult to decide whether you should work around daily to get the OTS software to easily work for you, or you should invest some resources into getting some program, which includes business intelligence data as well as fancy analytics.
So, what does make the companies consider the custom software development team which have years of experience? Development of your own custom software can make quite a great business sense for your own company in case you:
- Have certain business requirements that can’t be completely fulfilled with the commercially available software product.
- Have requirements of a feature that other software products simply don’t offer.
- Have actually tried existing software, and the overall complicated created by using to force this software to fit your business requirements simply outweighs the overall advantages.
In case of all the above reasons, a custom software application can be quite a promising alternative to what is actually available on the current market for your business as of today.
Table of Contents
What is custom software?
Essentially custom software development is the development of specialized software products or applications which fulfill the particular request or task.
A given desktop application like this could easily be utilized to fulfill one purpose for the enterprise, or it could even easily encompass all of the business processes and integrate them well together.
Also, it can be quite comprehensive as you actually want it to be. Basically, custom software is generally designed to meet the particular requirements of a certain group of users or a given enterprise better than what the conventional or OTS software can.
What are the advantages of custom software?
When it comes down to the specific task of a business, there are certain ones which can’t be accomplished by the off-the-shelf software. In this regard, the business processes slow down, and sometimes outsourcing companies may have to make minor or major changes to their own processes in order to use these OTS for the given purpose.
This leads to wastage of both times as well as effort. However, custom software can easily solve a particular task as it is developed to handle those particular tasks. This may take major investment and time to develop.
The cost to develop custom software can be significantly high. However, this saves both time and effort, along with money in the long run, and proves its profitability. This is one of the major and key advantages of custom software development services.
How do people use custom software?
Well, when it comes to using custom software, people use it in various ways. For instance, a scientific company wants to develop an application like MS WORD, which is quite popular for writing, editing as well as document preparation.
Word has different features that make different tasks much easier, such as printing labels, spelling and grammar checking, and even creating professional-looking publications.
But, if the company wishes to produce medical reports for its own customers, none of the features of the Microsoft Word or any similar products could assist in this particular given instance.
Such a company has specific requirements for how the reports are actually needed to pull information as well as how they are required to look to make sense to the particular end users.
Instead of adapting the traditional commercial software testing to complete this given task, the company can hire a custom software development company to come up with a particular custom solution that securely takes all of its medical file data and creates the reports directly in the pre-specified formats such as PDF format.
How does the development process work?
When it comes to custom software development, the developer, as well as the client, works quite closely together in order to decide the purpose of the planned software, who are essentially the intended users, and exactly what are the business requirements which the program needs to meet.
Hence, you need to consider if you really want to have custom software. Is it certainly going to be worth the overall investment, or do you simply want to able to say that your enterprise has custom software?
The various decision-making factors consist of:
- The industry or business that you are in.
- Whether you have specialized privacy and information security concerns.
- Exactly how much data is involved, and even how complex is it essentially?
- What is the pre-existing commercial software which is already in use? Do they lack scalability and are rigid?
- The budgetary as well as financial constraints.
Even though these factors can be quite difficult to weigh, but as you go through the entire decision-making process, you will reach the point where the benefits will become clear.
The investment in the development of custom software should lead to:
- Connecting your employees, partners, and customers.
- Managing the key processes as well as clearing bottlenecks.
- Leveraging the assets and products of the business.
- Reducing the cost and time to complete the tasks and increase efficiency.
- Assisting in business to discover and handle the latest opportunities for both revenue and growth.
After you have decided, the custom software development utilizes a multi-tier as well as a multi-platform approach that encompasses the business operations and easily touches more than one particular single software.
The entire environment is under scrutiny during this entire process, right from online forms that are completed by the customers to the collection of data and even invoice as well as remittance processing in order to produce the overall financial statement mailed out by a particular commercial operation of printing. When it comes to working with a software development company, the complete business process is mapped from end to end.
What is the difference between Custom software development and OTS products?
The development of custom software isn’t similar to just simply taking a pre-existing commercial software, making adjustments which can handle a particular process and completely automate it.
At present, there are several commercial applications that handle various generalized tasks, right from databases to even analysis of data and even report writing.
Different general applications are essential tools for various generalized processes that force your business to adapt to their different functionalities or get adapted, which involves custom coding in order to fit the requirements.
This can certainly be an expensive route, as buying OTS products needs licensing as well as customization of these particular products is generally an additional expense.
However, custom software is exactly as the term means, which is software that is designed to fit the business and your requirements as well as the process. Also, it is better to invest in a particular product that works with the business needs, saving time as well as money of the company offers.
Whenever you are developing custom software, that particular software is essential to fit the particular business requirements, fulfills the defined needs, operates within set parameters, and is basically designed with a particular user audience kept in mind.
The business owners and the stakeholders actually sit down with the software development company to determine the scope as well as requirements along with testing and even what the product will essentially accomplish.
The delivery of the final software isn’t the end of the story. Generally, the company keeps the development on contract as it implements and starts using the new creating software.
Once the company sees how exactly the program is actually used, the software developer can make the required tweaks and updates. Also, the product becomes much more useful through the overall delivery of improvements and enhancements.
Custom software is essentially tailored to the business requirements specifically. Also, the project can easily connect different processes, even integrate with pre-existing software as well as scale as per the increase in business demands.
Who needs custom software development?
Few industries are more likely to require custom software than the others. You need to consider the following:
- Whether your business in an industry needs to closely adhere to different government regulations, or is it concerned with information privacy and security. In this regard, businesses in industries like education, e-commerce, healthcare, and finance come into the picture.
- Whether your business has certain specialized needs, business processes, internal procedures, or industry stands, which can’t be fulfilled by the OTS products. In this case, healthcare is the prime example of such an industry that needs to adhere to different rigorous standards for the preservation of medical records as well as patient privacy. They need to follow the standards for much accuracy.
- Whether your business utilizes various components that share data or even communicate with each other, or in case important data have to be essentially moved from one particular shared environment to another.
Who generally doesn’t need custom software development?
While you wouldn’t want to simply jump the gun and invest a lot of money into custom software development when there are way simpler solutions that are available, you are essentially looking for a magical solution since your company’s entire data is out of control and the business processes are completely disorganized, and the employees are overwhelmed or maybe not trained adequately.
Hence the problem can easily be that your business itself or its entire onboarding processes. In this scenario, custom software won’t fix the problem.
Try to isolate the various difficult processes and tasks, focus on solving the problems which keep occurring, invest incorrect training of the employees.
In case you still find some problems in the process, only then you need to start looking at custom software development. As we have mentioned earlier, the entire business and its processes will be under strict scrutiny.
Also, consider conducting a detailed cost-basis comparison analysis of OTS and custom software. Purchasing an OTS product as well as customizing it could easily improve the efficiency of the company. Hence, you won’t require custom software.
If you wish to circumvent buying different OTS products by simply commissioning the development of single software that does everything, then it can be an issue.
Sometimes, if you have a wide range of moving parts in the business, then it makes complete sense to develop an overarching ERP software for the company.
But, if you are able to forgo all of the expensive, huge and all-encompassing custom software development efforts by simply breaking down the different business processes into manageable smaller blocks of work which are more easily tamed, then you should don’t require custom software.
Questions to ask yourself as you make the decision
In order to make the comparison of custom software with OTS solutions, you need to ask the following:
Ques – Are you in an industry that majorly relies on custom software as well as application development?
Ans – In case you are, then you should get the signals right here. It can be something about your own industry, which makes the development of custom software a much better option. You need to find out what your own competitors are actually doing in this regard and why.
In case the companies in your industry don’t actually use custom software, then think about examining into it for yourself in order to see if it would essentially provide you an edge over the competitors.
Ques – Do you have specialized as well as industry-specific requirements that are needed?
Ans – In case you have much higher privacy and security concerns, or you simply have different unusual needs that aren’t easily found across many different other businesses and industries, then custom software can easily save a lot of time as well as money.
It is better to invest the money in custom software rather than wasting precious resources in different workarounds in order to try and force OTS software to actually fit your requirements.
When it comes to security, note that many security breaches often happen due to hackers taking undue advantage of known shortcomings and weaknesses in the OTS software. Custom software could easily assist in addressing the security concerns if you choose the right custom software development company.
How is custom software development applied?
When it comes to the application of custom software development, it can easily be utilized for both internal business processes as well as external customer-facing processes.
For instance, let’s consider the healthcare industry. Here we consider a medical company that is looking for a completely new way to easily connect with providers and patients.
It wants a portal which patients can use to easily track their own lab results over time for almost everything, right from basic blood tests, to much more specialized lab tests.
In this way, the patients can easily get a better view of their own health. Also, the company wants software that is accessible by different mobile devices.
A few of the tricky things which this software needs to include are specialized encryption and security as HIPPA regulations clearly dictate that the providers always keep the personal health information of the patients secure.
So, for this, software development services have to think about the user experience, including how labs will be tracked over the period of time, and essentially how to present the data, in the form of graphs, charts, etc., in order to make it quite easy to read for almost everyone.
Hence, they need to come with a developing mobile-accessible program that allows lab technicians to input the lab results easily, and then it sends automated messages to the corresponding patients who have signed up for the particular service.
Also, patients can get their results faster without actually having to make any of the additional phone calls to the offices of the doctors. The results are that patients become more engaged in their own health-related outcomes, which is a great indicator in finding how well a patient will actually do during the entire follow-up care.
Also, by developing custom software early in order to handle logistical as well as process challenges that you have in the business, you can easily account for things such as scalability in the entire design. That’s another way how custom software development is applied.
How to easily get started with custom software development?
Whenever you are actually trying to decide which route to choose- whether to develop custom software or utilizing OTS programs, the decision essentially boils down to the following:
- Whether there is anything present on the market which can do what you need it to do?
- Essentially how long will an OTS software be actually able to do what you need it to do? Whether scalability is going to be a major issue later on.
- Exactly how much licensing cost in comparison to the cost to develop custom software and maintain it for the organization? Are these prices even comparable?
- Basically, how volatile are your industry as well as the business climate? Whether things likely to change drastically or not as you grow.
Once you have weighed in all of the pros as well as cons, along with the cost of OTS program in comparison to custom software development, if you decide that custom software is the way to process, it is now time to choose a particular vendor to assist you in developing the software you require.
Vetting a vendor or agency for Custom Software Development
Essentially a lot of software development services, which are eager for your business, might promise you everything. This essentially means that it is up to you to actually ask the right questions in order to determine in case the company is a good fit for you or not. Here are some of the questions to actually ask of any potential company you might even work with.
Ques – Does it pose the right skills for you require?
Ans – In case you are looking for a particular ERP application, and the company specializes in mobile app development, you already have a giant mismatch.
Even though it is perfectly fine for companies to have different specialties, and few highly skilled can easily come in handy in later cases, if it turns, you require something which you didn’t know you even needed.
Ques – Is there Request for Proposal is correct?
Ans – A lot of RFPs which don’t truly reflect the work which needs to be done is always there. Some RFPs are either too vague, which don’t give any idea about the actual scope of the successful projects. Always write a strong as well as detailed RFP.
How much does it actually cost to develop custom software?
It is an established fact that the budget is always a concern for any business. How much time will it essentially take to develop the custom software and then actually implement it in comparison to the implementation of an OTS solution? Also, how many people will you require to put on a particular project? Basically, what will the training actually look like?
Even, OTS software generally has licensing fees. So, what are those related fees? Whether it is a one-time fee or an annual fee? How many people would the enterprise softwares require? What exactly is the break-even point when you compare OTS software with customized software? In case the money comes out close to even, then look back at the previous questions in order to determine if you wish to invest your own money in an OTS software program or developing a new custom software solution for your business.
The cost to develop custom software can range from few thousands of dollars to tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars, which depends on the scope of the project, the requirements of the business, processes involved, and features needed.
When it comes to custom software development, it is quite great, as it presents with a wide range of opportunities for businesses to receive exactly what they want and require for their business.
It also requires a major investment of money and time. Hence, you wish to ensure that you do it right in order to increase your entire ROI and overall satisfaction with the finished final product.