As competition grows, customers become more demanding and the IT landscape changes, every business is faced with the need to digitise operations. This need for digital transformation has been fast-tracked over the last two years to support remote working and agility. The result is that many companies have jumped for off-the-shelf solutions. While there are many great pieces of software available to solve all kinds of business problems, they aren’t tailored to your business. Some might be the perfect fit, whereas others might fall short. Custom software development, on the other hand, can be designed to solve business-specific problems and align with your business goals.
What is Custom Software Development?
Custom software development encompasses a whole range of services. It can be used to create a new product that will solve a customer problem, deliver competitive advantage or build automation into daily workflows. Ultimately, custom software development is the process of designing, creating, deploying and maintaining software. Where it differs from off-the-shelf software is that it is aimed at a narrowly defined set of requirements. Off-the-shelf software, on the other hand, targets a broad set of requirements to meet more general needs within an organisation. Custom software development involves creating, modernising or managing applications and may involve custom applications that run on any platform, web applications, mobile applications and integrations with different platforms.
When it comes to packaged software, the solution is ready to go after installation and configuration without the need for specialist IT support. For a custom software development project, a huge amount of expertise is required. Custom software development is either performed by in-house development teams or outsourced to a third party. However, the same processes, methodologies and development lifecycle apply in both instances. A custom project needs to go through the steps of requirements gathering, idea validation, feasibility testing, code writing, testing and deployment. Both the business and the end-user should be involved throughout the process to ensure that it remains user-focused, compliant, on schedule and on budget.
The Benefits of Custom Software Development
Custom software development enables you to create solutions to meet unique business requirements. The result is that you can achieve both competitive advantage and business growth. Ultimately, there are many reasons why companies turn to custom software developers:
- Scalability – by creating a solution that matches your business requirements, you can ensure that it integrates with your business process. In addition, future needs can be assessed as part of the requirements gathering process. Then, as your business grows, you will be able to easily scale your solution.
- Cost-efficiency – custom software development might seem more expensive at the outset. However, while off-the-shelf software might have a low upfront fee, there will be ongoing costs for licences and subscriptions. Custom-built solutions are much more likely to give a bigger return on investment with time.
- Support – with off-the-shelf software, you’re renting software from the firm that developed it and maintenance sits entirely with them. There is no guarantee that the product will be updated and will continue to run efficiently. With custom software development, you can build an ongoing relationship with your developers and ensure your solution is updated and optimised at all times.
- Security – cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats facing modern businesses, which means that any digital solution creates a potential threat. Widely-used software is more familiar to hackers and more exposed to sophisticated attacks. Custom software, however, can be maintained to a high security standard to reduce your risk.
- Implementation – in many organisations, departments work in isolation from each other, which can make it complicated to successfully implement new software. With custom software development, integrations can be built in as part of the project scope to ensure a more streamlined implementation and higher adoption rate.
- Integration – a big consideration when it incomes to commercial software is whether it will work with existing legacy applications and infrastructure. If it doesn’t, there are further costs to consider. With customer software, solutions are built to integrate seamlessly with their intended environment.
For most businesses, the main disadvantage to custom software development is the upfront cost. It’s undeniable that custom software is more expensive than commercial software at the outset. The other issue is the time it takes to implement. However, custom solutions are all about the long game. If you want something that is uniquely tailored for the needs of your business and that will offer agility, scalability and a greater return on investment, customer software development is often the answer.
The Secret to Successful Software Development
The first step to a successful project is ensuring that the software is truly needed and solves a core user problem. It’s also important to make sure that there isn’t a commercial solution that already delivers the majority of the functions required. After all, there is little point in reinventing the wheel. Once this first point is covered, you’ll want to make sure that you’re working with the best possible team of developers and using the right technology.
NET is composed of several technologies for building customer solutions, such as ASP.NET and Xamarin. .NET developers are able to reuse code across different platforms and have access to extensive libraries and resources from the open-source community. However, more than just finding a .NET developer, you need to find a business partner that you can collaborate with. You’ll need to work closely throughout, have a shared vision of what the software is able to do and ensure that it meets user needs at all times.
Could Your Business Benefit From Custom Software?
There is no shortage of commercial solutions and off-the-shelf software tools. However, while they are marketed to solve all your problems, the degree to which they fit your business can vary dramatically. Custom software development can help your business meet its unique requirements by delivering an efficient, scalable and cost-efficient solution. With the right solution, you can become more productive, more agile and gain an all-important competitive advantage. Of course, while there is no doubt that your business could benefit, the first step is discussing your requirements with a team of experienced .NET consultants.