Humans love when there is an element of personalization to something. It speaks to us on a more intimate level if a product that we use caters to our needs and solves our problems. This is true for technology as well. We tend to form an emotional connection with a digital product if it knows us well and if it is filled with details that satisfy us. Companies know this too. Custom software development is one such way companies leverage this fact.
What is custom software development (CSD)?
Custom software development (CSD) can be defined as the process of designing, creating, deploying, and maintaining applications made specifically for one individual or company. It is also widely known as bespoke software or tailor-made software. Let’s take for example the banking system. Today, all banks have their own customized mobile banking software applications. Each application represents the parent company just like the parent company is responsible for the application.
Customized software is made to meet all of our needs. It targets our challenges and aims to solve them. It aids us in a personal manner instead of a wide general audience. Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software, like the Microsoft Office Package, is more generalized. It is made for multiple organizations and millions of individuals. Compared to it, customized software is much more detail-oriented, robust, and functional.
Developing customized software is a customer-centric process. The project team analyses the market and the client. They consult expert analysts and designers, prototype a product, test, and after many iterations and corrections, the final product is created. This product is suited for the client, is promising enough to compete within the market, and is the result of thorough research, and trial and error.
Learn more about CSD here.
Advantages of custom software development:
It isn’t always easy to decide between an inexpensive COTS and custom software. But, custom software offers many more benefits than generalized, off-the-shelf software.
- Unique and innovative:
No two companies are alike; or at least, shouldn’t be. That is why you need software that meets your unique demands. Customized software contains all the features and functionalities that your organization needs to handle your business. It aligns with your business model and workflow. Off-the-shelf software could never do that. It doesn’t meet the unique needs of your company; it doesn’t solve the nitty-gritty problems that you face every day at work.
Choosing to work with tailored products gives you space to grow and adapts itself with your growth. Think of custom software as a tailor-made suit. It fits you much better than if you were to buy one off a store. You can ask for a specific colour, the number of pockets, and just about anything.
- Competitive advantage:
Since custom software is tailor-made exclusively for you, you get all the unique features that your competitors don’t. This can become your unique selling proposition.
Off-the-shelf software on the other hand is rigid in this matter. Also, it provides the same features and perks to your competitors as it does to you. So, if you want an aid to improve your brand’s identity, custom software is the way to go.
- Easier to scale
Every business aims for growth and profit. And when your business grows, so do your needs. In most cases, off-the-shelf software isn’t advanced enough to handle the growth of your business. This creates friction in your workflow and business processes.
Off-the-shelf software is better for startups and smaller businesses, but for an established business with lots of customers to satisfy, custom software is worth the investment.
- Improved productivity and profit
If you rely on off-the-shelf software that doesn’t offer all features to solve your problems, your team will face disruption while working. In contrast to that, having too many features that you will never use only brings distraction.
Custom software meets your unique requirements and helps you with work. Your team will stay motivated and work better with good technical support. And the better the team works, the more your business benefits. Isn’t that the bottom line?
Another perk of custom software is that security, as required by your company, can be in-built into your software. Commercial off-the-shelf software is more prone to bugs and hacking. There are many security loopholes and vulnerable points that they can target. With custom software, on the other hand, there is better security, as it is a tool used by your team. Therefore in the matter of security, custom software is much more reliable.
- Cost-effective in the long run
One of the main reasons many companies do not opt for custom software is that it can be costly to build. While that is true, custom software is a necessary investment. You don’t need to pay for additional hardware, acquire licenses or pay for premium features. If you can avoid these expenses for an extra price for the development of custom software, it is wise to do so.
- Compatible with other programs
Your organization is probably running on several other programs. You can integrate your custom software with these applications to boost productivity. Custom software will allow you compatible interfaces and functionalities. It can fit in with any business’s software ecosystem since it is made by considering everything. This is difficult to obtain with off-the-shelf software.
- Timely technical support and maintenance
No matter how good an application is, you will face an error/bug someday. When this happens, you must have assistance. If you cannot reach a customer service agent that can solve your problem, it costs your company a lot.
With custom software development, customer service and technical assistance are readily available. You will always find a dedicated team of professionals who made the application or at least know it better than others. They will provide timely help, update, modification, and maintenance whenever you require. Efficiency is key.
- Easy to operate
Custom software is not bulky. They only contain the features and functionalities that you require. So, it is easy to operate. This boosts productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Opposed to this, off-the-shelf software may have many functionalities, some you never/no longer need. This only creates distraction and redundancy.
- More control on the development process
Finally, you have more say in the development process of your software product. You can add, remove, or modify as you wish. You can agree with your development company to adjust the budget or time restraints. You can pick the technology stack or frameworks.
Your ideas are crucial in the development process. You are always involved; from the stages of prototyping to user testing, deployment and updates. This makes the end product even better and promising.
Custom software is tailored to meet your unique needs and solve your problems. A generalized software with redundant features will only set you back in work. In terms of efficiency, investment, security, and reliability, custom software takes the lead by a huge gap. With that being said, picking between off-the-shelf software and custom software is an important matter. The type and size of your organization determine which is better for you. Also, keep in mind, the option you choose at one point may no longer be compatible with you at another point in time. So picking between customized and off-the-shelf software, you need to do your own research, consult with experts, your team, as well as a potential technical partner.