The software development market as we know it today is the most advanced it’s ever been. More specifically, custom software development lacked the competitive edge. It was not seen as an asset. Even in the 2000s, custom software development was an enormous project for companies and developers. The lack of technology libraries and frameworks resulted in rigid, less flexible, and dull, but costly applications.
Today, companies have the liberty to develop any kind of application based on the desired technology stack, skill-sets, expertise, and development methods. There is intense competition in the marketplace and the trends change day and night. Companies need to stay relevant on the market and always have a one-up from their competitors. The solution is to deliver a friendly interface for customers and meet all of their needs, as well as to boost motivation among company staff and increase the productivity of the workflow. The custom software application is the aid to this.
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. Think of it as a tailor-made suit made specifically with your measurements and needs.
As opposed to commercial on-the-shelf (COTS) software designed to aid the general public, CSD meets all demands of a company. Applications made in such a way are robust, detail-oriented, and more functional.
An example of COTS is the Mircosoft Office Package. It contains multiple features that meet the general requirements of millions of organizations or individuals in the world. If your company wants to manage specific workflows and needs features that cater to the desired task, you need software custom-made for you. 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.
CSD vs COTS:
Let’s look at some differences between custom software and commercial software.
|Custom Software Development||Commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS)|
|Custom software is designed to meet the customized needs of one individual or company.||Commercial software caters to a larger, general public and hence may not fit all needs of an individual or company.|
|Custom software development is a costlier process since it only aids one organization.||COTS has a lower cost as it is shared between multiple individuals and organizations.|
|Custom software focuses on the client’s minute design details.||Commercial software cannot be modified to consider the minute details of a client.|
|It is easier to scale a custom software application; clients can add features and functions as per their budget within a set timeline.||Off-the-shelf software cannot be customized and hence it is difficult to scale the application and its development process.|
|Clients can build and add custom security to protect their applications and data.||It is up to the vendors or distributors to secure the application and data.|
|As a client, you can ask for timely maintenance, updates, or changes as per your needs.||Again, it is up to the distributors to maintain, update, and change the application.|
|Clients can choose technology stacks and frameworks.||The choice of technology and frameworks in the application development is up to the creators.|
|CSD ensures a customer-centric design that satisfies customer needs in all aspects.||With commercial software, you may not be able to fulfil the needs of your customers, so it is not customer-centric.|
What do custom software development companies do?
As the name suggests, software development companies specialize in making software solutions for your business or organization. You don’t always need to outsource application development to other companies, but it certainly has its perks.
These software development companies excel in developing unique and high-performing applications. First of all, they have access to the latest technology stacks and frameworks. They provide an exclusive set of resources. You don’t need to go through the hassle of hiring new employees and training them to understand your values and demands.
Next, software development companies have expertise in a multitude of fields like healthcare, education, finance, banking, etc. They can adapt to the best industry practices and also know a great deal about the marketplace. This gives you a headstart in intense competition with your counterparts.
You can also more or less adjust the cost and the timeline of the development process. These companies offer flexible plans and resources so that you can scale the application to a great extent.
Software development companies have an expert perspective on the marketplace and customer needs. They can design a robust product that considers all your demands and challenges to the core detail.
Custom Software Development Process:
Regardless of which method of development you use, a software development lifecycle, SDLC, looks the same.
Planning is the most fundamental step in the software development process. It requires thorough research on the market and the target demographic. The client, the customer service department, sales department, developers, and designers should all have input in the planning process. Even better yet, market experts in the required domain should be consulted too.
Planning helps to identify any risks associated with the project, the feasible budget, and the overall outcome.
- Requirement specification
The next step would be to clearly define and document the requirements from the end product and get them approved by the client. This process is called software requirement specification (SRS).
Taking the SRS as the reference, designers propose multiple approaches to product design and architecture. This design is reviewed and approved by all important stakeholders. One design approach is selected for the product based on various parameters like risk assessment, functionality, efficiency, budget requirement, and product robustness.
The actual development starts at this stage. Developers program the product as per the selected prototype. They need to follow the guidelines provided by the clients and the company. Small, functional modules are developed and integrated to build a large application.
- Testing and iteration
Testing is involved in all stages of the SDLC as per the business strategy. Once the test application is made, the project team checks if it meets the client’s requirements. The product should also give a quality user/customer experience.
If any security or design loophole is found, it can be fixed. So, testing ensures the final product is bug and error-free.
After the required product is made and tested, the management team must deploy this bespoke application to the clients. The product may be released in limited segments to test in a real market environment or as a whole.
The development process doesn’t end here. Based on the feedback from clients and their customers, the application needs to be constantly maintained and improved. This gives the company a competitive advantage because customers will only come back if they had a good experience of interacting with a company across various interfaces.
Custom software development is beneficial to the outsourced companies, the organization for which the application is being built, and their customers. Custom software provides many advantages that commercial software cannot. They are tailored to meet the requirements and solve the challenges of one company or individual. This makes custom software more functional, efficient, and cost-effective. Building software for a company doesn’t have to be in-house. Many software development companies provide the best resources and expert market guidelines to give you a promising product.