Generic enterprise software can seem convenient, but sometimes you need a solution that’s specific to your organization's needs. That’s where custom software development services can help. Tailored software solutions can boost productivity at your organization and reduce many of the maintenance and integration costs that often come with generic software.
What Is Custom Software Development?
Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software is designed to meet the generalized needs of a large group. For example, Microsoft Office products like Word or Excel are COTS software because they are intended to facilitate business productivity in general and are not designed with one particular business's (or even one particular industry's) needs in mind. In contrast, custom software developers collaborate with businesses to create targeted software solutions that meet their specific needs. These personalized software solutions are built to address an organization’s unique pain points and provide specialized solutions. Custom software is sometimes built by a team of in-house developers, but it can also be outsourced to a third-party software development company.
What Are the Benefits of Custom Software Development?
There are numerous advantages to using custom software. Even though custom software development might seem like a complicated or arduous task to complete, it is usually well worth it in the end. Here are a few of the benefits your organization could gain by implementing custom software:
Even the best software solutions are next to useless if they are difficult to integrate. COTS software can sometimes be a headache to implement because it is not guaranteed to be compatible with your organization’s infrastructure right out of the box. You may need to invest in upgrades to your current system before you can use commercial software.
On the other hand, one of the most noteworthy benefits of custom software development is that the software is intentionally designed to integrate seamlessly with your current system. Compatibility can be taken into account at the planning stage and built right into the software’s design—no need for expensive or time-consuming upgrades to ensure compatibility.
Another of the most prominent advantages of adopting custom software solutions is improved productivity. Custom software is built with your organization’s specific workflows in mind in order to maximize efficiency. Employees will always have exactly the tools they need to perform their jobs effectively because the toolset they are using was designed specifically for them. COTS software, on the other hand, is unlikely to offer the unique functionalities that may only be useful to your business because it is designed with a broad audience in mind. If you pursue custom software development, these unique functionalities can not only be included but prioritized.
One of the biggest problems with COTS software is that it usually does not scale with your organization. A company that purchases software that meets all their needs as a small business might find their growth quickly outpacing their software’s capabilities. In this case, the software would need to be upgraded or replaced. However, this is an easily avoidable expense.
If you implement a custom software solution, you can plan for future growth and build scalability into the software from the beginning. Custom software can be designed to meet your organization’s anticipated future needs as well as its current needs, allowing you to save money on software upgrades, license renewals, or other long-term upkeep costs.
Security is an important consideration for any type of software, whether it’s COTS or custom-built. While COTS software applications usually come equipped with the appropriate security measures, they use a one-size-fits-all approach (like all COTS software features) and may not be up-to-par for every organization’s needs. Custom software development makes it possible to create security features structured around your organization's unique security risks. Personalized security measures will not only provide the best protection from fraud or other harmful activity but also help your company maintain a reputable image in the process.
When you use COTS software, support for the software is limited to what the development company can provide. You have no control over factors like pricing alterations, performance updates, and the removal or addition of features. If you encounter a problem with the software, you are totally reliant on the developer to fix them, and if you are unhappy with the direction they take the software, you will have to find new software. This can be expensive and hurt productivity during the transition phase.
By building your own custom software in-house or working closely with a custom software developer, you have complete freedom to decide what changes should be made to the software, and when, and you can address performance issues directly. You’ll likely be able to get more mileage out of a custom software solution because you have the independence to do whatever you want with it.
How to Implement Custom Software
Custom software development requires some effort, but the outcome is usually worth the extra steps, and the process actually isn’t as complex as it might sound at first.
The easiest way to implement custom software is to hire a third-party development company that can collaborate with you to design your software. The journey will likely look something like this:
1. Determine your needs
The very first step of the custom software development process is to identify your organization’s specific needs. Analyze the current workflow and ask yourself what works and what doesn’t, then locate the most substantial pain points and brainstorm ways to eliminate them.
2. Communicate your requirements
Next, you will need to organize your needs into clear and cohesive requirements. These will be shared with the development team to help them understand what your vision for the software is. You will most likely be collaborating closely with the development team at this point as you work together to come up with a plan that both meets your requirements and is viable for the developers to deliver.
The development step is when the developer actually designs and programs your custom software. The developer will usually follow a process that includes several different stages:
- Planning - the developer analyzes the requirements and formulates a basic plan for the software.
- Technical Design - The developer builds a system architecture that is capable of supporting the software’s intended features.
- Development - The developer programs the software.
- Testing - The developer tests the software rigorously and makes adjustments as necessary until the software performs correctly and reliably.
After the developer has completed the project, it will be delivered to you and you can begin the process of implementing it. This is usually a relatively straightforward process since custom software is designed to integrate with your company’s infrastructure.
The final step in the custom software development process is ongoing maintenance throughout the software’s life cycle. Custom software tends to be easier to maintain than COTS software because your in-house team or the developer you work with can make updates and improvements directly, which is more efficient than going through a commercial development company that does not have your company’s interests specifically in mind.
The Advantages of Nearshore Custom Software Development
Hiring a third-party software developer to create and manage your custom software is the best way to take advantage of custom software without going to the trouble of programming it from scratch with your own resources. The only real downside of hiring a third-party developer is that you will obviously need to pay for their services. However, you can offset this drawback considerably by hiring a development company that uses a nearshore model.
Working with a nearshore software company is one of the most reliable methods of implementing custom software at a realistic price. A nearshore software developer can build custom software for your organization at a much lower price point than many other third-party developers.
KNDCODE is a U.S.-based full-cycle software development company that employs an experienced team of developers located in the US and Central America (Guatemala and El Salvador). You can contact KNDCODE today for more information about cost-effective nearshore software services like custom software development, software integration and testing, legacy system maintenance, and more.