When it comes to developing software for a business, commercial off-the-shelf software, COTS, seldom meets the specific requirements of that particular business and calls for custom software development.
The packaged commercial software products like Microsoft Office, for example, address the most common, generalized needs of the user which may not suit the specific needs of a business. Hence, they seek the services of a custom software development company.
Various software product development firms offer various software development services that meet all the needs of a particular business. These firms offer software development solutions that are custom-made with unique features and functionality specifically made for their clients.
What does custom software development mean?
Every business, however similar they appear, is unique, cannot be generalized, and often demands customized solutions. When a business’s needs are not met with a traditional COTS, a need for custom software development arises and businesses employ the software development services of a firm specializing in providing customized software development solutions for that particular business.
In simple terms, can be defined as analyzing, designing, building, deploying, and maintaining software for addressing the specific needs of a business entity that cannot be addressed by commercial off-the-shelf software.
When is custom software development needed?
When a business is being transformed digitally, there are a lot of complex processes that need to be carefully streamlined to get the digital transformation shift done smoothly. These processes often demand specific functions and features that should be tailor-made for the business which is not found in COTS. In such a case, employing a custom software development company for your specific software product development needs can help make a business’s digital transformation successful.
It is also needed if a specific process or process of your business needs to be computerized that should blend in with all other processes. In cases like these, the commercially bought software couldn’t be used and calls for custom software development.
Custom software is needed because it helps meet specific, special, and unique requirements of a business a commercial software cannot meet.
Pros of custom software development
When you use custom software for your software product development, many benefits outweigh the cons it has. Let’s see the benefits first
Since the custom-designed software is written keeping in mind various factors like user experience UX, compatibility with various other devices and systems, and ease of use which the traditional COTS cannot offer the efficiency of the software would be superior. Moreover, as the custom software solution services are aimed at supporting specific processes, they are supposed to be more efficient than their counterparts which are designed keeping in mind more generic processes.
In today’s business world, a software system needs to integrate with any system out there. If a store-bought software cannot communicate seamlessly with other software systems needed to integrate, a business has to spend extra on purchasing another software for integration purposes.
A custom software development company will not only make sure that the designed system works not only with the legacy systems the client has but also with any other outside systems. This seamless integration is only possible with custom software.
When software is designed by a custom software development company, apart from accommodating the current requirements, it also assesses the future requirements of the business and incorporates the same into the software being designed. As the business expands, the new features and functionalities can be added effortlessly without shelling out extra money for additional licenses and subscriptions as is the case with COTS.
While you have to wait for an upgrade to happen on a COTS either for a bothersome glitch or for a requirement that isn’t present in the current version, with custom software solution services it is very easy to address these issues.
Off-the-shelf software products offer restricted security and are a deterrent to consider. With customized software, you can add more security features and need not worry about your software being compromised by outside threats.
Cons of the custom software development
There are a few hiccups while considering custom software for your business. While large businesses have a relative advantage of having an in-house team that caters to software development solutions that are custom-made, medium to small businesses has to be careful when opting for custom-made software development services. The best way to decide is if a ready-made software solution is available in the market that can deliver 80% of your needs, you better go for it rather than spending a bomb on in-house development. Let’s see some of the major cons of custom software.
Custom software development is a time-consuming process as it should cover all the processes of a business and the software development services team spend a lot of time studying and analyzing the nitty-gritties of the business before the actual coding and deployment. Even after deploying the software, there may be other factors like bug fixing and the addition of new features that take more time to streamline the final product.
The cost of developing custom software for a business is directly proportional to the size of the business. The bigger the business, the bigger the cost of custom software. Large businesses have complex processes and designing software and maintaining the same would require significant financial resources. Moreover, if you are having an in-house software development services team, you need to cater to their needs such as space, infra, and of course, their salaries! All this can become a huge burden unless the final product compensates with the intended functionality for which it was made.
The best option is if you are a small to medium business and can find a COTS which can fulfill most of your business needs, better to go for it!
Choosing the wrong vendor for custom software solution services can potentially risk your business as it can consume all your time, money, and resources. Businesses often make the mistake of choosing low-quality software development services and once they are on board, the damage is already done by the time you realize it is a wrong choice. Hence it is very important to choose a suitable vendor who thoroughly understands your business needs and has experience in a similar field.
The custom software development process
There are several software development models to choose from for developing custom software. Each has its specific approach but of all the models, the agile model is considered the best.
There are some stages that are common to all the software models.
- The initial stage is planning where the initial requirements are identified, and a blueprint is designed on how to approach the said requirements.
- Then comes the coding stage where the entire project, after identifying all the requirements, the project will be coded using a suitable software language.
- The third stage would be testing where the readied software would be tested for bugs and other errors.
- Once the product is tested and free of bugs and errors, the next stage would be the deployment of the software.
- The last stage of the custom software development process would be maintenance where a team of software professionals would monitor the software for any changes, improvements, and health.
DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development with the operations team and is complimentary to the agile model.
This DevOps approach for custom software development would considerably lessen the software development life cycle and is also helpful in continuous integration and continuous deployment – the two necessary factors for today’s business software.
Our software product development services include a full range of custom software development services to help you in various stages of product development. We provide end-to-end consulting, business analysis, and technology design and development.