The software solutions a business employs can play a significant role in its success. Using clunky and cheaper applications can be frustrating for your employees and users. It can also take up more time and effort. Such a system can result in lower levels of productivity. This is why you should be careful and attentive while selecting or developing custom software solutions used by your company.
There are many COTS - commercial off-the-shelf software that is available for a wide variety of uses. They tend to cover general needs that an organization might have. An example of such commercial software is Microsoft Office. Such software solutions are created for generic purposes and a larger target audience. While they are cost-effective and useful, they aren't perfect for your needs.
Every business has its requirements, and off-the-shelf software solutions might not meet them. You can turn to custom software development to ensure that you have the right applications. Let's look at custom software development in more detail.
What is custom software development?
Custom software development involves planning, building, distributing, and developing software, particularly for a set of customers, tasks, or companies. Such custom software development, unlike off-the-shelf software, tries to meet particular requirements. Since COTS deals with many sectors, such software can be manufactured on a larger scale.
At the same time, creating custom software can meet a particular set of requirements. For example, a banking platform was created specifically to meet the bank's and its clients' needs. Such a platform would have to be highly specialized according to the services and schemes offered by that particular bank. Commercially available software may not be enough for this. In such situations, creating custom software is necessary. Custom software is also known as Bespoke software.
A company's development team or external contractors often handle creating custom software. Custom software development follows the same procedures and methodology as other software development procedures. This includes collecting information, writing code, testing it, and deploying it. It would also use the same approaches, such as the Agile software development strategy or Rapid Application Development.
Some terms often associated with creating custom software development are app customization, app modernization, and app management. Application customization is the development process of altering commercial off-the-shelf software to accommodate unique needs. The profitability of a company's custom software development depends on app modernization to satisfy changing customer and market expectations. By supporting operations, including deployment, upgrading, efficiency and reliability improvement, and service desk duties, app management increases the effectiveness of the software.
What is the difference between custom software and off-the-shelf software?
As the name suggests, off-the-shelf software is created on a larger scale and meant for more people. They deal with issues that might be faced by many. Because of its mass-produced nature, it might not be tailored to your needs specifically. For almost any technical, economic, business, and networking need imaginable, and packaged software programs are provided.
Some of the main features of commercial software development are:
- Simple to use
Pre-made software caters to broad audiences with essentially identical requirements. For instance, firms of various sizes and types can utilize Microsoft Word, a widely used word program with capabilities, functionality, and personalization possibilities. Since they are made for many people, they are built with ease of use in mind. They will also tend to be more popular, so many others can help you with such software in case you have doubts.
- Easy interface for downloading or buying
Off-the-shelf software is sometimes available from company web pages or offered as a cloud service, but it can also be bundled and bought at a store. Many of them can be accessed sitting at home itself.
- Widely available
There are software packages available off-the-shelf for every platform your company utilizes. They will generally be compatible with most operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, and Linux systems. When creating custom software, you should be careful and take into account the operating system you use.
Well-known commercial software programs, like Microsoft Office apps, provide some level of customization to improve the program's efficiency for your company. You can customize an existing solution if you don't want to build custom software. This is applicable if there exists COTS that fits some of the criteria you want.
Commercial software development has many perks if an existing system fits your need. But none of these apply if the requirements you have are not satisfied by them. Despite the wide range of commercial software available, certain companies need specialized features that commercial software development can't offer. If so, they might use the construction of customized software.
Off-the-shelf software does have some issues as well. For example, they are far more difficult to integrate into your system. They can also cause problems if you want to scale up or down later. Since they are built for a specific size, you might only need some of their capabilities. Even if you don't need the software, it can be a good use of your budget.
What are the pros and cons of custom software development?
There are many advantages that custom software development services can give you. Some of them are:
With no need to modify or customize COTS programs, custom software applications are specifically designed to assist development processes quickly and economically.
Customized software could expand as a company or industry develops and expands. Software developers and designers can evaluate future demands along with the requirements-gathering development process. Instead of spending money on separate permits or memberships for bundled apps, these elements can be integrated into the program.
Lower integration costs
Compatibility with previous systems is a crucial factor when purchasing commercial software. Suppose the commercial software is not compatible with your app. In that case, businesses will need to invest more money in purchasing software that will work with their current infrastructure and connect with it. Custom software applications could be created to integrate with the environment it is meant for.
Any company and piece of software must prioritize security since no one wants a vulnerable program. Custom software applications can lower potential risks by enabling you to include as many security features as you wish. You are not required to rely on any off-the-shelf device's limited security mechanisms.
Freedom to control and use
Companies have full control over the custom software application thanks to the flexibility that creating custom software gives them to utilize and upgrade the program. A custom software solution can greatly benefit any company that uses them. However, there are some downsides that businesses should be aware of when it comes to custom software development services. Knowing about them can help you deal with such issues.
Some main problems associated with the custom software development process are:
High development costs
Companies incur significant expenses while building software or a custom software solution, while market forces drive down the price of off-the-shelf software products. The price of a custom software solution often includes the costs of support and updates. However, once deployed, the utility of custom software applications seems to outweigh the expense of construction.
Takes a long time to develop
It takes a long time to design a fully functional piece of custom software for a firm because those demands aren't always as obvious as people might expect. To understand all needs and identify any that are unclear or indirect, a significant amount of time is spent researching and evaluating.
Risk of employing the wrong programmer
Dealing with the wrong individual or software development company is a danger across many sectors, not just custom software development. Both money and time may be wasted if you choose the incorrect software development company. You might choose those who offer subpar or amateurish custom software development services, as there are many such firms to choose from in the industry. So, taking your time while selecting a software development company is advised. More time spent researching can help you avoid losses in the future.
You can choose the right path for you by understanding the pros and cons of custom software development services. Being aware of the disadvantages can help you take proper measures to deal with them as well.
What is the process for developing custom software?
Many different software development models are available, such as the Waterfall, Agile software development, and Spiral models. The agile method is the most well-liked of all three types. Software development methodologies have a unique strategy to guarantee the product is delivered successfully. There are certain phases that every model incorporates, even if the techniques vary.
Collecting preliminary requirements
This is the stage where designers and developers comprehend project requirements, software objectives, software users, and client expectations for the final product's functionality.
Planning and analysis
To ensure that the software can satisfy every client request, a comprehensive investigation must be performed.
Technical and visual design
Developing a system design is essential for every endeavor since every software solution demands a unique strategy.
Here, software developers begin coding the software while adhering to the visual and technical design.
To find and repair any errors, testing is typically done once the software has been developed and is ready for release.
Deployment and upkeep
The last step is to deploy the software. However, it doesn't end there. Frequent maintenance and updates will be needed to keep the software in shape.
How much does custom software development cost?
The custom software development process might cost anything from $120,000 to $220,000. This amount is not residual since custom software development costs are increasing globally. However, the price methodology determines the precise cost of producing your software. These are what the common pricing models are based on:
- Complications of the problem
The number of entities, operations, users, program size, and how they communicate inside the program make up the software complexity. The sophistication of your platform depends on how well it works. The UI/UX architecture also has an impact on difficulty. The more elements in the interface, the more complicated it is. For example, if you incorporate additional elements like a map or payment options, the overall complexity and price will increase.
- Your team location
The place where you are located plays a big role in pricing. Another factor that affects the cost of custom software development is whether or not you hire software developers remotely or not. For example, if you are open to hiring from all over the world, you will be exposed to more talent, and the price may also come down. However, you will have to deal with communication issues and ensure the software engineers know exactly what is needed.
- Development team type
The kind of development team you have plays an important role in deciding the price. Generally, freelance developers are the cheapest, while an entire in-house development team is the costliest. An in-house development team will understand your needs exactly and can provide you with the best solution, but this is often very expensive. Outsourcing or hiring a local development team might be better if you want to get quality products but for a reduced price.
What factors impact the cost of custom software development?
Different software development projects will have different costs since the complexity and technology needed will differ. Generally, these are some of the main factors that affect the cost of custom software development:
Some software development processes will only need simple tech stacks, while others will need a much more complicated one. The programming languages needed will also alter. Similarly, the level of expertise, the development tools, as well as the licenses needed to build custom software all contribute to the overall cost of custom software development. Based on the level of complexity, the cost will increase. Any software development process can either be basic, average, or difficult in complexity. As the number of features and functionality increases, the level of complexity also gets raised.
- The team you work with
As mentioned above, the more experienced you want your software developers to be, the more they will cost. A senior engineer or software architect will cost you much more, while at the same time, a middle-level developer or intern might be more affordable. The more experience a developer has, the more programming languages they'll know, and the better their work will be.
You might not include the marketing costs and the initial cost to develop a custom software solution. However, if you want a good amount of people to use your product or service, you will need to market it. This can cost up to twice or even thrice the cost of custom software development. The cost will vary depending on your marketing technique, from social media marketing to on-site and off-site SEO practices.
Your software will need maintenance throughout its lifecycle. This includes costs for updates, maintaining the host, technical support, and more. If you have very particular and specialized functionality, you can also expect the maintenance cost to increase. Generally, maintenance is also expected to cost double the cost of software development.
Custom software development by no-code
Technological advances and new frameworks have greatly altered programming by simplifying software developers' duties. The no-code approach is one such technique that is gaining more momentum by the day. With digital transformation and no-code platforms like AppMaster, anyone can develop custom software more quickly and without going through a difficult learning curve and programming languages.
The world of custom software development is rapidly changing. No-code platforms are making it easier than ever for business owners and entrepreneurs to create custom applications without needing any coding experience. These platforms allow you to drag-and-drop components to create your app, with no programming required. This makes it a great option for businesses that need a custom application but doesn’t have the time or resources to hire a developer.
AppMaster is the best option for custom software development. We offer a wide range of features that make it easy to create your own application. Our drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to create complex applications without any coding experience. Plus, we have a wide range of components that you can use to create your app. We also offer a variety of support options to help you get started. Whether you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, AppMaster makes it easy to create custom applications without any coding experience.
As more and more companies are being formed every day, the needs of each of them cannot be met with existing software alone. Custom software development meets the needs of specialized companies. With custom software, you don't need to worry even if your internal systems are complicated, as such solutions will take care of it. Custom software development allows you to create the best products and services. Your employees will be happier and more satisfied as well. All of this translates into more customers and better productivity.
Custom software development need not be unnecessarily expensive. You can consider using both existing systems and certain custom software to maximize productivity. The most important thing is to have a clear goal regarding what you need and to ensure a good environment to work for your employees.