Here’s what you need to know
What is Custom Software?
Businesses need and are always in search of solutions for their businesses; for daily business operations, for customer service, or for business development and so on. These needs are the reasons why developers create applications for businesses in general, or why businesses commission business apps. The Itransition team looked into the best custom software decisions a business should consider, by looking at the pros and cons of the software.
Custom software is basically applications designed in a particular way to meet the needs and give a variety of solutions to the end user. There are two types of custom solutions for a business:
Fully custom software is an application designed specifically for a particular business that cannot be used at all or effectively by any other entity.
Off-the-shelf custom software is a software solution developed for a specific market niche, but targeted to many or all within the niche. As much as it can be used by many, it still qualifies as custom because of it is developed for a niche, not everyone.
There are many things considered in the development of custom software to meet functionality and business needs including things like a business’ budget, ROI, client needs, etc. Software must meet the needs of the business or the client to be considered worthwhile and in addition, to get the right software, businesses and developers should understand the business’ needs and make sure the solution developed is a good match.
These are some of the things you may want to consider for custom software:
- Can it be continuously updated internally after purchase or development for effective content management?
- Can it be devolved and customized further for branches to meet the needs of different geographic, demographic, and markets segments where a business operates?
Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of custom software
Advantages of custom software:
Give specific solutions to needs
Since every business has specific needs, custom software answers the main question for their creation which is to offer specific solutions to specific needs. Even off the shelf custom applications allow users to adapt desired practices to how the application works. This improves productivity since it can be tweaked to the specific needs and give a competitive advantage.
Freedom of use and control
After giving specific solutions, the custom software gives businesses the freedom to use and modify the application to meet needs and allows total control of the software as well. Of course, the total custom software will offer this advantage from the outset but off the shelf, custom software will also allow for further personalization to meet specific needs.
Security is at the heart of business and software success, especially for online businesses; you do not want an application that will be easily compromised from inside or outside. Custom software reduces these security risks, reducing security-related costs by letting you worry about fewer specific and targeted attacks. You may have extra security measures in your software to ensure safety.
Custom software is made for and allows easy integration with already existing and in use programs and other software in your business. You can have developers design for seamless integration with fully customized software, while off the shelf applications are already made with allowance for seamless integration for uninterrupted and easy adoption. Easy integration translates to easier adoption and acceptance of the tool within the business for improved productivity.
Software support and update
Unlike outright mass market applications which depend on the developer for most support aspects and for software updates, custom apps are way easier to handle because this function is within your purview. The business will not be dependent on the software provider for updates or support; you will be in charge of improvements and updates. You can have an in-house team to handle support and update functions.
Lower costs on business software
Despite custom software being considered more expensive, in the long run, it can prove to be a wiser investment. Based on the return on investment and other long term considerations, having your own business app is less costly than getting one from the open market. An app from the open market requires investing more money to improve, and in the end, may never meet your business needs as well as a customized app can. Costs are further contained since you are able to identify andincorporate all your specific needs into the software at creation.
Disadvantages of custom software:
Initial high cost of development
However, you look at it, the initial cost of acquiring custom software is often high for most businesses; while the prices of off-the-shelf applications are leveraged and lowered by market forces, a fully customized app can be quite pricey. Added costs for support and maintenance also ramp up the total expenses. Nonetheless, once implemented, a custom app will eventually pay for itself.
Takes time to build
A fully functional and rolled out customised application for business has a legacy of a lot of time behind it; business needs are not always as clear as many would think. A lot of time is spent on research and surveying to be clear on all the needs and identify those that are not quite direct.
Custom software can limit business
Like everything that is specifically tailored, even if you try to include room for it to be accommodative, customisation by virtue of its nature will be restrictive in some respects. This is even more likely with businesses that are still on a long growth trajectory and will likely make more discoveries internally and with outside relationships in the future. New ideas and needs will emerge that may not have been included or given allowance for in the initial development.
Dynamism and constant technological changes
Technology changes every day and may have you getting back to developing or improving your software much earlier than you thought or planned for. This can have you restructuring your budgets or even cause you to lag behind or even lose following, especially for online business where trends and the latest technological tools drive and give a competitive edge.
So, before you embark on purchasing or commissioning custom software, you should consider these pros and cons to fully understand your business needs and get a product that is efficient, effective and malleable enough for the fluid and dynamic market place that we operate in today. For more insights, visit https://www.itransition.com/services/custom_software_development/