Many businesses need specific software solutions to successfully deliver services to their customers. Custom software development creates applications specially designed to meet the specific requirements of these organizations and users. For example, the banking industry uses highly specialized custom software to provide easy access for customers, while protecting sensitive data with high-end security features.
Let’s take a quick look at the differences between customized and off-the-shelf software. Then we’ll discuss other benefits that custom software provides to every industry and organization.
Custom software development is the process of designing, developing, deploying and maintaining software per the demands of specific businesses, business functions or users. While leveraging pretty much the same SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) as off-the-shelf software, custom software development focuses on a narrowly defined set of requirements for a specific set of users. Off-the-shelf software, on the other hand, meets the general needs of businesses – Microsoft Office for office productivity and Sitebuilder.com for website creation, for example.
Customized software enables businesses to provide unique solutions to their customers. However, do all unique solutions require custom software?
Many off-the-shelf software solutions include APIs for customizations or integrating with other applications. In this way, certain business applications can appear unique, even while being powered by common applications.
If you want to develop software for your business but aren’t sure whether customized or off-the-shelf software is the answer, you’ll need to be clear on the benefits you’re looking to reap and the cost you’re willing to pay. Fortunately, there’s enough information below to help you decide which one you should go with.
|Custom Software||Off-The-Shelf Software|
|Meet the customized needs of users||Suitable for a mass audience|
|Flexible but labor intensive and potentially costly||Less flexible but predictable costs|
|Only includes necessary functions||Feature rich but with many unused or unnecessary functions|
|Company retains all ownership and therefore maintenance and upgrades scheduling||Your company is at the mercy of the publishers’ maintenance and upgrade schedule (and app lifecycle)|
Understanding the benefits of custom software development for both businesses and customers will help you make the right decisions for you and your business.
The biggest reason for developing custom software is your company wants to own the solution. Businesses can operate the software functions, data, developing methodologies, etc. With customized software, businesses can make changes anytime they want, add important information and implement feedback from customers. Creating an interactive relationship improves the credibility and stickiness of your business with customers.
Every customer or user wants to feel their interaction with a business is personal. Feeling like you’re being treated as an individual is a significant factor in customer satisfaction. When a company provides more personalized solutions, the company adds value to the business / customer relationship. Such added value generates customer loyalty and extends customer retention.
Mckinsey statistics say that 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized solutions, and 76% get frustrated when businesses don’t. Knowing the impact of a personalized user experience, the development of custom software is really important for customer satisfaction.
Off-the-shelf software is generally easier to hack, because most use open-source code. Hackers and attackers are already aware of the vulnerabilities of such software, whereas custom-developed software is a closed source project and is only used by your team. Hence, the chances of intrusions are minimized.
With developers on staff or retained, integrating custom software with your existing business software should be easy. Moreover, custom software can implement existing processes without having to conform to the limitations of an arbitrary API.
Businesses can make changes anytime to customized software as per the needs of the business. And if you’re smart, scalability will be one feature flagged as necessary in your initial project scope. Off-the-shelf applications, on the other hand, cannot be manipulated at will. And if you do change anything, you’ll likely violate your licensing agreement with your off-the-shelf software providers, making it impossible to continue maintenance and usability of the application.
Application reliability is key for all businesses. Using a custom solution is more secure and reliable, because you own all the rights and dictate how it is modified and maintained. Custom software developers normally use the highest quality tools and industry-leading security standards, because the end application reflects on them personally. As such, you can alway rely on top performance and reliability.
Tip: In addition to commissioning custom software, some owners design mobile apps for their businesses to help customers shop and stay on top of company events.
Here are a few stats that every business should consider when choosing between custom software development and off-the-shelf software purchases.
1. Custom software development requires quality developers, effort and time, making planning for your business needs highly important
2. As noted earlier, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized solutions, and 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen
3. Around 17.7% of companies expressed that continuous performance and load testing management is one of the major challenges faced by the development team
4. The average custom software development project takes between 4 and 12 months to complete, depending on complexity
5. And according to Goodfirms:
You know your customer’s needs better than others, and the customer is everything to your business. Identify target customer trends, and develop application software that addresses those trends whenever possible. More personalized customer experiences generate higher customer satisfaction for your business. Whenever your budget and business can afford it, take advantage of custom software development to better engage with your customers and generate greater loyalty.