What is custom software development?

Almost every industry is heading towards personalization as the most valuable element in a product or service. Technology is no exception: customized solutions can be more efficient and flexible for your needs, which will benefit your business in the long run. This is why you may want to know about custom software possibilities and benefits.

Custom software development is the process of designing, creating, deploying, and maintaining software for a specific group of users or organizations.

Unlike commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS), custom software development is created to comply with a precise set of requirements. By contrast, COTS target a broad set of requirements, allowing them to be packaged, commercially marketed and distributed massively.

Microsoft Office and the Adobe Suite are examples of packaged commercial software products and services. They meet the everyday needs of office productivity and content edition.

Meanwhile, custom software is designed for specific needs, such as:

  • An online banking app created for the unique requirements of a bank and its customers.
  • A registration software was developed for an amusement park to record customers’ entries and exits.
  • Software to track machinery maintenance needs in a specific factory.

Custom software is also known as bespoke software and is usually created by in-house development teams or outsourced to a third party. Also, they are generally not available to re-sale or distribute to other organizations.

Custom software is also known as bespoke software. This name is derived from old English and is related to the tailoring trade.

Creating custom software is a long process, just as any other software development project, and it requires the same steps: requirements gathering, code construction, testing, and deployment. Although the methodologies can be similar, there are usually unique strategies to application customization, modernization, and management in custom software development.

Let’s talk a bit about these terms:

  • Application modernization: this is the practice of taking existing technology and upgrading or updating it to modern standards.
  • Application customization: in custom software development, this is modifying COTS applications towards new individual needs.
  • Application management is done to optimize tasks such as installing, updating, and other desk functions related to software maintenance.

Why choose custom software?

There are plenty of reasons to go for custom software, and maybe the only downside is its investment: it can get expensive to hire a third party or an in-house team to develop your solution. The other possible inconvenience is that it can take considerably more time to be ready, while most COTS can be installed in hours.

Besides price and time, custom software solutions are the best way to apply technology to your business. Here are some advantages to custom software development:

1. Targeted solutions

Maybe the most relevant reason to invest in custom software solutions is to develop a product that solves your exact needs. Many businesses choose an off-the-shelf software option and then realize that it is not what they were looking for in the first place. And then they end up opting for a custom product.

All businesses are unique, and it is tough to find a generic software solution. So instead, bespoke products support your own needs and give you space to grow.

2. Better scalability

When your business grows, your needs grow, too; and maybe new needs arise. This is why a COTS tends to become a problem when they cannot aid your business or become too expensive to license.

Off-the-shelf solutions can be enough for small companies in their startup phase. However, in the first phases of the business cycle, the focus must be on making the company viable.

But as they advance, usually businesses must change or scale their solutions. You have this front covered if you start with a custom solution because they grow and scale your business process in all its stages. If you can afford it, it’s worth it.

3. Software integration

With custom software development, you can easily integrate your new software with existing software to refine business processes. However, when you do this process with COTS software, there are high chances of errors, which lead to a loss in productivity. Custom software mitigates the possibilities of integration issues.

4. Hardware costs

Most off-the-shelf software solutions require new or additional hardware for it to run efficiently. Unfortunately, this can sometimes mean a high extra cost.

Meanwhile, with tailor-made software, current hardware capabilities are taken into consideration when developing the solution. This helps you save money and avoid extra costs.

5. Increased reliability

When you purchase off-the-shelf software, you become dependent on the company that has developed it. Almost every essential element, like terms, conditions and pricing, is out of your hands.

For example, if that company suddenly stops updating the product you bought, you will need to run and get a new provider or product.

With custom software, you can use the product for as long as you like, and the way you decide is best for your business. Sure, you will need to invest in some maintenance costs. But overall, it’s a lot of fewer worries along the way.

5. Increased reliability

When you purchase off-the-shelf software, you become dependent on the company that has developed it. Almost every essential element, like terms, conditions and pricing, is out of your hands.

For example, if that company suddenly stops updating the product you bought, you will need to run and get a new provider or product.

With custom software, you can use the product for as long as you like, and the way you decide is best for your business. Sure, you will need to invest in some maintenance costs. But overall, it’s a lot of fewer worries along the way.

How much does custom software cost?

Usually, custom software development costs are between 40,000 to 150,0000 USD. However, this range can vary depending on multiple elements that contribute to custom software development costs. These are some of them:

1. Software size:

The more screens or pages you have, the more work that needs to be done to build your application or product, and therefore, the more expensive it will be. Small applications have 10 to 25 screens on average, medium sizes are between 25-40 pages, and large sizes have more than 40.

2. Software complexity

Complicated logic means more time coding, testing, and deploying. If your custom software application requires a significant amount of analysis, scoring, or crunching, your application probably has some complexity that demands some extra work.

3. Creative design

In the creative design phase of custom software development, you must choose different elements like fonts and color palettes. So, naturally, the more luxurious and fancy your needs, the more expensive your costs.

4. Integration with other systems

If you need to integrate the new software with external software, developers will have to work more to engage both systems.

5. Migration of existing data

If you have essential data in an existing system that needs to go into your new application, you will require a process called migration. Migration will take data out of your old system and reshape it to fit into the new software.

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