Custom Software Development: Decide if it’s Right for You

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Custom software development might sound a bit daunting. And the price tag can cause sticker shock. But the right project done the right way can increase productivity for your employees and sales from your customers. 

The goal of custom software development is removing redundancies and logjams in your commercial-off-the-shelf software (COTS) software systems. Let’s take a closer look at when you may need to have custom software developed, the pros, the cons, and some real-world examples.

What is Custom Software Development?

Think of it as custom-made software development. Like a jacket tailored specifically for you. Bespoke and seamless – but in the form of software. Whatever your COTS does, custom does it more efficiently and is more user-friendly for both your employees and your customers. 

When Do You Need Custom Software Development Services?

You need custom software when:

  • You are losing time (on the employee side) or sales (on the user side) because of clunky COTS
  • Your current COTS software solutions aren’t combining easily (bugs, redundancies, issues with usability)
  • Your business has specific, uncommon requirements and needs that aren’t covered by COTS
  • You have (and pay for) so many COTS that developing custom software is more cost-effective in the long run

Custom Software Development Examples

Some projects lend themselves to custom software more than others. Custom software development companies can handle almost any project but here’s a list of common bespoke software categories.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

When HubSpot and Zoho don’t cut it anymore, improve your online analytical processing (OLAP), forecasting, data mining, and reports with customized CRM. Ask your employees for a list of hiccups and hardships they encounter daily using your COTS systems so you can solve it for them with custom software development.

Business Process Automation (BPA)

From buying inventory to contract approvals to new hire paperwork, you have thousands of business processes. Automate it and complete that paperwork in seconds. Instead of employees pushing paper, you can free their time to work on big-picture, future-facing projects that can help your business grow.

Point of Sale (POS) Software

Manual entries and syncing between inventory software and web portals can be a nightmare. Mobile, cloud-hosted, or terminal POS systems are all available depending on your business needs. With growing payment methods and an increased need for security, this is a popular custom software area.

Customer Interactions (Banking, Streaming, Online Services)

Providing easy, fast, and customized service online is difficult with a one-size-fits-all COTS. This industry changes constantly and custom software development might be the only way to keep up with changing industry demands and hardware updates.

Mobile Service Industry (Delivery, Gig, Remote Service)

Think of Uber and TaskRabbit. You need a clean point-of-sale system for your clients but you also need a secure and accurate back-end system for your employees and contractors. Tracking inventory, live-delivery updates, and traffic times all in one place is invaluable.

Pros of Custom Software Development

Efficiency

Whether you’re improving the software for your employees or your customers, something that’s built for your business will always be easier to use than something duct-taped together from COTS. On the backend, you could combine invoicing with inventory and your customer relationship management (CRM). Imagine one click instead of opening 3 programs and hoping for a successful sync.

One-of-a-Kind Experience

Your business is unique, your client experience should be too. With tailor-made software, your brand’s personality can shine through and make you even more memorable. Your employees work hard to make your business successful. If they have software complaints, you can solve them.

Cost Over Time

Instead of paying for subscriptions and licensing fees, you only pay for maintenance and security features. If you need changes, that can be negotiated with your developers. Over years, custom software can be more adaptable and more cost-efficient.

Custom Software Development: What Do You Need to Have in Mind?

Upfront Cost

Custom software can be expensive in terms of time/effort (if you try to develop in-house) or dollars and cents (if you outsource). Be prepared for extensive project planning and possible custom software development company vetting. The more you do of those two, the higher your chances of wild success.

Security Issues

Any time you allow access to your proprietary ideas or your internal systems, you need to make sure you’re covered. Get your legal in place and vet the IT security of everyone you’re working with on the project.

Better user experience, faster interactions, and fewer headaches mean more customers, higher profits, and a happier you. Software is supposed to make our lives easier, not more complicated. So if you’ve started to feel held back by your software solutions, consider taking the next step: custom software development services. If you find the right software development company, the benefits far outweigh the costs. And, if you want to get ahead of your competition, sooner is better than later.

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