Choosing the right software for your business can be a critical decision, and one that ultimately boils down to deciding between a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) solution, or opting for a bespoke application that’s built to suit the particular needs of your company by a professional software development firm.
Creating your own software has numerous benefits that can be highly advantageous for your business. It can be tailored to meet your specific organisational requirements, eliminating any unnecessary features that are not required. Additionally, by building a customised solution, the software becomes your own and can be easily modified to serve your future expansion plans. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this approach does come with both financial and time-related factors which need to be taken into account.
Before deciding to engage a software development company, it’s prudent to carefully examine their previous work to ensure that it aligns with your specific requirements. Successful software delivery is determined by a combination of factors, including functionality, usability, and maintainability, but it’s also important to consider other advantages, such as agility and scalability. At Works, we go above and beyond by measuring and reporting on a range of key performance indicators (KPIs), as illustrated below.
It’s crucial to make certain that your bespoke software is capable of accomplishing the tasks it was created to perform. While the product is still in development, conducting user testing and project meetings can provide an indication of its functionality. However, once the process is complete, it’s imperative to assess the product’s performance against the objectives established at the outset.
A potential instance of a characteristic that was absent in the finished product might be the option to create customised reports, even though the software development company and the client had previously agreed upon this. Instead, the final application only permits users to send generic reports.
Speed and Ease of Use
It is crucial that users can efficiently and effectively accomplish their tasks within the software. This becomes particularly pertinent if the rationale behind enlisting the services of a software development firm to create bespoke software is to tackle inefficiencies within the organisation. It’s important to avoid any added delays that may be caused by the new software.
Furthermore, the user interface (UI) of the application should be user-friendly and easy to navigate. Ideally, it should be simple enough for even children to use without requiring extensive guidance. Buttons and links that don’t lead to the intended destination signify a subpar user interface.
Given that the app’s users may access it on various devices, it’s imperative that the software is optimised for multiple platforms. This implies that the website’s appearance on a desktop computer screen may differ significantly from its appearance on a mobile device. However, responsive design is not just about aesthetics, but also about ensuring that the software is easy to use in various situations. For instance, guaranteeing that a field worker can efficiently input data, while someone in the office can rapidly create reports.
Developing custom software can be expensive, which is why it’s not ideal to have to redevelop it shortly after due to it becoming outdated. Consequently, the software should be able to adapt easily to the evolving needs of your organisation. The more valuable the software is, and the greater the long-term cost savings it delivers, the more crucial it is for it to be created in a manner that enables it to be scaled up or down to meet the changing demands of your business.
An enterprise might, for instance, need to carry out data analytics using information collected from specific sources. As the organisation expands, the software must be capable of accommodating additional data from a growing number of sources.
It’s crucial to validate all of the aforementioned concerns through testing, not just at the conclusion of the project. If end users will be using the software, testing becomes absolutely necessary to ensure the application or website’s safety and ease-of-use. Conducting proper testing will not only enhance your brand’s reputation, but it will also result in increased customer loyalty.
Conversely, your brand and revenue may quickly be impacted if your offering includes buggy software.
Timely/Delivering Value for Money
It’s highly likely that when you consider hiring a software developer, you require the project to be completed promptly. As software projects that exceed their schedule or budget can have significant ramifications for your business, timely delivery is of utmost importance. As such, your developer should provide you with a detailed project plan that outlines the entire process from start to finish before any work begins.
Completing the project within the original budget is of paramount importance. To guarantee this, it’s advisable to hire a bespoke software developer who can offer a fixed-price quote, preventing any unforeseen expenditures at the project’s conclusion.
Training Materials and Documentation
Involving team members in the software development process may result in increased user confidence once the application is completed. Therefore, the software development firm you hire should provide comprehensive training for the application they designed for you, as not all users may have been involved in the development process from the outset.
Instruction can be delivered through physical attendance, video recordings, or online courses. As part of their services, developers should also offer in-depth documentation that team members can refer to in the future.
It’s important to note that the expenses associated with maintaining custom software can often surpass the initial development costs. This is because, even after the software is created, it may need to be adjusted, updated or upgraded to guard against new security threats. While developers endeavour to create flawless applications or websites, the company’s needs may evolve over time, necessitating additional features.
It’s possible that you may need to upgrade the application to make it compatible with other systems, such as the operating system, or to enhance its security against the most recent cyber threats.
Finished or Finished Right?
Choosing to develop tailor-made software is only the beginning of the journey. You and your developer must discuss your objectives, plan the project, conduct testing, and finally implement the software. However, this doesn’t guarantee that the project has been completed to your satisfaction. To ensure that your new application meets all of your expectations, it’s crucial to use the software delivery metrics as a reference. This will assist you in verifying that the project has been successfully completed.