For several years, custom software development has been a key factor in the digital transformation of organizations of all sizes and sectors. This is due to a range of factors, including the omnipresence of digital technology in all aspects of our lives, and the need for businesses to utilize software to undertake routine tasks.
The continual advancement of digital technologies has provided a multitude of benefits and advantages. Furthermore, the expansion of the IT sector has made these systems and solutions more accessible to a wider range of people. Consequently, bespoke software development has become an integral part of the modern commercial world.
Businesses who understand how to use the concept of bespoke software development to their advantage will gain the most benefit. Therefore, we felt it would be beneficial to go through some of the basics of bespoke software development and offer advice on how to best implement and take advantage of it.
Exactly what does “Custom Software Development” entail?
Custom software development is used to meet the specific requirements of individuals, groups, or organisations. Bespoke software development involves not only creating something from the ground up, but also updating existing systems and adding personalised elements to off-the-shelf (COTS) software.
The bespoke applications that emerge from this kind of research and development include:
- Information systems for managing relationships with customers
- Methods of mechanization
- Internet sites aimed specifically towards clients
- Internet-based storefronts
- Customized mobile applications for businesses (such as banking apps)
Consequently, commercial-off-the-shelf software (COTS) and its more generalised development approach, which aims to meet a broader set of criteria and thus allows for its use by various organisations, are diametrically opposed to bespoke software.
Companies may choose to either utilise their in-house development team or an external custom software development firm to create bespoke software. While larger organisations tend to opt for the former, medium and small businesses are more likely to opt for the latter. However, outsourcing bespoke software development is becoming increasingly commonplace across all sizes of businesses.
What’s the Point of Tailor-Made Software?
Many businesses are turning to custom software development in order to cost-effectively meet their individual digital requirements. In many cases, developing their own software can be more advantageous than purchasing commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions, due to the ease and speed at which it can be adapted to suit their specific needs.
The benefits of bespoke software development extend well beyond that. These additional advantages are gained:
- When selecting custom software, you can benefit from increased effectiveness due to it being tailored to your business’s specific needs. Having a bespoke application that caters to your daily operations can be invaluable. In comparison, Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software is more generic, so modifications may be required to make it compatible with your existing processes.
- Holdings that are private and not shared. When you hire a custom software development firm to create your own app, you can be assured that the completed result will be exclusively yours. This gives you the ultimate control over when any enhancements, fixes, and maintenance are applied. In contrast, with off-the-shelf software (COTS), you do not own the product, meaning you must wait for the creators to release new versions.
- Improved safety. It is important to note that commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions are just as secure as bespoke solutions. As more organisations opt for COTS, they become more attractive targets for cybercriminals. Therefore, the number of people who could potentially be attacked through COTS is higher and the term is becoming more widely recognised, thus increasing its vulnerability to malicious hackers. While the use of bespoke software cannot provide absolute immunity, it can significantly reduce the chances of an attack occurring.
- Increased storage time. Acquiring COTS (Commercial off-the-shelf) software is not a guarantee of its long-term usefulness to your business. Although it may continue to function while you have a computer that can run it, the software will eventually be abandoned by the creators and will no longer receive updates. This can be a major issue, as without these updates, the software will become increasingly vulnerable and obsolete. As the owner of the unique software, you may be able to continue making improvements to it, although at some point this may no longer be a cost-effective solution.
- Integration is simplified. The compatibility of any new programs added to your digital environment must be taken into consideration. Designers are aware of this and strive to make sure their products are as compatible as possible. As COTS developers cannot anticipate the specific requirements of your application, they instead focus on creating tools that are compatible with industry standards. While this approach can be effective in some instances, custom-made software can provide a more integrated solution as it is designed from the ground up to integrate with your existing system.
- Price reductions. It appears to be more cost-effective to purchase a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution than to create bespoke software from scratch. However, as you continue to invest in the COTS over time, the cost gap may reduce or even disappear. Developing custom software is an expensive endeavour, yet the benefits it provides are invaluable.
Advice on Creating Reliable, Innovative Custom Software
A successful bespoke software development lifecycle necessitates a precise coordination of numerous components. Prior to embarking on the bespoke software development process, a range of considerations must be established, such as selecting an appropriate vendor and identifying the appropriate technologies.
Among the most important things to remember are the following:
- Check to see whether tailor-made programs are the best option. Now that you are aware of the benefits of bespoke software, we are confident that you are keen to begin. However, before proceeding, it is important to ensure that this is the right path for you.
Consider your requirements and how unique they are, analyze the impact on productivity and finance a custom software can have, and think about how deep you want your digital transformation to be. If you aren’t sure, maybe a COTS alternative is better suited for you to better understand where you’re standing.
- Be specific about your needs. Once you have chosen to opt for bespoke software, it is essential that you have a clear understanding of your desired features. To ensure that the developers create a product that meets your expectations, you must provide them with a comprehensive idea, including all relevant details.
That means defining your requirements for the project, considering that they have to be technically possible, unambiguous, consistent, feasible, and design independent. Requirements lay out the roadmap that developers will follow, so you need it to be as robust as possible.
- Think about the tools you’ll need to employ. It is essential to select the most appropriate cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud computing and the Internet of Things for your project.
Don’t jump on a development bandwagon simply because everyone else is doing it. A lot of technologies can give you a competitive edge, as long as you correctly use them in the proper project. Think of your business goals and see how those technologies can take you closer to them before including them in your requirements.
- Determine the composition of your development staff. Creating software from scratch can be both costly and time-consuming, so it is important to give careful consideration to the team you select for the project. If you have a team of in-house experts who can develop the software, this should be taken into account. However, if your staff are already stretched with existing work commitments, you may need to look externally for a suitable team. If you do not have an internal team, you may need to source a suitable provider.
Regardless of your current situation, you need to analyze which team will work on your custom software development. Going with the in-house team can provide you more control but might keep your developers away from other pressing projects. Hiring outside help can relieve you from the daily grind but you may end up sacrificing some control.
Choosing the Right Custom Software Design Firm
Many companies are taking advantage of the benefits of partnering with bespoke development firms abroad instead of hiring in-house programmers. These benefits include access to highly-skilled professionals solely dedicated to the project, cost savings and accelerated delivery.
If you’re in the market for a bespoke software development business for any reason, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Consult a partner who has done this before. It is advisable to select a company that has both a skilled engineering team and a knowledgeable set of developers who are knowledgeable in the technologies related to your project. Having experienced programmers will lead to a more efficient and timely completion of your desired solution, while providing excellent customer service.
- Investigate the firm’s track record. It is recommended to investigate the software development firms under consideration and assess their ability to deliver by reviewing their past projects. To gain further insight into their work, refer to their portfolio, read customer feedback on websites such as Clutch and Glassdoor, and contact previous clients.
- Evaluate the company’s offerings. The next step is to ascertain whether the team you are considering as a potential development partner has the requisite knowledge and experience to successfully complete your project. It is important to ensure that the businesses you are evaluating have the capacity to take on a project similar to yours, be it a mobile app, an artificial intelligence platform, or a blockchain. Furthermore, it is worth requesting samples of their work. Works is a company that is able to manage the complete development lifecycle, provide the necessary IT professionals, or assemble a delivery team that is capable of operating autonomously to realise your concept.
- Inquire on their process of growth. Software development processes typically involve the use of various approaches, strategies, instruments, languages and frameworks. To ensure you choose the best one for your requirements, it is important to familiarise yourself with the techniques used by the businesses you are considering. Companies that employ an agile methodology tend to offer increased flexibility and improved overall management, ultimately leading to enhanced productivity.
- Think about where the business is situated. When selecting a development partner, it is important to take into consideration the location of the firm. There are three main options: onshore, nearshore and offshore development. Onshore development involves working with a local firm, while nearshore development is working with a firm in a neighboring nation or area. Offshore development, on the other hand, involves working with a company in a different country. This article will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
- Please consider the price tag. It is important to bear in mind that when selecting a development partner, cost should not be the only factor taken into account. Whilst budget is an important consideration, opting for the lowest-priced option may not necessarily lead to the most satisfactory results. To ensure a high-quality outcome at a reasonable price, it is advisable to opt for an established business with a proven track record.
Advantages of Tailor-Made Software
After reading this, it should be clear that the field of bespoke software creation is far more complex than it initially appears. Knowing when to deploy custom software and how to make it more efficient can give you an advantage over your competition. Hopefully, the advice and tips provided above will help you to achieve this.
If you are still uncertain, you can always contact our experts at Works who will be happy to advise you on whether bespoke software is suitable for your requirements and guide you through the process of concept creation, development and launch.