Custom software (also known as bespoke software or tailor-made software) is software that is specially developed for a specific organization. As such, it can be contrasted with the use of software packages developed for the mass market, such as commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software, or existing free software.
For example, Microsoft Word is designed for the general public as a diverse solution to the various needs of its many users. It does not, however, cater to any individual, specific business issue. Custom pricing software is much more flexible and safer than Word and Excel as it is constructed by software professionals who can implement functionality for a wide range of business needs.
Since custom software is developed for a single customer it can accommodate that customer's particular preferences and expectations. Custom software may be designed in stages, allowing all idiosyncrasies and possible hidden dangers to be taken into account, including issues which were not mentioned in the specifications. The first phase in the software development process may involve many departments working in collaboration – or just one department – depending on the nature and function of the software required. If your organization has a need unique enough to warrant custom software, then customizing a solution rather than settling for an off-the-shelf application becomes a smart course of action.
Custom-made software was once the preserve of large companies, but the cost of developing custom-made applications has fallen because of robust application frameworks, a vast array of off-the-shelf modules and rapid development tools, putting custom-made software within the reach of SMEs.
There are many sound reasons why you should seriously consider investing in a custom-made solution. If you are not already using customised software, the following may persuade you that it is the best solution for your business.
Why custom pricing software could be the right fit
1. It's tailor-made
Customised software is tailor-made by developers to your specifications in order to best serve your particular business’ needs. You will be guaranteed that the software makes a great fit for all of your business’ requirements.
2. It is more scalable
Custom business software is more scalable than off-the-shelf software packages. The software developers will be operating on a contractual basis and they will continue to maintain the program as your business grows in size. Custom software development meets the needs of your company while allowing your business to grow without being limited by your software.
3. It is safer
Custom software development can help protect your business from external threats. The majority of successful hacking attempts performed on business are as a result of hackers exploiting known software vulnerabilities in commonly-used software. Custom software will be a much less attractive target for hackers as it will require much more effort to learn how to breach the system.
Custom application development is capable of operating with the software packages your business already uses. It is almost never the case that multiple off-the-shelf software packages interact with each other perfectly and without errors; custom software development avoids this problem, as it can fit perfectly within your business’ software ecosystem.
With custom application development, your software is maintained for as long as you require it to be. With off-the-shelf software, your business is at the mercy of the software developer you are purchasing from; if they go out of business or decide to no longer maintain the application, you will be put in the position of suddenly needing to change to maintained and supported software – with resultant additional costs. Keeping control over the build minimizes issues with bugs and, if you do have a problem, help is at hand.
6. Savings on Hardware
Custom business software helps you save on the necessity of purchasing additional hardware. Licensing software packages often involve purchasing extra hardware in order to run it effectively. Custom software developers will tailor the program to both the vendor of your hardware and your hardware’s capabilities, saving you money.
7. Add Future Flexibility
The way you use a software application in your business may change over time. If you develop a customized package, you can adapt it quickly to meet any changes in your business requirements. This scalability is not typically available with off-the-shelf alternatives and, if it is, you still have no control over whether developers will make the upgrades you need in a timescale to suit you.
8. Maintain Control and Ownership
You own the rights to the software code if you build your own package. If you develop a system that gives you a business advantage, you don't have to share this advantage with your competitors – your software is unique. If other businesses are using exactly the same packaged software it may be difficult to gain any competitive advantage. You can also control the pace of changes, rather than waiting for the next release, allowing you to adapt more easily.
9. Enjoy Increases in Efficiency and Productivity
If you build software that meets your exact requirements and which adapts quickly to changes in your business, your staff can do their jobs more effectively. The cost of the software is offset by the promise of increased productivity and efficiency.
10. You Get Exactly What You Want
Off-the-shelf software will often include superfluous features that you don’t need because it’s been made for many hundreds, possibly thousands of users. Conversely, specific features your organisation really needs might not be included. Even worse, you may feel obliged to change the way your business operates to conform to the packaged software - driving up costs and increasing inefficiencies.
11. Make Long-term Savings
Although off-the-shelf software may seem cheaper initially, paying for a customized build may be a better long-term investment. If you develop your own software, you don't have ongoing licensing, upgrade and support costs, and you'll use existing system resources more efficiently. Custom software development by a reputable supplier is often a matter of building a house upon a solid foundation and, if managed properly, it is possible to do this quickly and to a high standard.
12. Easier to Train Staff
If the application is built to your specific requirements, you’ll save time and money when it comes to teaching your staff how to use it. It should require much less configuration work (if any) and much less training. Because it’s replicating and supplementing your existing business process(es) it should be intuitive to your staff.
Custom software will generally produce the most efficient system as it can provide complete support for the specific needs of your business, which might not be available in an off-the-shelf solution - and will provide greater efficiency with better customer service.
The benefits of customised software can be summarised as follows:
It fits exactly to the business requirements of your company.
There is a relationship between the development team and the user base which helps in communication and expectation delivery.
It gives you full control over the system and its functionality
It allows you to differentiate from your competitors (as the system is developed for your specific needs).
Can provide your business with a greater competitive advantage than an off-the-shelf solution.
Overall, custom applications provide an excellent foundation to build upon for the continued success of your business.
- Software for People 2015,by Pauline Oliveros.
- The Definitive Guide To Free Software, 2015 by WebUser (Author), MagBooks (Author), Barry Collins (Editor).
- Word 2016 for Dummies, 2015 by Dan Gookin.