What is Custom Software Development?
Custom software development is the creation of online and/or offline software designed to accomplish specific tasks for an organization that can not be completed satisfactorily with the available off-the-shelf software options.
A decade ago custom software development was something only large businesses could afford, which gave them a significant competitive advantage over their smaller competitors. Being able to design software to do exactly what you envision within an organization is a powerful tool that can offer sales, service and overall organizational advantages without making continual long-term investments.
Custom software development can be as simple as building a website that is unique or as complex as creating a system that determines which of your existing customers are likely to need your products or services next.
There are off-the-shelf software options to do almost anything a business could ask for from ticket management, job scheduling, invoicing, accounts payable, and service tracking. Each of these software suites offers a predefined set of options and features that are equally available to all small businesses. If all your operation ises is off-the-shelf options, how are you supposed to build a superior organization that offers a significant competitive advantage?
Even businesses in the same industry have slightly different workflows, cultures and desired outcomes. These differences lead to competitive advantages. It stands to reason that if you have the capability to perform tasks faster, better and at a lower cost than your competition your organizations potential in a given market segment is maximized.
This is where custom software comes into the picture. Using off-the-shelf software as a guide determine the following:
- What features in currently available software are important to your organization?
- What features would you change or add if you could?
- What information do you need to collect to accomplish each of your desired features? Be very specific.
- How will this information be presented to employees and customers? Sketch what you want the user interface to look like
- Contact software development companies and schedule a meeting to determine the cost of taking your rough plan and making a software program to implement it.
Expect to spend some capital creating your custom software solution. The key ratio to remember is that your custom software should pay for itself in 5 years or less through direct cost savings or other efficiencies. In the modern software world, applications rarely are fire-and-forget for longer than a 5 year period.