Five Key Features and Benefits of Custom Software Development

Dave Wood

Dave Wood

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: May 21, 2021

In 2021, software applications are a necessary part of keeping an organization functional. As businesses assess their technology needs, they may not realize all the available options. Leaders assume that the best solution will be a commercial, off-the-shelf application. However, software created for a general audience will not address the specific needs of some companies. By working with a third-party software development team, these businesses can find software solutions that exceed their expectations.

What is custom software?

A basic custom software definition is any program developed for a specific organization. Often, these pieces of software have features that only pertain to the user. They also eliminate unnecessary features that generic commercial programs include.

Looking for Custom Software Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best custom software solutions.

Signs a Business Needs a Custom Software Solution

The new software is a serious investment for an organization. When it is time for new programs, leaders may debate about purchasing an off-the-shelf product or a custom solution. Several signs point to the benefits of purchasing a custom software application.

1. Frequent Productivity Speed Bumps

Increased productivity helps grow a business’s profitability. As leaders analyze processes, they will find places where things come to a standstill. Often, this is the result of someone needing to do manual data entry or another repetitive task. Custom developers will look at this situation and smooth out the speed bumps.

2. Lost Opportunities

Slowdowns in business processes are more than an irritation. Mistakes and missed data can cost clients. Custom CRM is an example of software that a developer can tailor to streamline data gathering. A custom solution will integrate every part of the customer lifecycle. A salesperson can quickly find order histories, customer interaction logs, and upcoming appointments on the same interface. This type of connected software will automatically gather and share data with every relevant platform in the organization.

3. Potential Expansion

When businesses invest in software, they expect their programs to remain relevant for a few years. However, as a company grows, its software requirements expand. A basic custom software definition includes the ability for expansion and flexibility. If an organization is on the move, it needs software that can grow with it.

Pros and Cons of Custom Development

When trying to decide between custom and off-the-shelf software, understanding the benefits and challenges will shape the discussion.

Pros

1. Efficiency

Automating processes makes everything run smoothly. With a custom solution, developers can analyze the places where things slow down. They will craft a solution that frees employees from boring repetition.

2. Adaptability

With a well-crafted software package, developers can add new features as business changes. When new processes develop, the custom software can address roadblocks before they become ingrained in the workflow.

3. Branding and Marketing

Developers can style a custom program so that it represents the organization. A custom CRM solution can give a uniform, branded look to every communication with a client. This uniform approach can also extend to websites and e-commerce platforms.

4. Integration

Easy integration is a feature that will dramatically increase the performance of a business. Developers will configure the custom program so that it automatically shares data with platforms currently in use by the organization. When an employee adds contact information to the CRM package, it will immediately register as a new contact in the email platform.

5. Security

Because off-the-shelf programs are used by many businesses, they are more likely to be targets of cybercriminals. When they identify a vulnerability in a program, they can exploit it in multiple organizations. A custom solution is a less attractive cybercrime target since it is only related to a single business.

Cons

1. Cost

In general, custom development is more expensive than purchasing an off-the-shelf resource. However, the added efficiency of a custom product can save money in the long run.

2. Development Time

In terms of implementation, it is faster to download an existing program than develop a new one. Yet, when the program addresses the unique issues of an organization, it reduces the friction that often comes with adopting new technology.

The Custom Software Development Process

Custom Development

According to Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, “Software is a great combination between artistry and engineering.” Creating a custom product involves several steps. A clear development process leads to exceptional results.

1. Observation and Analysis

The process begins when a client realizes the need for a custom solution. The leadership already recognizes needs that are not met by generic software. The development team will also observe and analyze the organization. With their experience, they may recognize other ways to streamline processes.

2. Planning and Design

The development team outlines the features and modules involved in the product. They will begin to assign front-end and back-end responsibilities. This step also involves developing integration strategies for other platforms.

3. Development

The team begins coding the software. The development timeline will depend on the size and scope of the project. During this process, all of the functional pieces of the product come together.

4. Testing

The development team members test the functionality of the software. They run the program through several scenarios looking for performance issues. Conflicting code in different modules can lead to unexpected errors or slowdowns. The testing phase allows them to handle such issues.

5. Implementation

The developers bring new software online for the client. This stage may involve creating APIs that integrate older platforms with the new product. 

6. Maintenance

Continued support allows the development team to update the software so that it remains relevant for the client. Updates to other platforms may require fixes in the custom software. A changing business model creates the need for additional functions. 

The Client’s Role in Developing a Custom Software Application

Custom Software Solution

In older development models, clients would outline their needs. Software engineers would return with a finished product. Today, there is more back and forth between the client and the development team. Throughout the programming process, the client gets to evaluate the progress. This practice allows the team to address many issues before implementation.

1. Developing Clear Expectations

The planning process is a mutual conversation. Clients must be clear about their expectations. The more a client shares about their needs, the easier it is for a development team to meet them. This clarity will shorten the development process by minimizing the number of revisions.

2. The Importance of Specificity

In most cases, computers do exactly what programmers tell them to do. If a client wants a specific color scheme, a front-end developer can generate it with ease. Greater detail from the client will result in a more satisfying final product.

3. Ongoing Review

Along the way, the development team will submit mock-ups of user interfaces and functional modules. The client needs to take the time to evaluate each one. In the initial stages, the development team can often fix minor issues with a few lines of code. Ongoing evaluation will keep the process on the right track.

An Experienced Partner for Software Development

What is custom software? It is a resource for clients to meet their precise technology needs. Unlike generic software, custom applications handle unique workflow issues. These programs increase efficiency by addressing specific friction points in organizational processes. 

Since 2000, Chetu has helped organizations around the world with custom software solutions. Our experts can work with a client’s IT team to develop solutions. We can also offer complete development services for an organization. Our company develops unique solutions for common business needs such as:

By working with an experienced development partner, organizations will benefit from well-designed software that is easy to implement and offers a competitive edge.

Dave Wood
Dave Wood is an industry expert within the supply chain and logistics technology landscape. He works at Chetu Inc., Plantation, Fla., a custom software development provider and thought-leader within the IT community. He offers commentary on changing tides within logistics and how inventory and warehouse management systems can propel all facets of retail and supply.

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