Oct 16, 2023 JIN
The Power of Custom Software Development: Empowering Businesses for Success
Businesses are actively searching for innovative strategies to remain in sync with current trends. Consequently, a particular kind of software has been gaining popularity as the most effective approach to staying ahead of the competition – custom software.
To begin with, custom software development provides businesses with the essential flexibility and compatibility required for scaling operations and precisely tailoring them to meet their unique needs. On the contrary, off-the-shelf software may be inefficient or inadequate for their specific requirements. In this post today, let’s dig into why custom software development could be the optimal solution for your business.
What is custom software development?
Custom software development involves creating, deploying, and maintaining software tailored to a specific group of users, functions, or organizations. Unlike commercially available software, which serves a wide range of requirements, custom software development focuses on particular needs. For example, Microsoft Office and Sitebuilder.com are pre-packaged commercial software products and services that cater to general office productivity and website creation needs.
On the other hand, custom software is designed to address specific requirements, such as:
- A manufacturer’s field service equipment maintenance program
- An online banking app tailored to a bank and its customers’ unique needs.
Custom software and its development, or bespoke software development, follow similar processes and methodologies as other software development types. In-house development teams or third-party providers usually undertake this task. The typical steps, including requirements gathering, code construction, testing, and deployment, are followed, and methodologies like Agile, DevOps, or Rapid Application Development can be applied.
Custom software development efforts embrace various activities, including application customization, application modernization, and application management. Application customization involves modifying pre-existing software to meet individual requirements. Application modernization is essential for keeping custom software up-to-date and aligned with evolving user and market demands. Application management ensures the efficient functioning of software through activities such as installation, updating, performance optimization, availability optimization, and service desk support.
Why is custom software development great?
Custom software development is of great significance because it allows organizations to meet their unique requirements cost-effectively compared to purchasing, maintaining, and modifying commercial software.
Here are some key advantages:
- Efficiency: Custom software is specifically designed to support processes quickly and efficiently, eliminating the need to modify or adjust pre-packaged applications.
- Scalability: Custom software can grow and adapt as an organization or business expands and changes. During the requirements-gathering phase, designers and developers can assess future needs and incorporate them into the application. This eliminates the need to incur additional costs for purchasing more licenses or subscriptions of packaged applications.
- Reduced integration costs: Compatibility with existing and legacy applications is a significant concern when using commercial software. If compatibility issues arise, organizations may need to invest further to enable communication and operation between commercial software and their existing infrastructure. Custom software can be built to integrate with the intended environment, reducing integration costs seamlessly.
- Profitability: Custom software development offers the potential to generate revenue. Depending on the project’s terms and conditions, businesses that develop their own software can own the software and have the opportunity to license or sell it to other organizations.
- Independence: Avoiding reliance on commercial software vendors has both advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, organizations can escape licensing and support price increases and the risk of being stranded with packaged software if the vendor goes out of business or discontinues a product. On the negative side, the responsibility for supporting and maintaining custom software falls on the organization that created it or had it developed. Each organization needs to consider carefully whether building or buying software is more beneficial based on their circumstances.
Keys to effective custom software development
Despite allowing businesses to enhance efficiency and quality, the success of custom software development relies on certain main factors that every business needs to consider:
Maintain clarity in the build vs purchase decision
The primary factor for a successful custom software development project is ensuring that custom software is necessary instead of opting for a pre-packaged solution. It is critical to have a strong justification for this choice. According to software solution finder and researcher Capterra, approximately 75% of business and IT executives anticipate failure in their software projects, with fewer than one-third of projects being completed on time and within budget.
Moreover, according to RTS Labs and Praxnet, to determine whether to build or buy, one approach is to assess if there is already a pre-packaged software solution that fulfills more than 80% of the required functions, including:
- Supporting or automating unique business processes and transactions
- Handling industry-specific or business-specific data and information
- Meeting specific privacy or security requirements
- Facilitating integration with existing legacy applications and data
- Replacing or consolidating existing solutions at a lower cost
- Replacing or consolidating existing solutions to enhance productivity
- Enabling new opportunities or improving competitive advantage
Collaboration is important
If the decision is to build custom software, a crucial initial step is to gain buy-in from key stakeholders and ensure effective communication and collaboration throughout the project. Collaboration should involve sponsors, users, developers, customers, and even external business partners.
In this blog, collaboration means business users working together to define requirements, sharing knowledge among global development teams, and closely collaborating between development and operations teams to enhance quality and responsiveness.
Requirements are compulsory
One critical outcome of collaboration is establishing a clear and shared vision of the software’s required functionalities and limitations. IBM emphasizes the effective definition and management of requirements as fundamental for meeting customer needs, compliance, and staying on schedule and within budget. Proper requirements definition and management can deliver a high return on investment (ROI).
IBM identifies the characteristics of a “good” requirement as follows:
- Correct (technically and legally feasible)
- Complete (expressing a whole idea or statement)
- Clear (unambiguous and non-confusing)
- Consistent (not conflicting with other requirements)
- Verifiable (the application’s compliance with the requirement can be determined)
- Traceable (uniquely identified and tracked)
- Feasible (achievable within cost and schedule constraints)
- Modular (changeable without excessive impact)
- Design independent (not imposing specific solutions on the design)
Methodologies, technologies, and practices
Once requirements are defined (which may undergo multiple changes, and that’s totally normal), applying mature and modern development methodologies and practices can efficiently deliver effective and innovative software. Do your research and seek the option that fits you best based on the actual project context.
Consider the following proven development methodologies:
- Agile development breaks requirements into consumable functions and delivers them rapidly through incremental development. A feedback loop helps identify and rectify defects as functionality continues to deploy.
- DevOps combines development and operations, bringing them together in software design, development, deployment, and support. It is an agile-based approach.
- Rapid application development (RAD) takes a non-linear approach by integrating design and code construction into a single interconnected step, streamlining the development process.
- Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) allows the scaling of agile methodologies for larger organizations, such as global development teams.
Also, consider the following technologies and practices while you’re at it:
- Open-source software is publicly available and allows the development community to use and contribute to its source code. It enhances development productivity through software component reuse and improves interoperability by avoiding proprietary architectures.
- Cloud-based development leverages cloud computing advantages by hosting development environments in the cloud. These environments support coding, design, integration, testing, and other development functions, enabling building on-premises and cloud-native applications with cost control, speed, and on-demand convenience.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) enables software to mimic human decision-making and learning. AI can be applied to improve the development process by using natural language processing to analyze requirements and suggest improvements based on best practices. AI technologies like machine learning and modeling can be incorporated into applications through APIs and cloud services.
- Blockchain is a secure and digitally linked ledger that eliminates costs and vulnerabilities introduced by intermediaries. Developers utilize blockchain ledgers and open-source Hyperledger technology to build secure transactional and financial applications, freeing capital and accelerating business processes.
- Low code development reduces the need for extensive coding, allowing non-coders or citizen developers to quickly build or assist in building applications at a lower cost.
- Analytics technologies help software applications and users make sense of vast amounts of data through dashboards, visualizations, and predictive capabilities. Cloud-based services and APIs simplify the incorporation of analytics into applications.
- Mobile application technology has become essential, as 54% of global executives believe that customer buying behavior is shifting towards experiences, many of which occur through mobile software. Connecting mobile apps with data to improve and enrich user experiences is a crucial developer requirement.
Outsourcing for maintenance and management
After applications are deployed, ensuring ongoing maintenance and management is essential for optimal effectiveness. One viable option is to outsource these tasks to an application services provider. These services include development and support for enterprise applications such as SAP, software testing and quality assurance services, and application lifecycle management.
By outsourcing these responsibilities and leveraging automation, IT organizations can enhance software performance while devoting more attention to their core business tasks. SHIFT ASIA – a leading software testing company established since 2016, the trustworthy partner in crafting extravagant custom software development and other outsourcing IT services. Thanks to the in-house teams of full-stack developers and multilingual project managers, SHIFT ASIA can focus on customized solutions tailored to the unique needs of businesses in various industries. Contact SHIFT ASIA today to get in touch with our experts!
The Power of Custom Software Development: Empowering Businesses for Success
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