Anyone who has ever needed new software at some point inevitably has to face the question of whether standard software is sufficient or whether it’s better to invest in a custom software program. A perfect use case of such a solution would be if it is going to be an integral part of your core business and it will support your daily business operations, e.g. a purchase handling app, a GPS-tracking tool, specific authentication services etc.
From my experience working in a bespoke software development company with an agile mindset, I can see the advantages of such a service provider firsthand. Being lucky enough to call our clients long-term partners, we rely on dedicated software development teams as part of our success strategy. This is also one of the reasons why you should consider outsourcing the development of your next project – custom software doesn’t only save you time and resources, it also enriches your team with another perspective on how to do better business.
What are Custom Software Solutions?
To outline what custom software solutions are, we need to have an idea of standard software. The former are mass products such as Microsoft’s Word or Google Docs that have been developed for a large number of customers. Accordingly, at first glance, it is much cheaper than programming tailor-made software for special needs and business processes. You can usually buy (or rent) the standard software online and configure it directly. This software contains functions that are suitable for the majority of customers, but it will never cover all of the customer’s preferences because it is designed for a large number of users.
The individual software has a custom design and it is developed for a specific business process, e.g. sales & CRM, ERP or invoice processing, etc. This means that at the beginning it is worked out exactly which functions the software should map and contain. Of course, programming takes a little longer than downloading ready-made standard software from the Internet, but it can be adapted to individual company processes and remains flexible, even when circumstances change. In our fast-paced digitalized business landscape it becomes increasingly important to adapt fast and face uncertainty with the right technical partners. In case you need more arguments, read the ten main benefits below:
1. Tailor-Made Software to Suit your Needs
Each business is unique and faces unique challenges. These might also vary depending on your stage in the business lifecycle. While during the seed stage, many businesses struggle with idea validation or market acceptance, startups usually need to invest lots of time and money in marketing and further product optimizations. Being able to rely on a bespoke software solution allows you to rest assured that your business is in good hands as you expand your capacities because custom programs can easily be scaled as you grow.
2. High Investment Security
High investment security with a custom solution is possible due to the existing technical documentation and source code. Depending on their pricing model, outsourcing vendors provide flexible alternatives once they get an idea of the project requirements. A pro tip – choose an Agile software development team as it will keep you updated on the progress with daily meetings, making the whole process incredibly transparent and secure.
3. Reduced Operational and Project’s Costs
You guessed it, one of the leading reasons why some companies seek to develop their custom software is financial. First, you save money by not having to hire in-house staff, which immensely reduces your overhead and general operating costs. Second, by eliminating the hassle and stress of dealing with so many different people, systems, and processes in addition to dealing with the time necessary to train them yourself.
4. Less Team Training Required
While we’re still on the subject of training your employees, let’s cast some light on this important factor as well. While some readily available mass software requires employees to undergo extensive and time-consuming training, a one-time presentation of the new custom solution is usually sufficient as it is designed to fit exactly your business needs and support your daily operations.
5. Complete and Flawless Integration
Integration of a standard software tool can be a daunting task for system administrators and in-house IT specialists. To free up their time and let them focus on more productive tasks, partnering with custom software developers is a good idea. The reason why software integration is uncomplicated, as the software is adapted to the existing processes – it is literally built around your legacy software and hardware so that you can maximize the potential even in the most complex IT environments and automate higher-level processes.
6. Established Business Processes
Hiring a custom software development company comes with another benefit – already running business processes that are ready to serve you. In most cases, these vendors have an in-house recruiting team, payroll specialists, and team managers. Most probably they follow development frameworks such as Scrum or Kanban to keep continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) going. All you need to do is shortlist companies with relevant field experience and interview them to see if they’re a true match.
7. Shorter Waiting Time for Bug Fixes
Even the best developers aren’t yet immune to software bugs. However, one major problem with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software is that once you encounter a problem with the program, you have to contact their support team and your request is just one of the thousands. On the other hand, as soon as you turn to your bespoke software vendor, you have special privileges as the dev team is prepared to timely fix any bugs and offer first-class support with the maintenance.
8. Forget About Compatibility Issues
In many cases switching to custom software development is a direct result of bad previous experience with a mass software application. Even with best-of-breed solutions, businesses quickly notice that some systems can’t be integrated due to a lack of APIs or that the costs are enormous and it’s not worth it. As a consequence, after purchasing an off-the-shelf solution, employees observe that some process flows between these systems can’t be automated or that there are serious compatibility issues. This is practically non-existent with custom software solutions as every little detail is considered to reach end-to-end system compatibility.
9. Full Control Over the Software
You should also bear in mind that the standard software service provider holds out their hand every time a change, adaptation or update is made. If you feel like constantly agreeing with new predetermined terms and conditions that aren’t suited to fit your needs, then standard software might be the right option for your business. However, if you want to be in charge and keep the upper hand throughout the whole development lifecycle, then consider partnering with a custom software development company.
10. Lower Hardware Requirements
Finally, with a custom software solution, you don’t need to buy unnecessary additional hardware or pay for licenses and useless functions that you will probably never use. Thus, the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial acquisition and development costs as you get all the features you really need to skyrocket your business.