Custom software development involves a lot of things and serves various purposes. First, we shall start by defining custom software development. It is the process of designing, creating, deploying and maintaining software for a specific set of users, functions or organizations. The alternative to custom software development is commercial off-the-shelf software, but that has its own drawbacks, as you shall learn further down. Custom software development aims at a narrowly defined set of requirements while commercial off-the-shelf software targets a broad set of requirements, which allows it to be packaged and commercially marketed and distributed to buyers in need.
Examples of commercial software products include Microsoft Office and Sitebuilder.com, and if you’ve used one of them before, you’ll notice that they meet the general needs of office productivity and website creation. Custom software is the complete opposite and cannot be used for general needs. It is designed to serve a specific purpose as required by the owner, for example, a program designed to track the movement of items in a warehouse or a mobile banking app that allows you to view bank statements, make withdrawals and even instigate payments to merchants directly from your bank account.
Who Can Do Custom Software Development?
Custom software is also referred to as bespoke software, which takes its origin from the tailoring trade (tailor-made suit & custom-made suit). If you are looking to get your own custom-made software, perhaps for a business you are running, then you will need to get an in-house development team or outsource it to a third-party developer. Your choice depends on a few factors such as budget and also if it is a one-time thing because it wouldn’t make sense to hire an in-house development team for just one project. Both options have their pros and cons, and it is up to you to determine which one works for you best.
Efforts Associated with Custom Software Development
There are only three of them, and each one plays an integral role in the quality of the final product.
This is the first part, and it involves modifying a commercial off-the-shelf software to suit your intended needs. During the process, the generalized software is configured to support the individual requirements of the person behind the project.
Just like the name suggests, this part is about rejigging the software to meet current standards. Market needs and demands are constantly changing, so it is important that the software be able to cater to these demands so that the business can remain viable and relevant.
This is the last part, and it majorly covers the effectiveness of the software. Application management covers bases such as installation, updates, performance and availability optimization. This is a very critical stage because if anything goes wrong, then the whole process goes to waste. If there are issues with installation, users don’t have access, and if there are issues with performance, users will be discouraged from using that application.
Need for Custom Software Development
As was mentioned earlier, both custom and commercial software have their pros and cons, but it is safe to say that depending on the purpose of the software, custom software will always have the edge over commercial software. Below are some of the benefits of custom software development in San Diego.
Arguably one of the biggest selling points of custom software is that it is very efficient. It already has a built-in purpose, and there’s, therefore, no need to start reconfiguring it so that it can suit your demands. This saves time and other costs of hiring a developer to make the adjustments on the applications.
A good thing about custom software is that it can grow as the company grows or as its demand grows. The developer can assess the growth potential of the company and therefore insert features that will accommodate this growth once the time comes. This way, you will avoid the need of having to spend on additional licenses and subscriptions, as is the case with packaged software.
Nothing is as good for a business as having independence from other corporations. This way, you won’t have to deal with price hikes for licensing and support in case the supplier decides to do so. Also, you won’t be involved in the shenanigans that some corporations go through when fighting with a competitor.
Lower Integration Costs
Commercial software is built to serve a lot of people, so one thing that you are assured is that the features are generalized. This may make it very difficult for you to integrate it into your operations, and more often than not, you will have to cough up a few extra dollars just so that the software can fit in your business environment. Custom software, on the other hand, can be built to suit your existing infrastructure, meaning that when the time comes for integration, it will fit right in without any hassle.
Once you have pioneered a particular software within your industry, other firms will be lining up to get it because it is a better option than buying commercial software. You will almost have a monopoly, and that means you dictate the terms. You can decide to sell or lease it on a subscription basis. The options are limitless.
Best Practices for Developing Custom Software
When you’ve finally decided to develop your own custom software, there are a few practices you should keep in mind to ensure that you get the best results.
Define Your Current Process & Future Needs
Make sure that you evaluate yourself. Know where you are and where you want to be a few years down the line. This will make it easy for you to get the details and also make room to accommodate the expected growth.
Choose the Right People To Work With
As you embark on that project, make sure you have the right people in your corner. Experience and professionalism are very important but don’t forget other things such as integrity, loyalty and ethics. If possible, conduct interviews and thoroughly review each candidate’s record to ensure you get the best people in the business. You can also seek recommendations from other people that have been through such.
Create A Realistic Plan with Milestones
Don’t get too excited and set targets that are almost impossible to achieve. Be realistic in your planning and put every factor into consideration before setting the goals you want to achieve. Also, remember to indicate milestones that will signify you are achieving a particular goal. That way, everyone involved will know what they are working towards, which will give an extra boost of motivation.
Conduct Appropriate Testing
Software development is very tricky, and one tiny error can undo all the good work you have done. Be sure to conduct the necessary tests at every stage so that you can identify any bugs that are there and fix them before moving on to the next stage. Cover both technical testing, where the developers ensure that the fundamental elements are working, and user testing, where best users test whether the software is working as you want it to and serves its desired purposes.
Document the Whole Process
Be sure to document every single detail at every step of the way, from major breakthroughs to the tiniest drawbacks. Also, include what you already have and what you want, as well as who is responsible for each piece and what is expected of each one of them. This makes it easier to hold people into account in case there is something that isn’t as it should.