Why Do You Need Custom Software
In this day and age, there are tons of software solutions to satisfy almost every need. Anything you need, you are very likely to find an app for that. The same applies to businesses. You can have apps and software for accounting for you, HR management, automate certain processes and more. However, despite the multitude of solutions on the market, you might still want to consider custom software, and here’s why.
Custom Software vs Off-Shelf
Traditionally, software can be fit into two categories: custom (also known as tailored or bespoke) or off-shelf (also known as packaged). The difference is clear from the name. Custom software is engineered specifically for an individual enterprise, while off-shelf is sold to the masses and can be used by anybody.
There are several main differences between custom and packaged software. The packaged one, while can cost a lot, is still cheaper than having a team of developers build you something from the ground up. Also, packaged software is usually easier to use, as it assumes that people with no technical skills should be able to use it.
What Is Packaged Software?
Packaged software usually represents a set of tools that a company bundles and sells. They provide different solutions for individuals and enterprises. However, they also have similar interfaces and share certain compatibilities. Take for example the Microsoft Office Suite. You have Word, Excel, Power Point, etc.. They all look the same and certain functions and buttons are located in the same place.
What Is Custom Software?
On the other hand, custom software has a much narrower usability, being designed to work in a very specific environment. Take for example a factory that manufactures a product. It can have custom software that keeps track of its inventory, employees, the assembly process, orders, etc.
Custom software usually comes from an outside team of developers, because there is rarely the need for a company to keep software engineers in-house.
Benefits of Custom Software
The packaged software is easier to use and costs less, so the question is why would anybody bother with custom software? There are thousands of different off-shelf software solutions on the market. They can cover everything a business might need from human resource management to order tracking to accounting.
The size of the packaged software market has ballooned to over $500 billion. The latest technological advancements such as cloud computing and blockchain, that number will only grow. Therefore, if one product does not satisfy the need, certainly another one can.
That’s why the above question is very relevant. The reality is that for most businesses, off-shelf software is usually the proper way to approach things. It’s large companies that often order custom software. For small businesses, money is a big issue, which is why they usually go for off-shelf solutions.
Ease of Integration
However, the size of the custom software market is equally huge and there are hundreds of companies around the world specializing in software development. If the packaged software really was a one-size-fits all deal, we reckon the market would be more narrow.
The reality is that packaged software doesn’t always satisfy the needs of a company, no matter how customizable it can be. In addition, often departments within a company use different solutions, which then have to be integrated. For example, HR and accounting need integration in order to keep track of salaries. However, such integration is not always possible, particularly when the departments use software from different sources.
In addition, custom software has many other benefits that make it a viable option not only for large enterprises, but for small and medium businesses as well.
Security and Scalability
Aside from integration, custom software has a number of other benefits. One of them is scalability. Even if you are a small company now, in the long-run you probably expect to grow. The benefit of custom software is that it can be adjusted to fit your needs as your business grows.
Another benefit that must not be overlooked is security. Anybody can buy packaged software, therefore hackers can explore its vulnerabilities. Of course, most off-shelf solutions are also come with security protocols and hacks or data breaches happen very rarely. However, they do happen.
On the other hand, the code to the custom software is not available in the open and requires more effort to hack. Moreover, the client can choose to have additional security layers added.
Automation and Operations Streamlining
The main purpose of custom software is to streamline a company’s operations. Once the team in charge of developing the software starts working on the project, it must first familiarize itself with the company’s business model and operations. After that, developers can identify opportunities for automation. As a result, employees can save time and become more efficient.
In addition, tailored software takes into account employees needs and wants. In addition, to automation, the interface will also be tailored to make it more convenient to use.
Better Maintenance and Support
With off-shelf software you depend on the company that sold you that software. For the customer service, you will be one of the company’s many clients. Therefore they will not always answer your requests promptly, or the help might be unsatisfactory.
On the other hand, a custom software developer usually has fewer clients and provides support whenever you need it. In addition, they implement upgrades and maintenance over the long run.
Should You Go For It?
Custom software has many benefits in comparison to the off-shelf solutions out there. It can really make a difference in the way a company works. It can also help a business grow faster and save time and money along the way.
The main concern for small and medium businesses when it comes to custom software is affordability. However, over the long-run, custom software will justify the high cost of implementation.