If your business needs software to solve a problem or fulfil a task, you typically have two options. The first is arguably the more common option, which is to purchase a prebuilt and generic application.
The alternative is to invest in custom software development.
IBM defines custom software development as “the process of designing, creating, deploying and maintaining software for a specific set of users, functions or organizations. In contrast to commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS), custom software development aims at a narrowly defined set of requirements.”
For businesses, this would spell the difference between purchasing a commercial application that fulfils a business purpose and hiring developers to create a bespoke application to fulfil that same purpose.
A fair number of business owners tend to tilt towards the first option for two core reasons: COTS software is immediately available and tends to be cheaper on initial purchase.
However, in the long run, it may actually be wiser to opt for custom products instead. That’s because the potential gains from well-done custom software can often more than offset the initial outlay for its purchase.
We’ll go into more detail on that below. Here’s a list of the main reasons custom software development is often better for businesses.
1. Precision of Design
This is a hard fact: even the most customisable prepackaged software pales in comparison to custom-designed applications when it comes to specificity of tailoring.
With a good designer or design team, you can ensure that the software you want provides exactly what you need. That’s because you can specify requirements from the very beginning.
As a result, you get only the functions your business requires and no superfluous features that could confuse users. You can even get the type of UI that suits your organisation best, which can be a major boon when adopting new software!
2. Optimal Costs
One of the pitfalls of purchasing commercially available software is that sooner or later, you end up having to pay even for features or functions you don’t like.
That’s the thing about bundles or packages: there’s almost always something in there that you’re not crazy about but have to take along with the things you do like.
That’s not something you have to worry about with custom software development, fortunately.
As noted earlier, you can customise the development and features of the software to precision. This means that you also get to optimise the costs of the software’s acquisition.
As such, with custom software development, you only have to pay for what you need and nothing more.
3. Easier Integration with Existing Systems
Another big downside to COTS software is that you can’t always guarantee its interoperability or ability to integrate with any existing systems you may already have.
That can lead to issues with data transfer and operational interruptions. It can mean the difference between being able to move your inventory data from one system to another, or sending attendance records easily to a new payroll system.
Fortunately, getting a custom solution can fix that: you can ask your developers to build you a programme that integrates with any existing system easily. All you need to do is explain your present system and situation.
A Caveat on Custom Software Development
While custom software development can indeed be a boon, it’s always dependent on your business finding the right people to handle the development.
With a good team managing the development, you can get a custom product that serves you well. Otherwise, you may as well end up with a COTS application.
It’s not just about technical skills either. Mind that a big part of what makes custom software development effective is communication.
That is, you need people who strive to understand your needs and preferences, and who are actually capable of translating those into effective code.
If you’re not sure how to find such developers, reach out to us. We have a huge database of vetted and profiled software developers from all around Southeast Asia who may be just what you need.
Just tell us about your requirements. Skilledd can help you find the right talent for your custom software development team with ease.