7 Key benefits of Custom Software Development
Running a successful business means staying ahead of the competition and what better way to do that than by streamlining your processes with computers and software? Most companies have internal systems that allow them to focus on providing a better service for their customers. As companies grow, so does the need for both internal and external facing system to manange processes and resources more effciently. In many cases there may be a "commercial off the shelf" (aka COTS) product that fits perfectly, but depending on the nuance of your business, that may not be the case.
Using off-the-shelf software products is often more cost effective than a custom built solution, but there's a point where it no longer makes sense. When you have to redesign how you work, or how your customers interact with you (support, purchase, payment, invoice etc), it may be an advantage to have a solution that's tailored specifically for you.
Developing a bespoke software solution for your business provides many advantages over a shrink-wrapped product where you have little to no control over features and functionality. You can start your solution as something small that does the bare minimum and build it out as needed. You get to decide what features are included, how people gain access, what infomation is collected and where it goes.
Sometimes a custom solution doesn't mean starting from scratch at all. Sometimes it means integrating several existing systems using APIs. Many Saas (Software-as-a-Service) products provide an API for integrating their solution into your own business systems. This can save time and money by automatically transferring data, reducing manual effort and eliminating transcription errors.
1. Custom made to specifications
With custom software, you get to control what features are included and which features aren't. The solution can be designed to fit within your oraganization's infrastucture and built for the volume of data that you expect to put through it. Because the software is owned by you, you won't be subject to changes in licensing or a pivot by the product vendor.
2. Increased productivity
With a solution designed explicitly for your business, increased productivity should be a given. During the software design process, your input will guide the developers to build a solution that automates repetitive tasks, reduces the number of manual steps and increases the accuracy of system output. All of these result in more efficient business processes that save time and money. Over time, these improvements allow your business to grow and leapfrog your competitors.
3. Product lifecycle
Don't get caught changing the way you work because a product you use evolves independant of your input. When this happens it creates friction within working processes and can turn something that was running smoothly into a real bottleneck. When you own the software, you get to control the systems development life cycle (or SDLC). With proper planning, you can decide when to add features, apply updates and do the necessary maintenance.
4. Easy integration
Often times in a pre-built solution, there are very few integration points that can be used reliably, if at all. By keeping the data in these systems private, vendors can count on a known state when making structural changes. When the system is your own, it can be designed with integration points in mind or built on a database platform that is accessible from other system used within your business.
5. Scale as needed
Many times a pre-built software solution is designed for a particular size of business. Operation outside of this design, whether smaller or larger, constrains the system to to it's original requirements. That may mean paying large license fees or requiring dedicated hardware even when your usage is low. Alternatively, it could result in difficult to diagnose performance problems because the data volume exceeds the original design. Either way, the system is limited to what the vendor has provided and any solution they come up with need to apply equally to all of their customers. When the system is well designed specifically for your business, you have the ability to modify it as needed as the needs of your busness evolve.
6. Respond to changes
Running off-the-shelf software typically limits the changes that can be made as they would need to apply equally to all the customers of that product. If requested features don't align with the vendor's intended direction, they may never get off the backlog and languish forever on your wishlist like a Christmas pony / puppy / slingshot that never happened. When you own the software, even if the initial author has long moved on, it can be modified and redeployed adapting to changes in the business many times over.
When you work with a reputable software development company, they'll stand behind their design and their work. If you run into issues, they can work with you to diagnose problems and come up with a solution that works for everyone.
Every organization is different and a solution that works in one case may not be a fit for yours. Talk to BinaryOps Software about turning your great idea into working software and leave your competition in the dust. We have experience in a wide variety of industries; healthcare, government, manufacturing, energy, startups and more!
Mark has been doing database design and building custom software for over twenty years. With a background in electronics, he quickly moved into software development and has been building database software solutions ever since, on many projects of all sizes.