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Software March 2, 2021
What you need to know before you choose a partner to design and build your software.
Growth brings many opportunities as well as challenges. At some point, you’ll have to start automating processes in your business if you want to stay efficient. You might need to streamline your accounting department, CRM, or project management. There’s no better way to automate those processes than with custom software.
Why custom software? Off-the-shelf solutions aren’t always the best choice. These solutions often don’t do what your business needs them to, or they have unnecessary features. That means you may end up paying for something you never use or for inadequate software.
Want to know how to avoid these common problems? Start with this guide we’ve put together to help you make the right choice when seeking a custom software development company.
Custom software development is what it sounds like: the process of creating bespoke software for a specific group of users. That group can be as large as your entire organization or as small as one particular team.
Custom software development also accommodates organizations that have a smaller set of requirements. Think of custom software as a laser-focused app created for a particular function.
Custom software might look like an app that works in one warehouse only. Or it could even be as extensive as a project management app used by all the teams across your business. The possibilities are endless, but that also means the challenges are unique and varied.
The alternative is commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS). COTS is the best choice for many businesses and many use cases, but it has less utility than custom software. This commercial software is more of a one-size-fits-all solution that may or may not get the job done.
Let’s find out why you might want to develop custom software, how you can do it, and what you should look for before you get started.
Custom software has the potential to be a better choice than COTS. That’s not to say custom software development is always the best solution, but it’s often the only solution that makes sense as your business grows.
First off, custom software development can save you money. Sure, it can also be expensive. There’s no question about that, but custom software isn’t always a more expensive solution than COTS.
Think about it: with COTS, you pay for every feature. Even the features you know you’ll never use. Those costs add up. COTS’s subscription and license fees may seem reasonable now, but custom software development can pay for itself in the long run.
Custom software also scales with your business much more easily than COTS. Off-the-shelf software only works well for some people some of the time. Developers of COTS also aren’t as likely to provide updates, fix problems, or allow for customization.
Custom software developers create apps with you in mind. They’re more likely to listen to your requests and make sure the software performs the functions your business needs. These custom apps also require less time for your teams to learn.
Off-the-shelf software can change your workflows and how you do business on a fundamental level. Custom software caters to your company and how you get things done.
“Custom” doesn’t automatically mean “good.” Not to mention, what’s good for one business won’t always be right for yours. For example, some custom software developers may not create apps that deal with invoicing. Even if the app’s UI is perfect, you may need to automate invoicing, which means the software wouldn’t do you much good.
Let’s take a second to go over what you don’t want when choosing a custom software development company. Remember: you have plenty of choices. Don’t lose hope if you have to shop around for a while before finding the perfect developer. Here are a couple of major pitfalls you want to avoid.
First off, the cost of custom software development is prohibitive in many cases. Let’s say you’re in North America and want to stick with a North American company to make sure nothing gets lost in translation. You might end up paying over $200 per hour during the development process if you prioritize that luxury.
In contrast, Eastern European companies may charge $100 per hour or less. In general, you get what you pay for, but you have options if you want to save a little bit of money.
Custom software development can also take time. In some cases, it can take a lot of time. Keep that in mind when choosing your software development company. You may not have years to wait for a custom app, but the development cycle can potentially take that long.
That means you might be better off with COTS in some cases. If you need a solution and can’t wait for months or years, don’t shy away from readymade software.
How do you make sure you choose the right company? Ask yourself a few questions and set some goals.
What kind of features does your business need? Do you need mobile and desktop apps? Web access? Will your whole organization use the app or only a select group of people? Need integrations or access to your current data?
Next, do some research based on the answers to these questions. Find some custom software development companies that align with your goals. Check their reviews, testimonials, and case studies. Make sure the company shows they can create the type of software you need for a reasonable price.
Finally, pay close attention to the technological aspects of the company. Do they use programming languages compatible with your current software and databases? Can you access their project management software?
After you answer these questions and check out some firms, you should have a pretty good idea of who’ll make the ideal custom software development partner.
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