What is custom software development?

Custom software development is the process of designing, deploying and maintaining software that meets the specific requirements of an individual or group of users in an organization. It is usually developed by in-house developers or outsourced to a third-party contractor. Such software is primarily created to target the specific needs of businesses. It is commonly built with the purpose of serving in-house users, not for reselling the product on the market.

The graphs below show the market size of custom software development services from the years 2013 to 2018 and 2019 to 2024.

The market size of custom software development

Image credit: www.anythingresearch.com

Future market of custom software development

(Image credit: www.anythingresearch.com)

These graphs represent that:

  • From the year 2013 to 2018, the total market size of custom software development services has increased.
  • From the year 2019 to 2024, the future market of custom software development services is expected to grow.

Before drilling into details about why custom software development service is best for your business, let’s discuss-

  • What is off-the-shelf software?
  • How is it different from custom software development?

What is off-the-shelf software?

Off-the-shelf software is a pre-packaged solution that is ready-made and available to the general public for sale and distribution. Instead of catering to the needs of specific users, it is built for a wide range of users with a standard predefined framework and design. The way it is designed enables you to seamlessly integrate the software with your existing system. It does not necessarily require customization, as it is created keeping a large variety of audience in mind. For example, the MS-Word application is designed as a diverse solution for a large number of users.

Custom software  vs off-the-shelf software

Custom software

Off-the-shelf software

Custom software development provides you the option to make changes according to your business needs, as it targets a specific set of users.

Off-the-shelf software aims to target a broad set of requirements for a mass audience, making it impossible for you to customize the software according to your specific business requirements.

The customized solution addresses your exact business needs. Since it is designed specifically for you, all of its features and functionalities are essential for your business.

Off-the-shelf software is designed for a large variety of users, so it may only meet only 70-80% of your business needs. For example, an average MS-Word user deploys only 20-30% of its features.

Why custom software development?

Address your unique business needs

A wide variety of ready-made software solutions (off-the-shelf software) are available on the market. And these solutions are often publicized as “one-size-fits-all”. But every business has its unique process and requirements, having different problems that need to be solved.  Therefore, the “one-size-fits-all” concept is not applicable when it comes to the software that you need to address your  business issues.  In order to cater to your specific business goals, you should invest in a customized software solution. This will increase your business efficiency and productivity. Choosing custom software development doesn’t only provide you the opportunity to grow your business, but it also means you won’t have to settle for less than a complete solution.

For example, you may want a business analytics software that can:

  • Collect and analyze the data of people from all over the world who are visiting your website.
  • Present those data in the form of graphs and charts.
  • Monitor all your business metrics and share business related details amongst team members, without violating confidentiality.

Off-the-shelf software may not be able to meet all these business requirements. To reach your specific goal, you can choose a custom software development company that can customize your software solution according to your business needs.

 2. Seamless integration with different systems and technology

With the off-the-shelf solution, integration with other software packages is not always a smooth process. You may have to struggle to come up with a working solution to integrate various technologies. Whereas custom software is designed and developed in a way that it can easily integrate with other software solutions without displaying errors. This, in turn, will optimize your business operations and enhance your employees’ productivity.

For example, suppose you have customized business analytics software. You can easily integrate it with other software solutions, including e-mail management, social media management tools, Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) and more.

Look at the major challenges faced by software development companies-

(Image credit: GoodFirms)

The given image shows 6.5% of companies find difficulty in integrating the existing software with different software solutions. But custom software development addresses this integration issue. It provides flexibility when it comes to integrating customized software with other software packages or technologies.  

3. Easier to scale

Buying an off-the-shelf software for your business needs may not be a good idea if your company is growing. Your business requirements change when your organization grows.  In the future, if you want to scale your business, then there is a chance that off-the-shelf software:

  • Will not be able to support your business operations.
  • Will not be able to meet your new business requirements that keep changing with the company’s growth.
  • Becomes too expensive to license.

While the off-the-shelf software is built according to the standard industry requirements, the custom software is built keeping in mind the specific requirements and objectives of your business. The custom software solution can easily scale with your growing business. You can easily scale and customize your business process without creating new challenges for your team.

Time taken to develop custom software

Time taken to develop custom software depends on the project’s requirements, business objectives and technology to be used in the project. According to recent surveys, an average time period to develop software is 4 to 5 months. Have a look at the software development survey chart given below:

As you can see in the software development survey chart:

  • 7.70% of custom software development firms take less than 2 months to deliver a software with basic features and functionalities.
  • 38.50% of developers deliver the software in the time period of 2-4 months.
  • 61.60 % of developers take 4-5 months to design, develop and deliver the software. This is the average time period to develop software.
  • 15.40% of custom software development companies deliver a quality software solution, with maintenance and support, in the time span of more than 6 months.

In custom software development, developers have to build the software from scratch instead of deploying a ready-made software. Therefore, designing and developing the custom software solution is a time-consuming process in the beginning. However, it is worth the initial investment because it will save a lot of your time when you want to scale your business. Your custom software development expert can easily customize the solution according to your new business requirements.

4. Cost-effective approach

Purchasing off-the-shelf software requires you to set-up additional hardware to run efficiently. You can reduce these additional hardware costs with custom software development. Before building a custom solution, every aspect of your business (including the current hardware compatibility and their capabilities) are taken into consideration. Therefore, you don’t need to buy additional hardware in order to make it compatible with your custom software solution.

In the short term, ready-made software is almost always cheaper. But in the long run, custom software development is less expensive and a more cost-effective approach. Unlike off-the-shelf software, custom software is developed to support your business process. It doesn’t force you to adopt the software the way it is. You are free to make changes in the software if you feel any feature is missing that is essential for your business. In the future, if you want to expand your business, then you can easily scale your custom solution to meet your new business requirements.

5. Ongoing support from software development experts

Employing a custom software development team gives you the advantage of direct contact with developers who designed the software. In this way, you can get comprehensive answers regarding the software more efficiently. Your software needs to evolve when your company grows. The business expansion comes with new problems and challenges. Your custom software development team will help you to address these problems and challenges. You can work with the development team to customize the software according to the new requirements.

With years of modernizing and empowering businesses of every size with custom software development, Zibtek can be the partner to help you build a customized solution for your business.