Our Custom Business Software Solutions

What to Look For in Custom Software Development Services

A custom software application could be what your organization needs to grow. Custom applications make sense and they're created for your unique needs—the term covers anything from a SaaS platform to an e-commerce site to a mobile app. Good custom software will scale with your business and is truly cost-effective over time.

Software development is expensive, especially when you need a customized solution. To develop software in-house you need qualified talent. A dedicated team of software developers. But, qualified talent comes with a price tag—or significant salary—attached. Talent is hard to come by. Finding the right candidate to join your team can be difficult and costly for your company.

For businesses that don't want to take on the task of hiring an entire team, outsourcing is a great option; outsourced development options vary from firm to firm. When choosing a provider to create a product for your business, there are many things to consider. First, let's talk about the software development process.

What is custom application development?

Custom software development describes the process behind designing and creating a software solution. Customized solutions are best for niche applications. This could be a specific set of users, or a unique use case. In these cases, an off-the-shelf solution (software products that are ready to go, like Microsoft office) doesn’t exist for the needs of a business.

Custom projects all follow the same phases of product development. The development team gathers the requirements. Then, the code is constructed and tested. Different coding methodologies like Agile guide the software's development.

Custom development can have many benefits for a business. Software designed with your business needs in mind allows your team to work smarter. With an integrated platform your team will become more efficient. You'll gain a competitive advantage by not using the same canned solutions as rivals. With this added efficiency and advantage, you can re-invest in your systems.

In-house vs outsourced development

In-house software development happens when a company has a dedicated software team. This team develops programs and applications for the company. This also means those specialized developers are on the company’s payroll. Hiring a dedicated team can be expensive; companies must hire to meet all of the software specializations they need.

Outsourcing is when a company hires a third-party to develop the software they need. These development companies have the experience, skills, and focus to deliver quality custom software. As they are dedicated solely to this task, they can generally provide a well-rounded team of specialists.

Outsource

What to look for in outsourced custom software development solutions

Decided to send your software project offsite? You want to hire a customized software development company that meets your needs. Picking the right partner is important. This will save you time, money, and many headaches. Your goal is to find the right partner for your project. Here are some helpful guidelines to consider.

Offsite
Proper understanding of your business needs

The point of developing custom software is to meet your exact needs. Each company has its own business processes and operations. This is something to consider when outsourcing. For some, it might be important that the firm they hire can meet in person. For that, a local company would be the best fit.

Before you hire a firm to outsource software development, make a list of your needs. This is a list of your must-haves and wants for this project. It should include things like expectations, communication styles, and requirements. Pick a firm that provides the best business value.

Realistic development timelines matching your needs and budget

Find an offering that matches the resources your organization has. Timeline and budget are major constraints that are hard to change. A tight project timeline will limit the companies that can meet your requirements; more flexible deadlines will broaden your options. Make sure your timeline is well-defined before making a decision. Set your project deliverables and timing upfront. This will avoid disputes down the road.

Budget is another tight resource and one that's hard to get around. Cost may be a driving factor in your decision, but it shouldn't be the only factor.

Technological expertise and support

You want to hire a team that has the expertise you need and the right specializations. There are many different specializations when it comes to the software development field. Some developers are experts in certain environments or frameworks like AWS, node.js, asp.net, or Javascript. Others might specialize in types like front or backend web development, or mobile development. Within mobile apps you even have to consider Apple and Android. Find a team with the know-how that you need.

Looking through a company’s past work is a great way to assess their quality. Look at how many years of experience they have. Check case studies from past projects to see if their work is high-quality. Look at what new software they might have created. Does it have a good user experience? See if there are testimonials or reviews on their site.

You’ll also want to consider the support you might need after the application’s development. Even the most impeccable software will develop issues or bugs over time. If your team is non-technical, you'll need support after deployment. Consider choosing a firm to provide this support for your team.

Choosing a custom software development provider

There are many factors to consider when choosing to outsource software development. Factors like project budget and timeline will drive the options you have available. You’ll also want to choose a firm that fits your business’s specific needs. And, you’ll need the technical expertise and support required for your project.

At Zibtek, we offer custom software solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our digital strategy, design, and custom software development solutions have helped a wide range of clients to meet their goals—ask for a free consultation to find out whether we can do the same for your business.

Software development provider

The most popular types of custom business software in 2020

The digital transformation of business is in full swing. Eighty-five percent of enterprise decision-makers report that they have an estimated two years to carry out their digital transformation, or they will fall behind the competition and start to suffer financially. What does that mean for your company in 2020? How will you meet the challenge of delivering software solutions that attract and keep customers? What are your plans to give your employees the tools they need to be more productive? How will you meet your business needs next year and after?

One way to answer these questions is to get an idea of where other high performing companies are investing their time and money in custom software development. Here at Zibtek, we see a strong interest in four essential areas of custom application: ERP, CRM, customer portals, and better business intelligence. To help you plan your company’s efforts in 2020, we will take a look at how custom solutions can leverage the impact of each type of software.

Enterprise Resource Management (ERP): Running your business the way you want

ERP solutions are where many companies start their custom business software journey for a simple reason: ERP tools are defined as integrated information systems that serve all departments within an enterprise. They impact every part of a business, and—when done right—can deliver productivity gains and insight across the enterprise.

A recent Gartner study listed four primary benefits to ERP:

  • ERP systems give decision-makers the information they need to drive innovation.
  • By collecting all of a company’s data in one place, ERP systems can offer significant efficiency gains.
  • Having all business groups in a single system enables process standardization across an organization.
  • One single ERP system is more cost-effective from an IT expense standpoint when compared to maintaining and integrating separate systems for each area.

These are all benefits that can be improved by deploying a custom solution. The nature of ERP systems—multi-department, business process driving, and data integrating—make finding an off-the-shelf commercial solution that fits your organization difficult. You may be able to identify one that satisfies the specific needs of a single department, but checking all the boxes across an enterprise is almost impossible.

Your ERP system houses your most valuable digital assets and drives your business processes. Shouldn’t that system be created to suit your business rather than shaping your data and methods to fit a generic tool? Many companies think so, and that is why ERP systems are the most popular type of custom software application we work on here at Zibtek, and why we expect the trend to continue in 2020.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Adapting to the way you need to find, retain, and grow your customers

If you can not locate, acquire, keep, and increase customers, you do not have a business. That is why the Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) your company uses is vital to your success. In some cases, CRM is part of an ERP system, or it can be its own standalone tool. Tightly integrated or loosely connected, CRM investments deliver. Here are three statistics outlining the benefits:

  • Companies receive $8.71 for every dollar they spend on CRM (Nucleus Research)
  • 81% of Sales organizations that make their numbers consistently use CRM (Aberdeen Group)
  • Salespeople with access to data on their prospects and customers via a CRM shorten their sales cycle by 8-14% (Nucleus Research)

We see requests for creating custom CRM solutions because of these clear benefits and the need for companies to have a tool that fits their unique industry, customers, and processes. Also, if you are using the same CRM tools as your competition, you are both starting from the same point. With a custom software solution, you can capture what makes your team better and make it part of your selling process, giving you a competitive advantage.

Customer Portals: Delivering on your customer’s expectations

Customer interaction needs to be a part of every company’s digital strategy. A survey from Microsoft recently found that 90% of consumers expect a company to have a portal for customer service. Consumers are also picky about their experience while interacting with companies. Surprisingly, one in three people say they actually ended a relationship with a company because their digital interaction was not personalized to their specific needs.

A custom support portal is a proven way to deliver the interaction customers expect with the focused experience they want. Customization gives you the ability to connect to all of your data, use it to understand your customer’s needs, and then track and manage their interaction in an intelligent way. Additionally, instead of adopting the look and feel of a generic solution, you can create a user experience that matches the rest of your website.

Business Intelligence (BI): Gathering and presenting your data as actionable information

One thing that business software is good at is creating and storing data. ERP, CRM, Supply Chain, Accounting, User Support—regardless of the application, they all gather and store data. What most business software is not good at is providing a way for leadership to view that data to inform intelligent and strategic decisions. That is why the expected spend on Business Intelligence software is $56 billion for 2020, second only to what companies plan to spend on ERP, software that creates and stores all that data.

Business Intelligence refers to a broad array of software tools that extract, sort, combine, and analyze a company’s data and then present it in understandable tables and graphs. BI software provides value if it delivers actionable information to decision-makers in a way that they can understand. One key area of growth for this class of software is the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to extract even more value from data.

The complexity of Business Intelligence solutions makes customization a compelling option. There are a large number of existing tools for extracting, analyzing, predicting, and displaying business data. The right custom solution will combine these tools in a way that delivers the highest value to your company.

Mobile: Interacting with customers and employees through little screens

The four types of applications mentioned above: ERP, CRM, Customer Portals, and BI, all require access by users. Employee work mostly happens at desktops through full browsers, but increasingly interaction is also happening through mobile devices. Employees are working from home or on the road, with 49% of US employees working beyond regular hours through mobile apps.

If your enterprise software is custom, you should include mobile application development in your plans. Even if you choose off-the-shelf software, you can increase the productivity of your business processes by providing a custom user experience.

Next steps: Developing and deploying the custom software your company needs

If these custom software applications resonate with you, then it is time to start planning your custom software projects for 2020. Identifying the need is the first step, and determining what you really need is the next. From there, it is a standard development and implementation workflow.

An essential part of that workflow is choosing the right development team. A partner like Zibtek that has the software developers, understanding of business processes, and project management experience required to partner with your teams efficiently, delivers solutions that work. You can find examples of projects we have completed for companies large and small by reviewing our case studies.

Digitization is real, and staying competitive involves putting the right software tools in place to give you an advantage. As you look at your technology solutions for 2020, think about why so many companies are implementing custom solutions for Enterprise Resource Planning, Customer Relationship Management, Customer Portals, and Business Intelligence. Make sure that you have what you need in those areas, including your mobile strategy. And then evaluate the impact of more control, better user experience, and greater automation delivered through custom business software. Software that will enable you and your company to have greater success in 2020 and beyond.

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