Custom Software Development: Core Advantages, Methodologies and Pitfalls
Nov 01, 2022
Have a question?
High technologies in the world of complete digitization, the Internet of Things and Big Data are almost the only competitive advantage. Any company that plans stable growth needs to implement the latest solutions, and you can use their full potential only with custom software.
So, let’s discuss how custom development differs from ready-made applications and why you should choose the first option.
What Is Custom Software Development?
Custom software development is about creating a product that meets the specific needs of a specific company, its business requirements and standards. Ready-made commercial solutions usually have universal functionality designed for a broad target audience. Custom apps, instead, are made for solving specific problems and are more often explicitly created for internal/corporate use.
When Should Companies Build Custom Software?
Firstly, custom software is a must when there is a need for digitization and automation of work processes in the company. For example, in e-commerce, such products are used for automatic inventory, reporting, auditing, and personalized customer service. And in lending, custom software allows you to automate customer data checking and loan proposal creation.
Secondly, custom solutions help scale a business, reduce its expenses, and improve efficiency. Custom software organizes the staff work, improves the management process and increases the return on investment. It becomes business support, provides an opportunity to operate without interaction with external vendors, and pay only for the functionality you really need.
Best Custom Software Development Methodologies
Let’s discuss the best development methodologies and their features.
This is an exceptional software development approach based on precise planning of the process and its division into iterations. This project management methodology helps deliver value to the client and report on the completed tasks faster. It’s also about the gradual progress in development and great attention to every detail of the product.
In this case, the team focuses not so much on the final result (which also matters) but on the quality of each small step, making this result valuable. Precise planning of each iteration, grooming and a flexible approach makes it possible to identify issues in time, get rid of them easily, and quickly and painlessly respond to changes.
The Agile Manifesto principles suggest that the team is customer-focused, adaptable, and subjected to continuous evaluation. Thus, with the help of detailed documentation, precise step-by-step planning and regular reporting to the client, the final custom product meets all business requirements and is ready for any changes in the future.
Scrum is a lightweight software development methodology focused on a clear planning structure and empiricism. Self-organization and attention to the capabilities of each team member play a significant role here. These are a tool for confronting unpredictability and solving complex problems.
The development process is divided into sprints with an agreed time for completing tasks. Scrum masters manage the team, monitor progress and performance metrics, get and assess feedback, evaluate the result, and look for ways to improve the next sprints. This option is also quite flexible and adaptable, but it is rarely used for working with long-term projects.
Waterfall methodology is about a linear life cycle, where the product goes through the stages of development (starting with an idea and ending with the deployment) in a descending sequence, step by step. Each phase has clear boundaries and purpose and is the starting point for the next stage. This option is used when the software tolerates a more rigid approach.
Waterfall is a traditional and quite popular approach, simple to understand and implement. However, it doesn’t provide such flexibility and adaptability as the previous ones. Therefore, it’s better to use it for small products with precise requirements and functionality is better.
5 Main Advantages of Custom Software Development
Custom software development has many advantages, but we’ll discuss only the main ones.
Ready-made software cannot cover all the needs of your business. In addition to the required features, it may contain many unnecessary ones, which you’ll still have to pay for.
High-quality custom products are created in precise accordance with the client’s specific business goals. Developers analyze company processes, its target audience, unique features of products and services, and many other critical metrics. Based on this, absolutely unique solutions are created that can be supplemented and transformed in the future, adapting to new challenges.
Reliability and Compatibility
Custom software development assumes the customer can monitor compliance with all security standards, compatibility, etc. In addition, you can independently determine how to use and modify the product in the future.
Also, the team can determine in advance the exact list of necessary integrations and ensure all the compatibility tools. It isn’t very easy to achieve this with ready-made solutions.
The average data breach cost was $4.24 million in 2021, and it was the highest number on record. So security issues are crucial.
You cannot control the off-the-shell software development process, so you cannot know exactly what security measures have been used. Instead, custom solutions involve using advanced security tools based on individual industry risks and overall requirements.
In addition, off-the-shelf solutions can often have open-sourced code, making them vulnerable to fraudulent activity, hacking, breaches, etc. Custom apps are used only by your company and are closed-source products, so the risk of intrusions is minimal. In addition, experienced developers use automation capabilities to avoid human error and provide additional protection against security protocol violations.
Flexibility and Greater Scalability
A successful business grows, expands and changes dynamically. Quality software should be able to transform at the same pace and in accordance with business needs. Unfortunately, off-the-shelf solutions cannot be as flexible and adaptable, and achieving the required level of scalability is very expensive.
That is why experienced software development companies create products that are as flexible as possible, adaptable to dynamic changes, and scalable. This can be achieved due to individual infrastructure, architecture solutions, wide integration opportunities, etc.
This advantage follows from the previous ones. Due to flexibility and scalability, you save money on future integrations, expansion of functionality and updates. Thanks to top-notch security, you don’t lose profit due to breaches. Custom development allows you to pay only for features you need. All in all, it turns out to be a very cost-effective solution.
Custom Software vs. Off-the-Shelf: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Off-the-Shelf Software||Custom Software|
|Price||The client pays for:
||The client pays for:
|Development Time||Since the solution is ready-made, the client spends time only on
||It takes time to
|Customization||Designed for a wide target audience, with zero customization or minimal customization for an extra payment.||Designed to meet specific needs and challenges for a particular business.
|Competitiveness||Medium/low level of competitive advantage due to equal capabilities for all buyers.||High level of competitive advantage due to unique functionality and wide opportunities for scaling.|
How To Create Custom Software
Custom software development is a complex, multi-stage process. Keep in mind that the phases may differ depending on the development company’s approach and product specifics. We’ll discuss the most common option.
Step 1. Preparation and research. At this stage, the development team determines the target audience, its pain points, problems, needs, and also conducts in-depth research of competitors and the market. Next, development goals, functionality, tech stack are defined, a prototype is created, etc.
Step 2. Development. The most difficult and longest stage, at which functional software is created according to the selected methodology. Architecture, infrastructure, user interface, etc., are developed here.
Step 3. Testing. Depending on the development approach, testing may be conducted at the end of each iteration or after creating the MVP. It all depends on the software type and the decision of quality assurance engineers.
Step 4. Deployment and launch.
Step 5. Maintenance: quality and safety control, updates, functionality expansion, etc.
How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Custom Software?
It is impossible to estimate the exact cost of custom software without knowing:
- product type;
- set of functions;
- business needs and goals;
- development tech stack and the number and level of required specialists;
- target audience.
Also, the final cost is influenced by UI/UX design features, the number and type of integrations, and the development team location. So, for example, outsourcing to Eastern European countries is cheaper than working with engineers of the same level and experience in the USA.
Leobit team will be pleased to advise you on the approximate cost of custom software that meets the specific needs of your business.
Best Practices for Custom Software Development
Again, custom development is called custom because it has unique features and approaches. But some best practices allow you to develop software according to the highest standards.
Professional Development Team
Precise Requirements and Specifications
Such things are usually handled by professional business analysts with the involvement of QA engineers and developers. At the research stage, they conduct an in-depth analysis based on which precise requirements and specification documents are created. This helps not to deviate from the right development course.
This involves the creation of a detailed roadmap of the development cycle, the distribution of roles and responsibilities, and the determination of specific deadlines for tasks. Planning helps to progress at a fast pace and not get distracted from the course.
Quality Assurance and Testing
QA engineers are critical team members. Regular testing must prevent errors, maintain technical proficiency, and timely adjust components for a better user experience.
Transparent Communication and Documented Process
The development team should keep you informed of progress and provide timely reporting and transparent communication. In addition, it makes sense to record each stage of development. This is your backup in case of misunderstandings or the determination of wrong decisions.
How To Outsource Custom Software Development Projects
There are several main points that need to be paid attention to when outsourcing custom software development.
- Know your needs. Of course, specific business needs and development goals will be set by a professional business analyst. However, before looking for an outsourcing partner, you should determine at least the approximate requirements to understand whether the team has enough experience in this development area.
- Leave yourself room for choice. Collect information about potential partners, check feedback and portfolios, book demo sessions. Do not limit yourself to one option; consider several possible ones.
- Discuss specific terms of cooperation and document them. The cooperation contract should contain services, their cost, team composition, deadlines, type of software and other important details. Also include security and compliance requirements. Don’t forget about the non-disclosure agreement. Your contract is your security.
Choose someone who can ensure transparent communication and take responsibility for the result. Your outsourcing partner must become a remote part of your company and be interested in your success.
Custom software development is a practical way to get a product that meets all business needs. This is an opportunity to use software with high availability and compatibility. It is safe, flexible and scalable. In addition, custom development provides opportunities for business expansion and workflow automation.
In order to obtain a high-quality final product, it’s necessary to find a reliable vendor and a team of professional developers ready to work within the framework of strict planning and optimal methodology. At Leobit, we have experience creating custom applications of varying complexity and for various industries, so you can count on professional advice on any issue. Just contact us in any convenient way.