The modern business world is highly competitive, so the need to stand out in the market is more relevant than ever. Custom software programming is one of the solutions that can give your company a competitive edge.
Also, the modern workplace requires a complete transformation of legacy systems and migration to new IT ecosystems that enable businesses to be agile, scalable, cost-effective, and efficient.
Many companies have already embraced this service and have successfully incorporated a custom application into their workflows. Even though it may be challenging to estimate the number of companies using custom solutions, we can judge from the amount of global spending on custom enterprise software development (755 billion USD) that organizations invest a lot in the digitalization of their workspace or user experiences.
At the same time, some companies do not see the merits of custom software solutions, or they find them insufficient. So, in this article, we will explain what custom app development is and show how it can benefit a business.
What Is Meant by Custom Software?
When companies need apps with a unique set of features and functionalities, they turn to custom business software development. Usually, it happens when off-the-rack or legacy software no longer covers the company’s goals or unique requirements, and top management sees a huge potential in implementing new technology that will address or exceed current needs.
For example, a research carried out by Forrester in cooperation with IBM suggests that companies on their way to digital transformation strive to modernize existing records in the first turn and then create a new digital platform (including a mobile version). Hence, the need to build a custom app is one of the critical elements of a broader digital transformation strategy that is meant to innovate the business.
What Does Custom Software Development Mean?
Custom software development entitles the process of architecting, designing, creating, deploying, and maintaining software with a specific set of features meant to serve particular users or organizations. The greatest advantage of this solution is that it is tailored to the specific needs of the company and goes beyond the functionality of traditional off-the-shelf packages.
The development process of a custom app can take different forms depending on the methodology the development company will choose to run the project. The most common are the Waterfall and Agile methodologies.
What Can Custom Software Do?
Custom developed software is a frequent option for companies that want to have critical functionality they can’t find in mass-market applications. So, literally, this type of digital product can do anything you need for your organization to thrive. In fact, you can incorporate as many modules as you need. For instance, bring a CRM, ERP, content management, human resources management, or other functions in one app.
Based on the survey, when organization invest in technology, they distribute their resources between software, hardware, and education-related tools and services. The focus goes to software, which enables to enhance the team, automate business processes, or digitally transform the IT ecosystem to ensure the company becomes more cost-efficient, progressive, and agile.
How Do I Make the Choice Between SaaS and Custom Software?
When you decide on the tech stack for your organization, you will probably choose between custom and SaaS solutions.
While you already understand what stands behind custom designed software, let’s quickly see how SaaS services are defined.
SaaS, or Software-as-a-Service, is a cloud-based application. In other words, it is the one delivered through the Internet. For example, Gmail, Trello, YouTube, Zendesk, and Microsoft are all SaaS solutions. Usually, you access them via a browser, but there are also desktop versions. The key point is that you can use them from any device with an Internet connection, which is very convenient.
SaaS vendors usually handle the hardware, servers, networking, and other assets, so you do not have to spend money on maintaining your IT infrastructure. At the same time, you bind to pay-as-you-go payment plans, so you’ve got to pay fees for the volume of services or resources you use. This allows you to cut costs for running and maintaining in-house IT resources and reach predictable financial IT expenses.
Moreover, as SaaS solutions are always built for the broad market, they may have a standard set of features to satisfy the basic business needs. However, some services offer extended customization, so you can add extra features for an additional fee.
What to Consider When Choosing Between SaaS and Custom Apps?
Both SaaS and custom software solutions are effective for businesses. However, some businesses will do great with custom development digital products, while for others, their implementation will be a disaster. So, let’s see what you should keep in mind when selecting the appropriate solution for your business.
What Are Custom Software Engineering Services?
In a nutshell, custom software development services are the same as bespoke software application development services. According to IBM, they incorporate designing, building, and maintaining custom-tailored applications that meet the requirements of a particular company. Their goal is to cover the technical gap that holds the organization from harnessing technology for the sake of better efficiency, automated workflows, increased revenue, and more.
Bespoke software development will help your company stay ahead of your rivals while making a positive financial impact on your bottom line. So, when your business is ready to embrace technological change and adopt a custom digital solution, you can expect many positive changes in employee performance, customer satisfaction, and, of course, financial gains.
Market Demands for the Custom Software Development
In the highly competitive and overflooded business world, customization has become a priority for many companies that want to achieve new levels of success. This striving can be attained through customized software development.
While custom solution development can take different forms, some services are more relevant for the modern market than others.
Digital Transformation Through Custom App Development
Digital transformation is the top priority for companies planning to take IT initiatives. By winning more than 50% of their IT effort, it becomes an important step to driving business growth.
Custom applications become key enablers of digital transformation. They are specifically designed to streamline business processes, boost productivity, and enhance customer experience while complying with the organization’s requirements and regulations. In other words, custom solutions help companies transform how they do IT with maximum value to the business.
Product Customization or Renovation
Reliance on legacy applications can do more harm than good. For example, John Case shares his ideas in Forbe’s article that outdated software diminishes productivity, wastes money, squanders data, and reduces competitive advantage. There is nothing we couldn’t agree to. Legacy systems keep businesses away from harnessing innovation for the sake of their growth.
However, it will be fair to say that many companies are on their way to updating legacy solutions while moving to a new environment. So, they add new functionality or remove the outdated one, improve the interface, move the app to the cloud or other efficient ecosystem, and more.
Cloud-based development involves building an application that will be hosted in the cloud. This solution has plenty of advantages, so more and more organizations turn to this deployment solution rather than hosting an application on in-house servers.
Cloud developers make use of cloud platforms like AWS, Oracle, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and others that allow them to build and launch an application quickly and with less effort. Cloud-based software is characterized by mobility, scalability, reliability, and ease of use. Depending on the type of cloud it is hosted on, this app can gain a decent level of security and performance.
The use of low-code development platforms is one of the recent trends in custom app delivery. This approach allows building an application with little to no coding with the use of a graphical user interface.
The low-code platforms streamline and significantly simplify software development. With the use of intuitive visual builders, ready-to-use code snippets and templates, and built-in connectors, developers unlock an easier way to create and innovate. Moreover, a typical coding process has been simplified since there is no need to create frameworks, develop a user interface, or model data.
Mobile-First App Development
The mobile industry is booming. There is a 25% increase in global mobile app downloads between 2018 and 2022, but its number is projected to grow. So, the mobile-first app development approach responds to the tendency of the rise of mobile applications.
The mobile-first practice involves designing and developing a mobile version of the software first before the desktop. Because of this, the application becomes highly optimized for mobile devices. This includes the whole interface and particular design elements that previously may have been inadequately displayed because of the focus on the desktop app versions.
IoT and “Connected” Products
Smart tools that rely on IoT technology are becoming increasingly popular. From smart fridges to fully autonomous devices in manufacturing facilities, farms, logistics, oil, or other industries, this technology allows connecting devices for better control.
To make IoT-controlled devices work, one will need an application to make hardware and software pieces work together. This involves building an infrastructure that enables built-in identifiers like sensors, electronics, and software to receive and exchange data through the network without human interference.
Why Custom Software Stands for Imperative in Digital Transformation
While some time ago digital transformation was optional, these days it has become imperative for organizations that do not want to hide in the shade and wait till the dusk of their business. To enable technology to transform your workspace or user experience, you’ve got to decide on what digital products will ensure the smoothest shift and deliver more value in the long run.
As many companies find it tempting to use off-the-rack software available to the broad market, this may not be enough for all businesses. Some ready-made applications do not make the cut in terms of functionality. Besides, they do not always fit the bill as you may end up investing more in customizing an off-the-shelf application than building a custom one from scratch.
As no two businesses are identical, there is an increased need for custom software development solutions that meet unique business challenges, processes, and goals. Therefore, it is not enough to bring just any technology to your company. If you want your company’s digital transformation to be a success, you’ve got to implement a solution that covers the company’s needs and offers potential for growth.
So, let’s see how custom-made software can enable you to leverage technology correctly.
Optimization of Internal Workflows
One of the key ways how custom software enables a more effective digital transformation is the optimization of internal company workflows. Custom solutions come along and solve a lot of headaches for companies that look for better performance and cost-effectiveness. They encompass everything staff needs to tackle their day-to-day tasks more effectively through automated processes, improved tracking, better communication between departments, streamlined documentation flow, and more.
Improvement of Customer Experience
Businesses are now rethinking what customer experience they deliver. As customers are becoming more demanding and prefer digital experience over in-store shopping or service delivery, companies should respond to this behavioral change with custom software solutions that may deliver unique interactions to everyone who engages with your app.
Moreover, the growing competition sets new rules for communicating with your leads. You should create experiences that make a positive impression on its users through a pleasing design that aligns with your corporate branding style and philosophy. Moreover, the custom application should be helpful to end users in tackling specific issues.
Upgrade of Products/Services
If you would like to make the shopping experience more appealing for your customers and offer better services or products, you may want to leverage a custom app. For example, you can build software that lets your customers try the outfit using a photo or entering parameters. Some companies even offer their prospects to assemble products on their own to feel more related to what they purchase.
Custom Software Development Examples
Custom software development services provide companies with specific digital solutions tailored to peculiar business needs across different industries. That is why there are numerous successful use cases when custom app development has become relevant and beneficial for companies while covering unique objectives.
Business-Critical Software Continuous Improvement
In the modern world, businesses that stand still and do not streamline their processes risk falling behind. As new technologies emerge and businesses require more intricate tools to tackle new challenges, custom software for business improvement becomes a sound solution.
When your organization has multiple data points, and your employees suffer from redundant tasks, data duplication, or bureaucracy at the workplace, a business processes improvement application will ensure the workflows run smoothly and more efficiently. This solution will automate manual processes, improve communication between departments, eliminate friction in how data is shared and used, and more.
Custom cloud applications underpin numerous technical challenges companies may face on their way to better performance. They prove to be scalable, flexible, and fast, allowing businesses to become more agile and open to continuous improvement. An ample number of cloud models like public, private, hybrid, community, multi-cloud, and edge environments set the stage for better security and support of different regulations that may be found in specific industries.
Moreover, regional cloud ecosystems such as GAIA-X in European countries support geopolitical regulatory fragmentation, protectionism, and industry compliance. This way, highly-regulated industries like finance and the public sector will reduce the points of failure with cloud providers in destination countries.
Custom CRMs and Complex Customized Workflows
Effective communication with prospects and customers is one of the essential aspects for any business that relies on sales. A custom CRM gives powerful tools for building relationships with leads, streamlining interaction through the whole customer journey, improving marketing efforts, and reaching new sales goals.
A custom CRM solution may have extended functionality that will let you tackle your unique business issues. For example, you may integrate a custom CRM with other bespoke applications, get advanced analytics based on parameters critical for your business, manage orders or payments, or include other features that may be essential for the successful performance of your support team, sales reps, or other staff.
Legacy Systems Renovation
If you believe that your legacy system no longer meets your needs or would like to replace the outdated functionality with another custom solution that will be more suitable for your growing business, a renovation of your legacy ecosystem will be a decision with a huge growth potential.
The range of services of custom software renovation may include adding new features or modules, changing the app architecture, moving data to the cloud, and more.
Advantages And Disadvantages of Custom Software Development
When you can’t decide on the best solution for your business, in particular, whether custom or off-the-shelf software will cover your needs to the fullest, you may need a little bit of explanation. Of course, you do not want to go wrong with this decision, so let us help you study this question in more detail.
In this section, we will cover the advantages, disadvantages, and possible hurdles of incorporating a custom application into your IT infrastructure.
The Benefits of Creating Tailored Software
Software scalability implies that the application’s architecture is built in a way that allows extending its capacity as the needs grow. In most cases, it refers to the number of users you can add without disruptions. In simple words, even when the number of users significantly grows (like multiplied by 2, 10, or even 100), the custom application will still operate without crashes.
Therefore, custom software that scales easily is an essential part of business growth. For example, when you launch an application and make it available to the mass market, the number of its users can be insufficient at first. But as more and more users will be using your digital product, you will have to ensure your resources can cover the growing demand. Custom applications are built with scalability in mind, making custom software development for startups especially beneficial.
Along with scalability, companies gain flexibility when they move to custom software. While mass market solutions remain constant and you obtain no control over the app’s functionality, it may be hard to address the changing organization’s needs. Custom-tailored applications are more advantageous because your company decides what features or modules to include, when to release updates, and how to improve the software to ensure continuous business process improvement.
Custom app release and delivery is one thing. It also requires proper maintenance and support to ensure your team flawlessly utilizes its functionality. Whether you have an internal IT team to handle the requests or partner with a custom software development outsourcing company to delegate your IT needs, you get more attention from the app support team compared to off-the-shelf solutions.
Thus, if you adopt a custom application, you will be certain that your requests will be promptly addressed by the dedicated team or your in-house tech department.
Your organization may be using several tools that address a full spectrum of your needs. Mass market software may lack integrations with your IT toolkit, affecting the team’s productivity and overall company performance.
On the contrary, a custom solution will smoothly integrate with a wide range of applications, including custom-delivered ones. This will enable better data exchange, automated workflows, improved communication between different departments, and more.
While many companies refuse to leverage cutting-edge technology due to security concerns, those organizations that adopt custom applications get around these issues. The point is that they let you incorporate any security measures your company believes are relevant for protecting data from cyber threats.
Modern technology offers a wide range of tools and practices for securing your business assets. From private cloud to blockchain, one can choose what technology to implement to ensure advanced protection.
There are many ways custom software can give your company a competitive edge. For example, you may get powerful tools none of your competitors have to handle tasks, communicate with customers, sell products, and more.
Also, a custom app can become a unique selling point for services or goods. For instance, this can be an application that allows you to assemble a car model from several modification options or the order delivery tracking app for the restaurant. These are definitely the things customers won’t ignore!
When you build a custom application to streamline internal workflows, your employees will benefit greatly from automated processes. What once was done manually can now be handled by software. The application will have encoded rules that will take the burden of monotonous tasks from staff and let them focus on more value-added activities.
Disadvantages of Custom Software Development
Time of development
Before you decide to adopt a custom solution, you’ve got to realize that building a bespoke application is a time-consuming process. It involves different stages, which start with the discussion of the app’s vision and requirements. After this, developers, designers, and other participants of the process set to work. They create mockups, write code, test functionality, and do other activities to ensure you get an application that works smoothly.
Therefore the selection of custom software development partner has to be careful and well analyzed process.
The Complexity of Technology Choices
Picking the right technology stack is one of the most important steps one should take when developing a winning digital solution. After all, the point is not just about building a convenient UX and appealing UI. First and foremost, the custom app should be stable, secure, and maintainable. So, along with winning customers’ minds, it should also be able to address core business challenges and scale with the company’s changing needs. At this point, the right technology can help deliver a solution that will meet the requirements and enable your organization to achieve set goals.
Custom app development is a complicated process requiring solid skills, so it can’t be a cheap service. Undoubtedly, this solution is more expensive than off-the-shelf apps, but when the ROI is huge, your investment will pay back very soon.
Need for Support
When you use applications from third-party vendors, you eliminate the need to have in-house support to address issues with the software. You can contact the support center of the service provider and get answers to these questions.
While you can still outsource managed services from development companies to maintain your custom software as your organization becomes in charge of the app’s performance and functionality, you are still responsible for app performance and operation.
The Hardships of Building Custom Software
Custom software engineering process comes with its own set of challenges that may make a complex thing even more cumbersome.
For example, a low budget can be one of the most significant roadblocks on the way to successful app delivery. It may limit the range of features you can incorporate or make you cut the cost in other ways, sacrificing the UI or UX side of the solution. Luckily, there are solutions to this issue, including:
- Software development outsourcing/offshoring/nearshoring
- API-first development
- Low-code development
The lack of talent is another hurdle that may affect the quality of a custom solution you will get. Businesses report that the skills gap makes them struggle to create, deploy, and support their applications. While recruiting and training in-house developers can not be the best solution in terms of time and budget, the company can think of the following options to get the right people to work on their project:
- Staff augmentation and talent acquisition
- Dedicated teams
- Software development outsourcing/offshoring/nearshoring
As a matter of fact, custom development outsourcing serves as a remedy to the issues companies may face when bringing to life their urge to get a solution that addresses their unique needs.
Outsourcing Custom Software Development
When a third-party company develops custom software for you, it means that you resort to outsourcing development services. This solution has an ample amount of advantages, including cost reduction, improved efficiency, and mitigated risk. At the same time, you can get experienced developers to work on your project without the need to hire them full-time. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that such companies as Microsoft, Apple, IBM, and more outsource their custom software development.
When you decide to contract development work to a third party, it’s better to get to know which country is the best for outsourcing your business activities. Numerous resources agree that Ukraine offers tons of benefits to companies deciding on this offshore development destination due to more affordable labor and deep IT expertise. Also, Ukraine is becoming more attractive for outsourcing development services due to the government’s support.
At the same time, while outsourcing is perceived as a cost-saving app development strategy, time difference between Ukraine and the USA can be a crucial factor for some decision-makers even despite the developers’ expertise.
However, to understand the full landscape of outsourcing perks in the modern paradigm, let’s take a closer look at the global outsourcing software development view. We will detail the key outsourcing areas companies can benefit from when embracing technology.
Breaking Down Outsourcing Custom Software Development Services
Scaling The Team up and Down for Rapid Flexibility
When companies hire in-house developers, this step involves supporting, educating, and onboarding new staff members. While outsourcing stakeholders hold these responsibilities too, they share them with a partner. However, the most important thing is that the process of finding and integrating the right talent into the workflows is significantly simplified and optimized.
For example, your company wants to add 2-3 developers to the team. Instead of initiating the recruiting process, paying bonuses to headhunters, waiting for the transition, and so on, you get access to a wide range of talents, all without going the extra mile to achieve the same results.
Talent Pool and Quality Access for Growth Alignment
When you outsource development services from a trusted partner, you unlock access to the pool of established talents mixed together to work on a variety of projects. This way, you will hire a squad with profound expertise and vast experience in custom app development to bring value to your project.
The development service provider will remove the major headaches associated with quality control, competency check-ins, and professional growth you would face when running an in-house team.
Tax Policies, Social and Medical Package
Outsourcing is all about giving you maximum value with minimal hassle from your side. When you choose this approach for building your custom app, you do not worry about tax, medical insurance, social packages, or bonuses for your in-house team.
While building custom software is a serious investment, there are ways you can cut the final cost of your project. Undoubtedly, the total amount of money you will pay for the custom app will depend on the service level, talent seniority, and experience. But it will be good to know that your savings can be from 20% to 40% between Ukraine and the United States (depending on the state and labor market conditions). This way, outsourcing services from Ukrainian IT companies deliver strategic economic value to the company.
Pandemic has changed the way we live and made us accommodate new conditions. Digital communication has become a norm, which enables close cooperation with overseas partners. For example, at HebronSoft, we organize online calls that bring the same value as offline meetings. By bringing together proper management, planning, and skills of setting up communication, outsourcing companies ensure the distance does not affect interaction with Clients.
Collaborating with the software development partner relieves you from the need to establish an internal system for managing and supporting employees. Along with talents who will work on your project, you also acquire a well-managed team with at least two levels of engagement – HR and the delivery organization. The technology partner will have an in-house motivation system, personal growth programs, quality improvement guidelines, and other instruments for team management and nurturing.
Benefits of Outsourcing Custom Application Development
While we already vaguely covered some of the perks of hiring an outsourcing development company for your custom app building project, we want to show you more advantages of this solution.
- NDA protected process. – You will sign a contract establishing confidential relationships between the parties in terms of the use of confidential, proprietary information, or trade secrets.
- Intellectual property ownership by client. – This type of partnership involves that the copyright for the digital product will belong to your company.
- Full control of the product development cycle. – As a product owner, your company will manage the development process from A to Z.
- Dynamic team capacity management & advanced scalability. – The outsourcing model allows you to extend the development team or decrease the number of talents working on the project at the company’s demand.
- Connection with top talents. – Your company gets connected with a large talent pool of experts working in the app delivery industry for years.
- Latest technologies application. – Outsourcing IT companies keep their employees in the loop of the latest trends in app development, so your company will benefit from the knowledge and skills of specialists implementing cutting-edge technology.
- Advantage from time zone differences. – When you choose to work with offshore companies, the difference in time zones can give an advantage by extending minimum 6 hours of productivity.
- Better product quality. – As experienced and skilled specialists with deep expertise in the app development niche will be implementing your project, this will result in a product of better quality.
- Project risk mitigation. – The outsourcing company will assess the risks and adjust the project scope to eliminate the possible pitfalls and bottlenecks.
- Higher resource involvement. – Leverage the resources of the IT service provider to get a custom solution that addresses your needs.
- Swift time-to-market. – When speed matters and you would like to adopt custom software within the shortest time, a reliable outsourcing partner will ensur you launch the product as soon as possible.
- Maintenance & support of the solution. – Apart from developing and deploying a custom application, outsourcing partners will also maintain and support it on your request to ensure its smooth operation.
- Concentration on core business processes. – When you entrust the development process to professionals, you can focus on core business operations essential for its performance.
Custom Software Development Cost
The price range of custom software development is vast, depending on several factors. First, app complexity is a crucial factor. The number of features and functions, the complexity of design, the database complexity, third-party integrations, and other parameters will impact how much you will pay for the custom-tailored solution.
But as we already mentioned, the development company’s location should also be taken into account. The developers’ hourly rate depends on the region, so here is what you can expend from IT organizations that are located in different countries.
Wrapping It Up
Custom app development is a complicated process that is worth every single effort you invest in it. Since it involves building a solution tailored to the needs of your business, it is going to give your staff or customers unique tools that will cover their demands.