Meaning of custom software and custom software development?
In this modern business era, the term “custom” is widely used. It is due to the immense competition that businesses are now going for customized things in order to bring uniqueness to their brand.
Custom software, also known as “bespoke software” refers to a solution that is specifically been created for a certain startup or business. It is different from the mass-market software or SAAS products, that are broadly used by everyone.
The mass-market software is unable to fulfil the demands of the modern-day business and thus startups are bound to hire IT specialists to achieve their ambitious goals.
Thus, the main purpose of the custom software development is to meet the unique requirements of any business like an app for online banking created to cater to the unique needs of its customers. This bespoke software can be used for both existing businesses and new startups.
Process of creating the custom software creation for a new startup will involve all those steps required for general software such as planning, development, deployment and maintaining in a fully agile manner.
The need for customized software
Today, every other new brand is bombarded with a huge number of rivals. To gain a competitive edge against them and to stand out of the mob, one needs to have its unique identity.
This identity can only be achieved by bringing efficiency and effectiveness in business. For this, one need to focus on the unique functions of its business and custom software is the one that brings ease in these unique requirements.
When the unique set of requirements is focused and operated smartly, the business achieves efficiency and thus the overall cost is automatically reduced. This is turn reduces the final price, thus making a list of happy customers.
This is the reason why companies are paying hefty bucks for getting tailor-made software. In order to meet the requirements of modern business and to stay active in the competitive area, it is imperative to get customized software and bring a high level of efficiency in business operations.
Process of developing custom software
The process of custom software development is divided into different phases, each having its own importance. These phases are:
All information related to the business vision and mission gathered. Focus is made on areas that need software assistance.
Signing an agreement
A formal agreement is signed for the safety of both, client and software development company.
The project development
There are different approaches to the software development process. We have old one like a waterfall and it's variations, but in modern days, all the software bigger than 1 day of development is created in an agile manner. We speak more about our approach in another article.
Feedback and testing
During the development process, everything is thoroughly tested both by developers, testers and clients. During this period, if the
Once the software is successfully developed, a commitment is made regarding the future maintenance of the software if needed by the client.
Who should you choose for a bespoke software? Freelancer or Software Company?
It is easier to find a freelancer for your customized software and he will charge pocket-friendly prices. It's often a good choice for small projects. You do not have to (but it’s strongly advised) go through the whole formal process of signing a contract and you may get your work done in a few days.
However, as we look at the other side of the picture we find that freelancers are sometimes not much professional. They can disappear in seconds and all your company’s information can be at stake. Freelancers do not promise to assist in the future maintenance of software and lack of diverse experience.
Going for a software company looks fancy as it is a proper and professional unit. A software company has an entire team for software developers and it has experience in various fields.
By keeping its promise of maintaining long term relationships, they are ideal for big as well as new startups that think seriously about their projects.
The cost of the development within the actual company might be bigger than with a freelancer, but you are paying for their experience, shared knowledge and expertise in a much bigger number of problems solved.
Checklist for selecting a good software company
When you have a huge list of software houses (another name for companies doing custom software development) to choose from, finding the right one seems to be a daunting task. Go through this quick checklist before making a final decision:
- Make sure that the software house is well-reputed in the market and has a commendable portfolio e.g. you can verify this on the clutch.co
- Do not forget to go through the testimonials
- Check their former projects and if there is something similar to your idea, ask for a presentation
- Compare rates with other top-notch software houses
- Inquire about the technology used in developing custom software
- Discuss the time-frame and future support or retainer contact option
- Good software houses always provide in-depth consultancy
- See if they are ready to assist in future maintenance
How much will I pay for the custom software development
In general, there are 2 main ways of creating software, plus a couple of variations between. Let me explain.
Means that you are signing the contract for a certain amount of money, for the development scope you need.
This option might work with small projects like websites development, plugins, extensions, integrations etc. Projects, where the scope is very well defined and both sides can identify if the final result is what was in the contract.
If the scope is not extremely clear, all the risk about any delay is on the software development company, and of course, because it's business, taking the risk cost extra margin.
This option is a bad idea for any projects, where anything is an assumption - what do I mean by that - when you are imagining some application, how the UI will work, how your users will use it, what problems might it solve etc. then we are talking about assumptions.
It is a bad idea because in most cases fixed-price equals fixed scope. It means, that even if at some point your first users will say, that this functionality is useless and they need something else - the scope must be renegotiated, cause it changed.
The second model is much more flexible and is dedicated exactly for situations like this.
Time and material / hourly basis
With this option, you are signing the contract describing a general scope of the project and the payments are done based on the actual number of hours worked by the software development company.
This might sound risky, but it is the healthiest way of creating any software. Let me tell you why.
With this assumption, the whole development is a continuous process of adding features to the main application and filling your requirements. Step by step, the developers are giving you a better version of your product, which you can test on a daily basis.
More than that - you can control the process at any stage. When after a month from the development start, you will start showing it to the first end-users, you can get their feedback and apply it to the app.
You can change the priorities and how things should be created - everything is flexible.
The most important thing - you are ending with a product you and your customers alike, not with a piece of software that was imagined and after the contract is fulfilled, half of the features are going straight to the bin, and another quarter must be re-implemented because users said so.
In short, custom software is the dire need for all startups in today’s business world. A proficient software house can hone business operations by providing tailor-made software. Thus, achieving goals will be easier.
I hope this article will help you understand, how the development of custom software works, and you will choose the company wisely <wink wink>