Digital technology is everywhere around us in our daily lives from watching online entertainment to scheduling our commuter trains or traffic lights. In fact, we wouldn’t last very long with a digital blackout. However, what does this specifically mean when we mention custom software solutions? What’s the difference between off-the-shelf and what does a custom software development company do?
Put very simply, a custom software development company designs, creates, implements and maintains computer programs for businesses or individuals. The overall goal is to make things more efficient and easier to use. In addition, a custom solution refers to is a one-off design that solves a specific problem. In contrast, ‘off-the-shelf’, like your standard Microsoft package, means that everyone has access to the same thing. Let’s break this down into more details though.
What does a Custom Software Development Company Do?
- Software Product Development
- Integration and Modernization
- Software Architecture
- Optimization and Maintenance
Software Product Development
Depending on your business challenges and market niche, you might need an ecommerce platform or a business process automation system. A custom solution gives you a unique approach to these needs. Furthermore, the final product from a custom software development company is yours alone. You can therefore have something that fits your business and customers perfectly such that you stand out from the crowd. Custom-made customer portals can also give you that edge because people remember the look and feel of their experience.
Integration and Modernization
It’s normal for businesses to grow quickly and install off-the-shelf software along the way. Then one day, they realize that they have lots of different software that works in isolation. This doesn’t help create a smooth business flow and adds a huge amount of waste along the value chain. A custom software development company will therefore analyze the business’s current state and propose solutions that can integrate and improve your current operations. You’ll give your business a huge boost because the final outcome will be a unified, fully integrated and highly efficient system.
Imagine a train system across a city with all the stations, lines and stopping points to enable it to function properly. The software system is basically the same. Furthermore, this architecture needs to be designed with the right relationships and rules across each hardware point. A custom software development company ensures that they design this system so that it can evolve for future business growth by being flexible and scalable. This is something that you simply can’t achieve with off-the-shelf parts.
Optimization and Maintenance
Like anything, things can go wrong, but the great advantage of working with a custom software development company is that they’ll pre-empt issues. Post-implementation, a custom software development company works with you and your teams to determine the best maintenance plan for your needs. They’ll make sure that hardware is changed before it breaks and that software is upgraded to stay ahead of the curve. It’s a never-ending journey throughout which your business will constantly be optimized.
Benefits of Custom Software Solutions
- Flexibility (scale and integration)
- Competitive Advantage
Your overall software solution drives business efficiency because it’s designed as a whole system. On the other hand, a jumble of different off-the-shelf parts adds inefficiencies to your business because they’re not designed to talk to each other. Also, you usually pay for lots of features that you don’t necessarily need but that are included to try to cater for as many people as possible.
A custom software development company designs the system architecture to be flexible for future upgrades and requirement changes. They’ll also include room for growth based on your strategy.
A custom software development company isn’t just a technical partner but also a strategic one. They’ll be your guide throughout the process and advise you on how your solutions might serve your industry niche. Due to their experience across companies and industries, they’ll have insight that you won’t necessarily have.
Off-the-shelf solutions serve a great function and can be a very useful quick-fix solution. However, due to their mass availability, they tend to be at the centre of cyber crime. It makes more sense for hackers to target products used by greater volumes of people and businesses. You can also strategize with your custom software development company on extra security should you think your business needs it.
Final Thoughts on the Role of a Custom Software Development Company
It might be tempting to consider an off-the-shelf product because it’s readily available. However, a custom software development company provides so much more than just a product. They become a strategic partner to provide something that can support and drive your long-term growth. They’ll develop a solution that’s unique to your business and brings you a competitive advantage that your competitors can only dream of.