Are you looking for software to implement in your daily business operations? You can either invest in mass-market software such as commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions, build on free open-source software, or develop a custom software solution based on your unique requirements.
Custom software caters to the specific needs of an individual or a company. While many businesses across multiple industries benefit from custom software, it may not be the best fit for every business.
While improving efficiency is the primary goal for every small business, there are several different methods a company can adopt to achieve the goal. One of the most effective ones is to customize your company software to conform to your organization's objectives, goals, and missions.
In this article, we’re offering you a guide on custom software to help you understand what custom software is, common types of custom software, and why you should have one built for your company.
What Is Custom Software?
Custom software, alternatively known as a custom program or tailor-made software is a tool made for an individual or a business to perform specific tasks catering to their requirements.
For example, if you have a home business, you may hire someone to create custom software for your business to help print and view invoices. To put it simply, custom tools are programs that do exactly what you need, not most of what you need.
Common Types of Custom Software
Content Management System (CMS)
CMS is specifically designed to assist companies to update their own websites with new content, without the help of any developer. While most businesses can use a free or paid CMS package, some businesses may need a custom-built CMS to meet their specific requirements.
Customer Relationships Management Systems (CRM)
A CRM system is a perfect solution for businesses to keep track of the customers, referrals, prospective customers, vendors, competitors, other companies, or people they do business with. And if you find none of the available CRM tools helpful, you can choose to have one developed specifically to suit your business needs.
Enterprise Resource Planning Software (ERP)
ERP Software assists businesses to manage day-to-day operations like accounting, procurement, supply chain management, and more. To combine a bunch of business processes into one easy-to-use system and eliminate unnecessary data duplication, a custom-built ERP system can be developed.
Operations Management Software (OMS)
OMS offers a wide spectrum of services to a business, such as automating manufacturing capabilities and managing business processes. However, OMS is mainly developed to deliver the best result to customers, and ensure effective and efficient business operations.
Today a lot of businesses depend on the sale of products along with providing services. Having an online store integrated into the company website is a great way to boost revenue streams in these circumstances. While some simple e-commerce solutions exist and satisfy your needs, businesses have more complex requirements. You can consider having custom e-commerce software designed and built for your business to fulfill these specific complicated needs.
Why Should You Develop A Custom Software for Your Business
Businesses may have drastically different needs based on their size, product, and industry. Many businesses, especially SMBs need to be more adaptive and have to adjust strategies as per market requirements.
Custom Software is a rising trend among small business owners, thanks to newer businesses. Younger SMBs are more inclined to utilize technology to help grow their businesses.
Here are a few reasons to have custom software developed for your business.
Provides Unique Solutions
Custom software is initially a little more expensive than off-the-shelf software. This is because bespoke software helps solve specific challenges and comes with unique solutions for your business.
Well-designed software can be a solid foundation for your company’s operations. Before developing your custom software make sure to identify exact requirements, calculate development cost and maintenance cost, and consider time-to-market. The best part is that you can upgrade your custom software anytime in the future.
Works The Way You Want
Many small business owners face a common problem while using ready-made solutions: they are forced to change some of their business processes to fully utilize the tool.
On the contrary, custom software specifically accommodates your particular business requirements. As a result, the final solution will be based on the inputs you provided during the development stages. It makes sure the final product will work as you want. This will simplify the entire procedure and save time and effort.
Shows Minimal Interface Problems
As custom business applications are created following specific requirements, you may encounter fewer complications compared to ready-made software. Moreover, it is very simple to use and takes minimal training efforts to learn how to use the program. This is due to the range of features that are exclusive to your company.
Furthermore, the application is tailored for each department of your organization. Hence, everyone in your company will have a clear understanding of how the program works, and so there will be no interface problems with this bespoke business application.
Offers Clear Business Model
To obtain a competitive advantage and consistently meet company objectives, you must identify ways to improve business efficiency and minimize operating expenses. Using custom software, your employees will save a lot of time by not having to perform things manually, and they will be able to receive the information they need right away.
Moreover, sales and marketing reports and data can be accomplished in minutes. This allows you to repurpose your workforce for higher-priority tasks. Bespoke software can simplify your business model and strategies, and increase the overall productivity of business verticals.
Enhances Business Security
Custom business apps will keep your company's information and processes confidential. A bespoke application's improved security is always the first, as no other business will utilize it.
Most importantly, companies outside of your organization will not be able to obtain insight into how your company functions from the inside. Custom software will be a far less appealing target for hackers since it will take significantly more work to understand how to penetrate the system.
Offers Quick Reporting
Instead of spending hours sifting through excel sheets and doc files, your custom solution can provide you with a summary report from which you can extract all of the essential inputs and efficiently use them to reach your goals.
Maintains Lower Cost
Sometimes the cost associated with developing custom software is higher than purchasing a COTS system, but sometimes that’s not the case. It depends on your specific requirements.
However, the long-term benefit of investing in developing a custom product is far more valuable than simply purchasing a ready-made product.
Ensures Higher Integration
Custom software is an excellent solution for integrating corporate programs. Businesses require a variety of software solutions for various departments. This enables you to integrate all of them into a single integrated system capable of managing various processes. You can get better outcomes and control and manage the entire business from a centralized system this way.
Guarantees Great Scalability
Custom software is more scalable than COTS software. As custom software developers operate on a long-term basis, they can easily scale the software to meet the needs and size of the organization. Moreover, this fits your company's demands while allowing your organization to expand without being constrained by your software.
Provides Unmatched Support
One of the most significant advantages of having a custom business application is an unrivaled and extremely efficient technical support plan. You will get access to a fully functional support team that was engaged in the development process. All of your issues may be handled quickly and effectively. By using this, your company can more efficiently optimize its operations and functionalities.
Despite all of these perks of custom software, you might still have a question in the back of your head...
Isn’t Custom Software Expensive?
Developing custom software is often considered expensive compared to readymade solutions available in the market. This might be true in regards to software that meets your most common and basic business needs.
However, when a business gets complicated, custom software becomes a necessity.
In many cases, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) systems need complex setup processes to function properly in the context of a specific user's business. This might include asking full-time employees to stop what they're doing for weeks, to customize the new solution, and it could even require recruiting outside specialists. So much for a ready-made solution.
Furthermore, the cost of setup, maintenance, and any opportunity costs resulting from associated delays might easily outweigh the initial cost of custom software development.
Aside from the setup costs, off-the-shelf solutions frequently include per-user, per-month costs, which tend to increase in tandem with the number of users. And every time the business that makes your COTS solution updates the software, you have to spend even more time and resources to make sure that the new version of the solution satisfies your requirements and is equally compatible with any other programs you are currently using.
Custom Software vs Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Software: Which Suits Your Business?
When choosing a business intelligence solution, one way or another, you will face a dilemma between developing your own custom solution or limiting yourself to existing tools. The constant conflict between custom solutions and programs for general use impacts many aspects, including business intelligence.
The reasons are the same as they have always been: with all of the tools and solutions available, it is impossible to please everyone and meet the demands of every business.
Let's take a deeper look at the comparison of bespoke and COTS in the field of business intelligence systems to determine which option is preferable for your business.
- Custom Software is designed to solve unique problems in a specific situation. In addition, it provides an almost perfect solution to your problem. On the contrary, off-the-shelf tools only solve the most common and generic solutions and don’t ensure accuracy.
- Custom Software can be easily modified and expanded, as technology changes very frequently. But the case is somewhat different for COTS systems.
- Custom Software offers a competitive advantage. What your competitors have, what they lack, if it is well thought out, you can even see that whether you have bypassed them. Mass market software usually doesn’t offer this service.
- While ready-made software is designed for quick installation and use, Custom Software initially requires time and money.
- However, ready-made solutions mostly need to be configured individually and may not be compatible with your current systems, which eliminates the advantage in speed. There is no such issue for Custom Software.
- The serial nature of off-the-shelf software leads to the low initial cost of most off-the-shelf solutions. However, the initial cost is much greater in the case of Custom Software.
- Initially, COTS can be cheap to buy, but over time, when the number of subscribers increases, that becomes costlier. But the scenario is the opposite for Custom Software.
- Finally, COTS systems may cost a little less than a custom solution, but it is half or less efficient. And there is a chance of losing all the money you originally saved.
The dilemma of choosing commercial off-the-shelf software or custom software is a never-ending saga. Off-the-shelf software frequently falls short of fulfilling special requirements and comes with several unused features inside.
On the other hand, custom software enables businesses to digitalize their operations and caters to needs and requirements as the business demands.
If you are looking for an expert platform to develop your custom software solution based on your specific business needs, you can definitely give PolyUno a shot! PolyUno provides a wide range of services including smooth data sharing, software integration, augmented communication, and much more.
PolyUno also provides free consultation services to discuss your project with experts. Contact PolyUno today to build an adaptable, scalable, revenue and conversion-focused custom software solution for your business