Businesses in modern times come with modern needs. Quite naturally, these modern needs require advanced approaches and solutions for the best results. Be it large corporations, SMEs, or startups, the need for software solutions has risen in the global market across different industries. But when it comes to software development, choices differ from business to business. While enterprises’ choice is between the conventional ready-made solutions and the customized approach, startups and SMEs are more likely to focus on a considerable leap of faith.

Every business has pre-decided objectives and operational goals that it intends to achieve within a stipulated timeline. There are a variety of questions that might come to one’s mind when going for customized solutions. How long will it take to develop the software? How usable will it be? What will be the cost? Will it efficiently serve the needs of the business?

To answer all of that, we have discussed the most important things you need to know about your business’s custom software development and scope. Being tailored for specific business needs and requirements, custom software development is in high demand amongst modern businesses. Most entrepreneurs believe that custom software development is the most effective way to meet their businesses’ unique requirements cost-effectively. Let’s have a look at what custom software development actually means, including how custom software compares with commercial ready-made software. 

What is custom software development: How does it compare with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software?

Before we head on to custom software development, what must be said is businesses are making higher and more consistent investments in improvised digital solutions. The digital space has become a great way to simplify business operations as well as explore new revenue streams. Any business that wants to go digital in a full-fledged manner will get several tech industry options. 

Going for readymade solutions and digital tools sometimes doesn’t meet the specific business requirements as they are designed for generic needs and not for unique ones. This is where business owners can consider custom software development for a more personalized experience. 

Custom software and its development are also termed as bespoke software. It refers to the process of Ideation, designing, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance of software that is created for the needs of a specific set of users, functions, or organization. 

Coming to a comparison with commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS), commercial software is designed to meet some generalized needs of businesses and operations. On the other hand, custom software is designed to handle more specific and targeted business requirements that make it an ideal choice for a narrowly defined set of needs or operational objectives.

Let’s talk about the examples of both Custom Software and COTS:

COTS

  • An antivirus software
  • An HR software like Namely or accounting software like QuickBooks or an eCommerce software like BigCommerce can be the examples of COTS serving a particular set of needs in specific fields.

These are generic software solutions that can handle generalized tasks, functions, and operations in a specific field. In modern times, when SaaS is democratizing access to technology for companies of all sizes and creating a considerable increase in their operations’ efficiency, accessibility, productivity, the ready-made solutions with SAAS integration can hugely benefit the businesses.

For instance, BigCommerce can be useful for eCommerce site development tasks and SAAS products like Quickbooks, Jira, Tableau, GDrive, etc. can help companies perform various kinds of operations addressing the needs. Although, the needs of the user must match the software features.

Custom Software

  • A service equipment maintenance software made for a particular business
  • An online banking software or app
As we see, in such cases, the software is designed for the specific needs of a business. Like the field service equipment, maintenance software will cater to a manufacturer’s requirements; similarly, the banking app will address the unique needs and specifications of the bank and its customers.  Custom software solutions are designed and developed for a specific business and its customers, enabling much better usability. Such solutions can cater to users’ needs more precisely and offer exclusive, in-depth solutions to particular problems of businesses and their customers and target audience. On the other hand, COTS are made to cater to a broader set of audiences with similar needs. Such solutions and products cannot take care of the specialized needs of an organization and its customers. Looking at the specified details about both COTS and Custom Software with examples, you must be wondering whom to pick. No doubt, both of them have their own significance but, It is important to understand which one will be the right fit for your business requirements. Let’s dig a little deeper and find out. Here we have a few answers to the relevant questions that will clear out your doubts:  

Is it true that a ready-made solution is not a long-term solution?

Whether a commercial off-the-shelf solution will work for you in the long run or not hugely depends on your business type and requirements. If you are an evolving organization with dynamic business needs, you will be needing software that offers scalability and adapts to changes quickly. 

A ready-made solution may provide you with certain possibilities for scalability but It might not necessarily be an ultimate option if your company grows and your system needs timely updates with major changes. It may not be able to keep pace with your changing business environment and may fail to perform in the long term.   

On the other hand, Custom Software is developed with advanced possibilities for scaling hence, may fit into your volatile requirements and work for you for longer.

Along with that, custom software development is generally handled by a third party or even an in-house development team. The best part of such products is the fact that the development process is iterative. These solutions are open to changes, and developers of such customized software or apps keep making changes based on their new or changing behavioral needs and customers. 

This flexibility of custom software development is a great plus point, and the software can be customized as and when needs are identified. This makes a customized software solution the perfect choice for long-term usage and sustainability. 

Why should businesses invest in custom software development?

Digital transformation is the revolution of the 21st century, and more and more businesses of all sizes, across the globe, and in any industry, including startups, SMEs, and large corporations, are investing in new digital solutions. In this digital transformation age, businesses are choosing custom software development services to simplify business operations, offer better services to customers, cost management, new and improved revenue streams, and a range of other benefits. 

Let’s look at the top 10 reasons you should go for custom software development:

1. Flexibility 

A crucial advantage of these software products is their flexibility. Custom software development involves the design and development of software. You can decide the kind of features you want in the software product, and it will be designed from scratch based on the needs of the business. 

Such software solutions enable effective business automation with a customized approach towards business operations. They are designed to address the specific needs of the business. They can be easily updated when there are any changes needed due to business growth, change of operations, services, target market, etc. 

2. Efficiency

Being highly flexible, these software solutions offer superior efficiency and are ideal for handling a range of business requirements in a precise manner. These software or applications are suitable for the automation of repetitive tasks and can enhance operational efficiency and collaboration within an organization. 

The high efficiency of custom software leads to better productivity and profitability for a business organization. This has made custom software development very popular among large organizations as well as startups and SMEs. 

3. Advanced Security

Custom software is much more secure than COTS solutions. These software products are secured through advanced security protocols, and most hackers usually target generic off-the-shelf software as these custom products are much more difficult to breach. You can also integrate more security measures if your business needs them. 

4. Constant Support And Maintenance

Another great advantage of custom software development is that it usually comes with a dedicated support team. This helps in in-depth technical support as well as regular maintenance and updates. Constant and focused support and maintenance for these products enable quickly addressing any technical challenges, failures, or security breaches. 

5. Complete Personalization

From look and feel to automation, these software development solutions enable complete personalization and are built from scratch according to the business’s needs. You can integrate your business’s theme into such customized software products and ensure that your software is optimized for a seamless workflow within your organization. 

With custom software development, you can design and develop software that is optimized for your business model from scratch to automation. 

6. Increased Productivity

Custom software development can benefit your business in several ways and one of the prominent advantages it offers is increased productivity. It streamlines your operations effectively and makes your processes way more efficient. 

7. Complexities in Systems Integration

An off-the-shelf software will involve a lot of complexities when it comes to system integrations. On the other hand, custom software solutions offer seamless and much better integrations with the existing business systems.

8. Scalability restrictions

Custom software development is known for its high scalability, and there are no scalability restrictions for such software or apps, unlike COTS solutions.

9. Future proof innovations

The top feature of custom software development is that it is future-proof. Being optimized and built specifically for particular business processes, this software is always open to changes whenever a specific need is identified. 

10. Compliance with standards and processes

Custom software is entirely personalized and can be built for specific markets and target locations, adhering to the region’s legal standards. The business process compliances can also be integrated into the system to deliver highly functional, efficient, and advanced solutions that enable complete business automation. 

Conclusion

Technology is significantly evolving today’s business models, and when it comes to picking the best one among custom software and COTS for your business, you have to consider the long-term effects they both are going to bring to keep you up with the competition.

COTS products are designed to solve general purposes and to interoperate with existing system components, these solutions are not meant to cater to the specific or personalized needs of businesses, hence may not align well with the individual or unique business functionalities.  

On the other hand, designing your own software that is specifically customized to your unique business needs and focused on scalability and efficiency, can lead you to gain a competitive advantage in the long term. 

From Increased reliability, security, scalability to targeted solutions, custom software has many amazing perks to offer that make it a smart choice for businesses today.