Custom Product Development

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Custom Product Development Buyers Guide

Companies that require specific software solutions that cannot be addressed off-the-shelf usually commission developers to make custom software.

  • Custom software/product development’s purpose is to create unique technological solutions
  • Custom software development solutions are usually more expensive than off-the-shelf software
  • Custom software development requires a lot of planning and background research

The design of software tailored specifically to an individual’s needs or group of individuals within an organization is called custom software development. As a result, this software meets those users’ specific needs better than less specialized software designed for everyday use. A third-party or internal development team typically develops custom software for that specific customer and is not packaged for resale.

Custom Software Development vs. Off-The-Shelf Software

Off-the-shelf software consists of a package of software applications that are offered to a mass market with differing requirements. Adobe Photoshop, for example, addresses the diverse needs of its users in a way that is designed for a mass market. The software, however, doesn't cater to the specific groups or needs of customers, as well as a custom software would.

Custom software development constitutes commissioning, developing, and releasing customized software products to a single entity, team, or organization. A company such as Walmart Inc. might use an application designed for that company and their departments. Because the software is customized to work exclusively for that organization's infrastructure, branding, and implementation needs, it works only for them since it is only usable within that organization.

Custom Software Development Advantages

One of the major benefits of a customized software is that it offers features that store-bought software does not. Once the solution is implemented, an application tailored to your organization's needs helps boost productivity and improves operations.

When a software application increases efficiency or increases productivity internally, its cost is usually offset by the promise of increased productivity. It's a smart course of action to tailor a solution to specific needs if your business has specific needs that can’t be catered to by off-the-shelf software.

Custom Software Development Disadvantages

Off-the-shelf software are usually less expensive than custom software development solutions. Most off-the-shelf software cost prices range under $100.

The cost of creating customized software is increased because of the additional cost of design and development teams. The costs associated with a custom software development project must be covered when you decide to begin the development process. Often, the final software’s final cost can reach up to five figures for complex software development.

Because the cost is spread among many users, it is possible for companies that create off-the-shelf software to offer their products at a low price. Contrary to that, custom software are only developed for one user: you.

Custom software development also carries a variety of risks. In order to create the perfect product, you need to understand your requirements in detail and communicate them clearly to the product team.

During the development process, it is common for new needs to emerge, and these add additional costs to the project. Project scope can be lost when frequent changes occur, and the outcome may be inadequate or different from what you expected.

Custom Software Development Services

You have to be careful when choosing a company for custom software development for your business. You must research the companies that bid on your work and choose a company that guarantees the right price and quality of service. A software development company typically meets their clients to assess their needs and decide the total amount of work required to design and develop the software.

Next, the bidders consider how much time and money your project requires to develop as well as what it will cost.

Note: A variety of projects may require extra time and resources, so these bids are not fixed.

The cheapest company is not always the best option. Many businesses make the mistake of going after the cheapest option and live to regret it later on. So always make sure you choose the custom software development company that provides the maximum value.

Five Best Practices for Developing Custom Software

1. Establish Your Current Requirements, and Define Future Needs.

You need to describe your current processes, your expectations, and the metrics by which you will evaluate success before you can build software. Project managers can use Six Sigma strategies that include "Define" in their project management process. To maximize value, you need to know your:

  • Current Processes: Don't just guess what your processes are. Talk to the people in your company who do it on a day-to-day basis
  • Need for Implementing a Custom Software: Again, don't presume something will become better. At the very least, get stakeholder feedback from all levels to test the theory
  • Where You Want to be: Outline the desired workflows and processes to be supported by the software

2. Hire the Right Team to Carry Out Your Project.

The following individuals can develop custom software:

  • Your internal IT team
  • 3rd party teams, you hired for this job
  • Custom software development companies

When it comes to saving money, it's tempting to claim you'll handle everything yourself. You may encounter drawbacks if you use your own IT team for this purpose. Firstly, your internal team might have already had their tasks. If you pull them away, there’s a pretty good chance your business processes might be affected. Secondly, the technical personnel at your company may lack development skills and/or experience.

The best way to do this is to outsource it. You can work with service-oriented teams who have succeeded in the design and implementation of other software. If you need products specific to your industry, you can find a company specializing in them.

3. Come Up With a Plan and Realistic Milestones.

Put together a team that includes your developers, industry experts, and project managers who’ll be responsible for leading and guiding the initiative. Develop a roadmap and a timeline for your project together. Make sure your plan is realistic; for example, a complex workflow and delivery system cannot be implemented in one week.

Stay on course by planning milestones. It’s essential to understand how much work is involved in each schedule milestone to determine whether any adjustments need to be made to the timetable or budget.

4. Test Your Software Before Implementing.

You should test the new software before implementing it across your organization. There are two types of testing:

  • Technical testing: This involves developers, and IT experts check the functionality and foundational elements of your software
  • User testing: This involves taking a subset of users from your audience and understanding if the software meets their requirements in terms of usability or not

5. Document Everything.

Throughout development and implementation, documentation is imperative. Your goal is to assess what your needs are and what you’ve done to meet those needs. It describes the details of the project, your responsibilities, and sets dates.

Conclusion - Find the Right Partner For Your Business

Custom software development solutions allow your company to use technologies to develop a tailor-made solution that focuses on solving your specific problems.

In this guide, we’ve talked about some of the advantages and disadvantages of having a custom software/product development solution. However, most of the disadvantages that we’ve talked about can be minimized with the right custom software development company.

Finding the right partner to help you build your custom software is only the first step. After that, you’ll need to follow our best practices for developing, testing, and implementing a custom software development solution. These best practices are designed to simplify and streamline your development operations.