Over the last few decades, software engineering has seen massive growth. The number of software developers and available jobs has been increasing drastically. According to Evans Data Corporation, in 2019, there were 26.4 million developers worldwide. The number is expected to increase to 28.7 million by 2024. The job market is also expanding in the development sector. According to statistics quoted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of software development jobs are expected to increase by 26% from 2016 to 2026.
In the software engineering world, there are several strategies you can choose while developing a software tool. One of the commonly used techniques is custom software development.
What is Custom Software Development?
Custom software development can be described as a process of designing, building, deploying, and maintaining a software tool for a particular user group. Contrary to the commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS), custom software development focuses on a set of specific requirements and rules that are established by the user group in question. It follows the same steps as any other development project; however, it differs majorly in its aim and narrowly focused guidelines.
There are many benefits of going for custom development for your project. To delve into some of them:
Efficiency: Efficiency is one of the most significant selling points of custom software development. Since the requirements are more narrowly focused, the software is purpose-built to provide efficiency and increased productivity.
Low integration costs: For commercial software, integration is a big issue. Developers need to make sure the software is compatible with existing applications. If there is an issue, there are numerous added integration costs that can disrupt the overall budget. In custom development, you can build the software to integrate into the intended environment easily.
Scalability: Another critical benefit of custom-developed software is its ability to grow as your business expands or changes. Future requirements can be assessed beforehand, and the factors can be integrated into the mainframe of the software. That reduces the recurring costs of changing license packages of third-party services.
Independence: Having your own software means you can build it to your organization’s needs precisely. Further, there are not third-party costs, which helps saves a lot of money. However, on the other hand, it does have its added maintenance and upgrade costs.
Profitability: Custom-designed software can help you earn profits, primarily if your business owns it. Based on the structure of your venture, you can sell or license it to other organizations as well.
Security: Since the software is designed specifically for a user group, it has its added security, protecting it against malware attacks. You can also add custom security measures to your application without extensive costs.
How to Build Effective Custom Software?
There are several features you should consider before starting your development process. The following tips can undoubtedly come in handy to make the process effective:
Build vs. Buy: Before you dive into the development process, weigh the pros and cons of building or buying the product. If your requirements can be satisfied with a licensed product, there is no need to build your own software. A build vs. buy analysis can help decide which path to choose, preventing overhead costs in the future.
Requirements: You need to define the requirements before starting the development process. It would help if you had a clear idea of what is expected from the software, the functional and the non-functional requirements, and what methodologies to choose. Starting the development without any prior planning can significantly impact the quality of the product.
Collaboration: Collaborate with the key individuals in your organization before making a decision. Sharing ideas and presenting opinions can help shape the software to fit the needs of your business best. It can also help increase the responsiveness and quality of the end product.
The key individuals can include developers, users, sponsors, or business partners.
Once the requirements are defined, the next step is to select the development methodology that can help deliver efficient and useful software. There are numerous development technologies to consider:
Agile Development: In Agile development, the features are implemented incrementally. The technique focuses on the concept of iterative development, where the requirements are implemented one after the other. There is also a feedback loop that helps fix bugs simultaneously.
Rapid Application Development (RAD): RAD is a type of agile development that focuses on rapid prototype releases. It follows a non-linear approach that prioritizes user feedback over development planning.
DevOps: DevOps is a subtype of agile development that combines software development and IT operations. It provides continuous delivery of the software and shortens the overall development cycle.
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe): SAFe allows the developers to scale agile development to a larger body, for instance, a global team. It gives flexibility and helps cater to the problems large organizations face while using a simple, agile methodology.
Pros & Cons
- Includes all your requirements
- Does not have unnecessary features
- Easy to scale
- Complete ownership of the software
- No licensing costs
- Relatively more flexible as compared to other development techniques
- Development is a time-intensive process
- Can have a higher initial investment
- No refunds in case it does not turn out as planned
- No free trial
- Support is not readily available
- Risk of disrupting the budget
Custom software development is an excellent way of getting all your requirements in one software platform. It removes licensing costs and reliance on third-party applications. However, it does come with some added maintenance costs. If you have a set of unique requirements that are not offered by any other service at an affordable rate, custom development is an optimal choice. At Texas Software, our experts have extensive experience and knowledge on custom software development projects. Should you have any further questions, you are welcome to reach out to Texas Software experts for assistance.
Contact us for a free evaluation to discover your options for developing a custom software solution!