Custom software is a big investment. For that reason alone, many companies choose commercial off the shelf applications (COTS) when they need internal or customer-facing software solutions. The big problem with this money-saving strategy is that the lower up-front cost of COTS applications doesn’t tell the whole story. Working with top consultants that offer custom software services to develop programs unique to your business may cost more in the short term; but it will pay off big time in the form of measurable ROI, time-saved, money-saved, and headaches avoided.
In this post, we share 11 reasons why working with a custom software development company is worth the cost, along with some tips for talking with your custom software service representative when you’re ready to take the plunge.
1. There’s the Obvious Benefit of Experience and Expertise
Commercial software is seldom designed with a particular industry in mind so the programming company behind it may not understand the unique needs of your business. When you’re ready to work with a custom software development service, on the other hand, you can choose one with experience creating applications for your industry or for clients that had similar needs. As a result, your developer may be able to get your application up and running sooner, suggest industry-specific features that might be useful to you, and suggest additional markets you could potentially tap with your software.
2. Your Developer Will See Opportunities You Might Miss
A custom software development company won’t just ask their clients for requirements and start building a program with specs to match them. Throughout the initial stages of development, a software consultant will dive deep into their clients’ business operations, processes, and short- and long-term goals so they can understand exactly what it is they need their software to do. As a result, custom software developers are often able to see opportunities for integration and automation, as well as other enhancements, that the client hasn’t identified yet.
3. You Can Be Sure Your Software Will Meet Your Needs
Commercial off the shelf software is typically designed to either meet one type of need for one type of customer or to meet many needs for many types of customers. That means that these programs are often not customizable at all, or they are so complicated that you need to hire a consultant or a full-time IT person to get them to work for your business.
Working with a reputable custom software service company means that you ultimately receive an application that is as simple or as complex as you need it to be and addresses every challenge you want to solve – no additional tweaking necessary and no additional software necessary. This is important if your company has very specific procedures that must be followed or you have to do business within a stringent set of rules and regulations. Investing in custom software development from the beginning means you’re not paying more later to get that off the shelf solution to work.
4. IT Costs Won’t Spiral Out of Control
As noted above, inflexible commercial software looks inexpensive on paper, but when you factor in the long-term cost of maintenance, working with a custom software development firm starts to look more reasonable. The operational costs associated with commercial enterprise software can be high – especially when you need to build out your in-house IT team to keep your COTS running. On the other hand, when a custom software service builds software that fits your existing businesses processes, chances are that onboarding your employees will be less expensive and you’ll need a lot less maintenance over time.
5. The Process May Be Faster Than You Think
Custom software development has a reputation for being a long, drawn-out process, but the fact is that today’s proven development methodologies make getting products to market fast a priority. Compare that to how long it can take to get a commercial software company to add a feature or to switch between commercial platforms. A great software consulting company will take on every facet of your development project, including project management and maintenance, so you don’t have to split your time between running your business and managing a software project.
6. Your Software Project Is a Team Effort
A great custom software service company will work closely with you during the concept, design, and engineering phases of your project. When you come to a developer in need of an application, your goals become their goals. Their success is measured on your company’s successes. The developer can add their own vision and expertise to your project, while you provide insight into the nitty gritty details of your company’s operations. When developers and businesses work closely together, the result is an application that exceeds your expectations and provides your business with a competitive advantage.
7. You Get Maximum Adaptability
The programmers at a custom software development company will be able to accommodate almost any workflow or process, whether you’re having new software built or updating existing custom software. Need new functionality or to scale? You won’t have to overhaul your entire system or switch to a new platform just to add another process or more users because software created by a custom software development service is built for adaptability. Custom software can easily evolve with your company.
8. Custom Developers Build with Security in Mind
Custom software is always designed with security in mind. The companies that build COTS applications also try to make their programs secure, but the problem is that once a vulnerability is found, everyone who uses that platform is at risk of attack. The code that powers custom applications, on the other hand, is known only to you and to your development firm. Security conscious businesses that handle sensitive customer information often choose custom applications over ready-made programs for this reason, even when custom development is the more expensive choice.
9. You’ll Get the Benefit of the Latest Tech
The custom software development service that you work with will be aware of the latest technology trends and code updates, which means you’ll benefit from the most up-to-date innovations in the software space and the most efficient processes as your project moves forward. You get access to leading-edge technologies without having to make any kind of additional investment.
10. The Competitive Edge Will Be Yours
You gain a competitive edge when you invest in custom software development – even if your competitors have also invested in a custom application. If yours is the only company with custom software, you have an obvious advantage, but if your software differs markedly from that of your competitors, you may still have the advantage if you work with a development firm that has a knack for identifying opportunities for growth, automation, and innovation in your industry.
Want to see some real examples of how working with a custom software development firm can help your business grow? We recently put together a blog post showcasing seven real custom software applications that were game changers for Bitbean clients.
Things to Discuss with Your Custom Software Service Company
The most important thing you can do to ensure that your software project is successful is communicate effectively with your developer. Here are three points you need to address early in the development process.
A reputable custom software development service will be up front with you regarding the cost of your project. You should be equally honest about your budget constraints so there are no mismatched expectations. If you want X, Y, and Z in your application, but you can only afford the price quoted for X, you have some choices to make. You can invest in X and build Y and Z into your application later, or you can look around for a developer whose rates work within your overall budget for the project (including employee training and maintenance).
Timelines and Project Management
When do you need your software to be ready? How closely do you expect to be working with your developer? These are the kinds of things that you need to discuss sooner rather than later, and you need to understand the answers you receive. If your developer seems hesitant to share a project plan with you, consider taking your business elsewhere.
The Contingency Plan
Your developer should be able to tell you how they handle hiccups because the truth is that issues will arise in every software development project. What will happen if the project takes longer than expected or if you decide that you need to update the original requirements. If the project goes over time or over budget, what are your expectations? How does the development firm handle the unexpected?
Sometimes these topics can be uncomfortable to broach, but chances are every software developer you will speak to as you search for the right one has discussed these subjects at length with past clients. Talking about them from the start can save you time, money, and headaches later on, so don’t hesitate to speak your mind and ask any questions you might have.
Want to learn more about additional advantages of custom software? Take the next step and contact Bitbean today!