Off the shelf vs. Customized software
Off- the –shelf software is made with a packaged software application which is available to a big audience with variable and similar fundamental needs. For example, software like Microsoft word is made for the public use to offer the same solutions to all users. However, it does not cater for specific needs like custom-designed software would do.
On the other hand, custom application development consists of developing, commissioning and launching of a software application tailored for the specific and unique entity. For example, software designed for a company financial and human resource needs will be used specifically to serve these departments and cannot be accessed by other department or by an unauthorized person. The software is developed by observing the company branding, infrastructure and keeping its implementation in mind. It means the software is designed for the organization use only.
Benefits of Customized Software Development
The basic benefit of a customized software is the fact it provides different features compared to Off- the –shelf software. Developing an application for your personal or organization needs implies that there will be an increased productivity level. If you employ the use of the custom application development to address an internal need or increase productivity, the cost of developing it is less compared to what you will get because of increased productivity. If your organization or your business has a unique need that requires customized software, then purchasing a customized solution is the right course of action rather than depending on Off- the –shelf software.
Disadvantages of Customized Software
Customized software is more expensive to develop and install compared to Off- the –shelf software that you can purchase from your local shop. The custom software requires a significant amount of resources to design which increases the number of risks and cost. When an organization decides to start developing custom software, it has to incur the costs of the developing process. This cost can be as high depending on the nature of the software. Off- the –shelf software generally comes with a low cost as the cost of developing it is distributed among the many users compared to customized software developed for one user.
The risks involved with customized software differ in accordance with the user being designed for. The purchasing organization needs to have a deep understanding of their requirements and how they need the application to address their needs. In addition, identification of new needs during the development process is common, and it leads to increased costs, efforts, and development time needed to complete the project. The risk involved in frequent changes to the development process can result in loss of project scope and in the end, have a product that does not address the specific needs.
Customized Software Services
Choosing the right custom software development company to create your software application is not an easy task. Most large and small businesses equally must look for a professional company to present their bids for the work, and choose the company that demonstrates its ability to develop the software with the right price that addresses the needs at hand. These companies generally meet with the organization requiring the application to discuss and determine the total cost and amount of work needed to develop the customized software.
After this process, they negotiate on the cost and the time required for delivering the software. These bids are however not fixed as new requirements and issues may arise during the development process and additional costs and time may be required. Selecting the best-customized software development company to deliver your software should not be based on money, but instead on the company that will deliver an application that is flexible and willing to deliver software that will meet your needs.
Software Development Process
When it comes to software development process, both parties start by coming to a consensus on how the success of the software will be measured. Then, they work to understand the current user process, and how users will interact with the current system and what is needed to improve the organizational efficiency. From here, the developing company can develop a project plan that will be directly tied to the organization needs that will fit in their daily operations. With a customized software application, the organization employees and customers are the end users of the product. In the course of developing process, the company with be engaging with users to ensure that they are developing an experience that will be easy to use and accomplish the intended goal quickly and effectively.
Customized software is rarely done. Most of the investments put in customized software are meant to increase and enhance the organization production. Therefore it is critical to choose a company that will be committed for a long haul. The company should host and maintain the organization software and manage it to keep its operations up to date so that your organization can realize the full benefits of investing in the application.
When you approach a custom development company for software development or accepting its bid, the company should first listen to your needs and ask questions. They get a chance to learn about organization operations and your project in order to understand your needs so that they can figure out the best software design for your organization. If the custom development company determines that they have the ability and capacity to develop the application, then you can both work on a preliminary proposal. The proposal will serve as a high-level depiction of your project and a conforming budget/time estimate. The company should use earlier project requirements and historical data to determine the initial estimate of the project cost from previous projects. At this point, you should expect the estimate on the broadest range. As the company learns more about your project, the estimate will be refined in most cases.
Planning, Research, and Design
Your organization project starts way before your chosen company to develop the application starts to write any code. Coding normally focuses on languages and technologies, but the preparation of the project involves the bigger process of understanding and evaluating your need at hand. This involves measurement of ROI, potential risks, user needs and future opportunities. However, this is done collaboratively, through deciding on solutions, discussion, and mapping out workflows. Once the company understands your problem and both agree on the way forward solution, you can go ahead with defining the necessary features to support major application and come up with an accurate cost and time estimate to complete your project.
The entire development and designing processes are aimed at providing your organization with an extensible, maintainable and highly efficient software. The company should start with essential features so that they can deliver a valuable product at the end. A professional custom software solution company should develop your customized software incrementally, one that is fully tested and ironed out features at a time, rather than developing several incompatible features at once. The company should ensure that they add value to the application at every stage. The whole process should ensure that the software is well developed and tested at each stage.
Release and Support
An organization normally hires a software developing company to make money or save more money. Until the application is finalized and released, it can't-do either. Therefore, the developing company should help to determine the correct hosting, distribution, and host of the mechanisms of the system. For example, if it is shared, internal or cloud, the company should be ready to get your software responsibly and safely hosted.
Whether your organization is a startup or it has its own technical support team, the custom software solution company should be available for full-time maintenance and extension of your software. The benefit of choosing a professional company to develop your software ensures that maintenance costs will be low. You should count on a company that will be committed to a long-term working relationship.
Finally, your new software artifacts should be stored in a secure version control system. The developing company should have disciplined and secure backup procedure. The backups should be stored both offsite and locally. The developing company should use integrated servers to monitor your software always by running and building all tests at every new change initiated. Then you can be assured that your investments on the software are worthwhile.