There are two broad categories of software: packaged and custom. Packaged software refers to solutions designed to be purchased off-the-shelf and used by the masses. The critical characteristic of this type of software is that they have the same features for all installations.
Custom software development, meanwhile, refers to solutions that are specially built to address a particular situation. They aren’t purchased off-the-shelf. Instead, if you need a solution, such as a program to help you manage your customer database, etc., you must approach a software development company, discuss your needs, and have them design a solution customized to those specific needs.
While packaged software solutions are easier to acquire and even cheaper, an increasing number of businesses have been shifting to custom software to streamline operations. Here are five reasons why this trend is on the rise.
1. Personalization Customer Software Development
Perhaps the biggest reason for the rise in custom software solutions is personalization. Personalization refers to creating solutions precisely as you want and in line with other existing business processes. If you’re building a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software program, then the design has to match your precise needs as well as seamlessly fit into your current business strategy. This means that the designers begin by assessing your current system to create a solution that complements the system you already have in place.
The most significant benefit resulting from such a design process is continuity and minimal disruption if any. Since the designer already knows how your current system operates, they can build a system that doesn't require much effort to fit into the existing organizational ecosystem. Also, you won’t have to significantly disrupt the current flow of operations to integrate the new solution. Minimal disruption means you don’t lose momentum, customers, or revenue.
2. Flexible Scalability Offered by Customized Application
Custom software also streamlines operations by enhancing scalability. Scalability is the capacity to change in size or scale. You might be a small business today, but that doesn’t mean you’ll remain the same forever. You could be planning to add a few more employees, open a new branch or two, or launch a new line of products. To make these changes, you need to update your software to reflect the new employees, departments, or product lines. When your customer base expands, you also need your software to "expand" to accommodate the new customers.
Custom software allows for easier and more reliable scalability compared to packaged software. Take an example of the CRM solutions mentioned earlier. Packaged CRM software solutions are available in different plans where each plan can accommodate up to a specific number of customers. It means that unless your CRM allows for smart, automatic upgrades to higher level plans, once your current level is used up, you’re back to square one. Custom software solutions are built as per your needs to allow for seamless scalability and growth.
3. Unmatched Security
Security is a significant issue at the moment. Cybersecurity, in particular, is currently a menace for many small businesses. A minor lapse in your system can allow criminals to hack your business and make away with vital business documents or even customer information. If you’re lucky enough to keep your business alive after such hacks, you can rest assured of widespread public backlash and damaging legal battles.
Packaged software rarely come with sufficient security measures to protect businesses from hacks and cyber-attacks in general. Yes, a majority of these solutions allow you to update your software from time to time to seal loopholes that may lead to hacking. However, is that enough? In this age where even multinationals like Amazon are being hacked, is updating your software sufficient? The answer is NO. Instead, you need solutions that are created with your specific vulnerabilities in mind; not general vulnerabilities, but your vulnerabilities. That's where custom software solutions come in. These solutions are created to solve your specific problems and, therefore, are better suited to address any weak links in your security.
4. Amazing Support and Maintenance
No software program is perfect. Even the iOS which is loved by millions is ridden with flaws that hackers have in the past exploited to steal information and money from users. Moreover, it's not just bugged. Commerce software solutions come with several other issues ranging from difficulties in installation to failed upgrades and many others. When these issues arise, you need someone to help you fix the issues right away. Remember that the longer the problem remains unfixed, the more money and, possibly, customers you continue to lose.
The custom software gives you access to maintenance solutions and support in a way that packaged software can't. With custom software, if you have a problem, you can directly call the development company, and they'll be happy to send someone over to help fix the problem. Most of these companies even provide scheduled maintenance to ensure that the software is working optimally. This is a sharp contrast to packaged software providers whose support is unreliable at best.
5. Minimize Costs
Yes, the acquisition cost of custom software is higher compared to that of packaged, off-the-shelf solutions. However, over the life of the software, custom solutions come out on top. Not only will you spend less money on maintenance, but you will also spend less time fixing issues.
Additionally, since custom solutions are designed in line with your business needs, you won't need endless training sessions to learn about or teach employees how to use the new software. This, again, means that time is saved which can be spent working on revenue-generating activities. Training costs are also saved.
Finally, packaged solutions don’t always work. It isn't uncommon to purchase a solution and realize, one month down the line, that it's not the right solution for your business. By this time, you'll have lost money and time on that first solution. If this happens twice or thrice, it can seriously affect your bottom line. Custom solutions save you from this trouble. You only have the solution designed once, and that’s it.
Now, Take a Step Forward and Get Your Own Custom Software Solution Build
As you can see, your business is a lot better off with custom software development. The initial investment might be a little higher compared to packaged software solutions, but over time, the advantages become apparent. Besides, having a software solution that is built off the analysis and evaluation of your business is far much a blessing compared to one-fit-for all!