Most of the computer users in the world use generic software solutions easily available in the market for everyone, as they provide all the features with a common user need. This software can be easily installed on your machine by just paying some upfront fee.
But for larger organisations, have some special needs that cannot be satisfied with this software and this is when the need for custom build software arises. Custom software development always has been in the market since the beginning of software generation. As the number of users starts increasing the need for commercial off the shelf software increases simultaneously to meet the requirements of the masses.
What is Custom Software Development?
Custom software is also known to be bespoke software or tailor-made software. This software is developed for a particular organization or user on demand. This software is different from the commercial off the shelf software available in the market. Some of them require the purchase of a licenced product and also available for free.
Custom software is built for a specific group of users, so it can accommodate all their preferences and expectations. It is easy to make modifications to the requirements at any stage of development. All the hidden risks and issues encountered can be addressed iteratively until the solution is built as desired.
The development of custom software requires the involvement of various departments like marketing, engineering, research, development and then management.
The need for custom software for large organizations is in inventory management, content management, customer management, human resource management, etc. Even sometimes such software is integrated into the existing system to improve the process and remove the existing weaknesses.
Considering the typical challenges and typical solutions developing such software is considered to be costlier than purchasing a generic product. But sometimes, COTS software requires more financial investment to customize them as per the organisation’s workflow. Upgrading a COTS is also more expensive than custom software.
An organisation is responsible for owning the source code and keeping it secure for future modifications.
Advantages of Custom Software Development
1. Custom software is developed according to the exact needs and specifications of an organisation.
2. It is easy to scale custom software.
3. Initially the cost of custom software may seem higher than generic software but in the long run, it costs less.
4. A custom software completely belongs to an organisation and no one else has any right over it.
5. Custom software does not need to wait for the entire market to make the update and can be maintained anytime as per the changing organization’s needs.
6. Since, this software is not in the public domain and anybody outside the organisation do not have any access to understand the functioning of the software, so it is hard for hackers to find loopholes and attempt unauthorised access.
7. Custom software is easier to integrate into the workflow of an organisation.
Difference between Generic Software and Custom Software
|Generic Software||Custom Software|
|Generic software is developed for the general audience.||Custom software is developed to satisfy the specific requirements of a particular client.|
|Since such software is built to satisfy the needs of a large number of users so it is tough to come up with the right design and marketing strategy.||Since such software needs to meet only a particular client’s requirements, it’s easy to build them and also does not require any marketing.|
|Even, this software is cheap to purchase.||Custom software development is more expensive than a generic one.|
|It is not possible that all the needs of every customer are satisfied.||This software gives all that a client wants from the product.|
|The updates of this software are developed as per the changes in the market needs.||Custom software can be updated according to the time, budget and needs of the organisation.|
|The development agency has overall control over the software and has the right to add or remove some features useful to the users.||It only depends upon the client’s wish to add or remove a feature.|
|Text editor software like MS Word is an example of Generic software.||The inventory control and management system software of any organisation is an example of custom software development.|
Factors to consider while choosing Custom Software over Generic Software
The finances of a custom software depend upon both the cost and benefits an organisation will have with the availability of custom software. It is very necessary to go through a complete cost-benefit analysis of the business case needed before paying the upfront licence fee of a commercial off the shelf software.
It is a general view that custom software fails to satisfy the scope, time/cost and quality constant. So it is possible to have some uncertainties in the cost and benefits caused by the software, even disregarding the uncertainty around the benefits of a successfully implemented feature caused to the business.
It is hard to predict how long a supplier of generic software will remain in business and continue providing services. It should also be considered that a supplier should provide customer support and customisation facilities. Along with that, it should also be known that ‘whether it is possible to access customer support and customisation facilities from a third party. The development of custom software can be done by outsourcing it or can be done inside the organisation. While outsourcing software, it is necessary to check the reputation of the supplier and its reliability.
3. Time to market
Generic software generally takes less time to be available in the market.
4. Size of implementation
Commercial off the shelf software is developed to meet the standard needs for business processes and reporting. If possible, integrating generic software with less customisation, in the process of a large organization can be a very cost-saving, efficient and productive decision. But generally, it’s not practised by large organizations.
Custom software development is for the organisations and the users that require extra features that are not available in the generic software and do not fit in the organisation’s workflow.
Installing generic software is easy but it might cost in the future if it fails to satisfy your requirements. The benefits of custom software development give an organisation an upper edge over its competitors.