Does your business need custom software? Your complete guide
You may see a system or process in your business that could be streamlined, you may have a recurring task that is taking a lot of time and manual labor, or you see a recurring problem in your business that you want solved once and for all. Any of these reasons can drive business owners to look into custom software solutions. We created this resource to help you decide if custom software is a necessary solution for your company and, if so, what you need to do to be ready for the custom software design process.
Signs that Your Company Could Benefit from a Custom Software Solution:
If any of these sound like your business, custom software could maximize your efficiency and eliminate headaches. Like any solution, custom software is an investment of time and resources, so let’s look at some pros and cons of developing a custom software solution.
Pros and Cons of Developing a Custom Software Solution
A note on off-the-shelf software: Off-the-shelf solutions are usually quick to install and use, have a low up-front cost, and offer you the opportunity to read reviews prior to purchasing, but they also may not meet all of your business requirements. The chance that you’ll be able to modify most off-the-shelf software to your business needs is slim, so if you’re looking for an all-encompassing solution, off-the-shelf might not be it. Off-the-shelf is a great solution in cases where you’re not using it to differentiate your business from competitors - i.e. if you need simple accounting software or software that doesn’t communicate inter-departmentally.
In many cases, short term pain will lead to long term gain.
Read our results story of how custom software strengthened one client’s relationship with their biggest customer, then set them up for increased efficiency for years to come.
Evaluate what your business will require from a software solution.
By now you probably have a hint of whether custom software is right for your company, so now it’s time to evaluate what you’ll need from your custom software.
Finding A Reliable Custom Software Provider
After you confidently know what problems the custom software will need to solve as well as your desired features, it’s time to find the perfect custom software provider. Like we’ve mentioned previously your provider will be integral in the long-term success and efficiency of the solution. Doing your research in this stage is well worth it. Here are a few tips for finding the right custom software provider.
Choose your provider based on what type of solution you need
Many custom developers work within a specified niche. If you’re looking to have a mobile app developed, you will most likely need a different developer than if you’re in need of a custom reporting software or a data analytics solution. Consider what type of software you need, what services and experience each developer brings to the table for your needed solution, and then choose accordingly.
Keep in mind that if you’re looking to develop custom software that will be in need of constant attention and updates, you’re going to need to make a connection with someone that focuses on long-term solutions. Look for an established company with lots of experience and cutting-edge development skills.
A good custom software provider should display an interest in getting to know your company
If the prospective partner doesn’t display a sincere interest in getting to know your company, thoroughly understand your requirements, and ask enough of the right questions, they’re probably not the right partner for you.
Anyone who says they know exactly what you need at your first meeting is wrong. They’re not mind readers. If they say this, there’s a chance they’ll assume what you need in a custom solution rather than creating one that perfectly fits the needs of your business. If they’re not interested in finding out what positions you uniquely in the market, they’re not uniquely positioned to serve you in this initiative! Going with a provider like that throws your competitive advantage out the window. Instead, make sure they’re asking questions about how this custom software will affect your day-to-day operations and goals in a detailed, thorough manner.
Make sure they’re concerned with user experience (UX)
If you’re looking for a custom software solution that your customer will be affected by or that employees are expected to use on a regular basis, it shouldn’t be a hassle to use. Any provider you meet with should ask and advise on the end user experience to ensure that people actually want to use the custom software or app after you’ve launched it.
Explore their results and case studies
Explore a potential providers’ website and look for previous results. How have their solutions transformed processes previously? Have they worked with clients in your industry before? What results have they seen with previous clients after launching the solution?
Experience may determine cost
Cost is a consideration for any business when considering a custom software solution. Keep in mind that a provider with a smaller portfolio might be a bit cheaper, whereas those with a long history of experience creating complex solutions will be more expensive. If the solution needed is fairly simple, you could save by going with a provider that has a smaller portfolio but a good track record. But if you’re looking for a complex solution that has a high potential ROI or that the success and growth of your business is hinging on, going with an experienced custom software provider would be more valuable in the long run.
If you’re looking for a custom software provider, csg would be glad to assist you. Check out our results page on our website to see how we have helped companies gain an advantage with custom software.
What Does the Custom Software Development Process Entail?
What should you expect from the custom software build process? Each provider may go about it differently based on your timeline and how involved you’d like to be in the development process. Most businesses use either the Waterfall Method, the Agile Method, or a combination of both. From any design process you can expect an initial stage of defining your requirements for the solution, designing, opportunities for feedback and testing, and quality assurance testing.
At csg, we use the agile approach, where your solution is developed feature by feature, rather than all features being developed simultaneously. We start by fully exploring your business needs and the problem you are trying to solve, and then we propose a solution with features that are custom-fit to answering your business’s needs. We’ll discuss which features are the most necessary or time sensitive for your business and those will be developed first.
This iterative approach to development allows you to test and assess the most important features of your new solution sooner rather than later, so that adjustments can be made along the way. You’ll see the impact of your solution sooner, and you’ll easily be able to reassess what features are needed after you’ve tested each iteration.
Learn more about our agile approach here.
Whether that be in the form of an opportunity to streamline your operations or want to stand out from your competitors, you’ve identified an area of your business that has room for improvement. In order to create this improvement, you’ll need a capable piece of business software.
take a deeper look at the custom software development process
read our post about the agile method for software design