Custom software development is the process with steps to design, create, deploy, and maintain software that is unique for users in the organization, or for the organization as a whole. It is different from commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) software, which tries to provide a standard set of functionalities that appeals to many different organizations by providing a packaged and commercially marketed solution. An example of a widely used COTS product is Microsoft Office, which meets widely shared needs to achieve office productivity. Custom-developed software, however, is designed for a specific and unique set of requirements. Custom software, and its development, is sometimes known as bespoke software.
When you Need Custom Software
Whenever you require software that is not COTS, you may need to have the software developed specifically for your requirements. For some types of applications, such as word processing and spreadsheets, you can find plenty of off-the-shelf software that will do what you want and more. But when these commercial applications don’t do precisely what you want, then its time to commission custom development software. Your custom development could range from a completely new bespoke suite of applications for a large part of your organization, or it could just be a small amount of code that’s needed to integrate standard software packages together or link some of your other custom developments together.
Understand Your Requirements
Before you embark on any custom development software project, it is essential that you understand why you need it and how it is going to be used. In the early days of computing, just about every organization did its own custom development, as there were very few off-the-shelf applications available in the market. Over time that situation changed, as software that had been custom developed for one user organization was made available for others to buy.
One example is custom-developed software that was created by an optician for use in his own practice. He realized that there was a potential market for his software that he could sell to other opticians. So, he took his development and adapted it so it could be sold as a standard application that could be purchased and configured to be used by any optician.
Custom Software Development Should be the Last Option
These days there are many such applications available as packaged software development solutions, which can work out to be much cheaper than custom developments tailored specifically for you. The first step in any custom development software project is to check that the custom software is truly needed, against any downsides of buying a packaged solution. There’s a very good reason for this. Designing and delivering any software development can be a major undertaking with associated risks, especially if you have never created any custom software previously. Typically, less than a third of software development projects are completed on time and to budget. If a packaged solution can deliver all of your essential requirements and greater than 80% percent of your desirable ones, then it will usually be a better option than embarking on a custom development project. You must make sure that your essential requirements really are essential, for instance, specialist security requirements or integration requirements that can only be met by custom development.
Custom Software Development
Custom development of software is when an individual or organization takes the steps to design, create, deploy, and maintain software that is unique to their needs. The alternative is commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) software, which tries to provide a standard set of functionalities that appeals to many different organizations by providing a packaged and commercially marketed solution. Custom-developed software, however, is designed for a specific and unique set of requirements. Custom software, and its development, is sometimes known as bespoke software.