Almost every company needs software to make their work easier, be it off-the-shelf or custom written.
But not every software can be the right fit for your business.
Imagine this: you want an inventory management software that offers centralized inventory data, barcode scanning, order fulfillment, and reporting. But you’re using commercial off-the-shelf software that only lets you keep track of stocks and do barcode scanning.
This software solution will eventually leave you in the middle, as it only addresses half of your requirements.
That's where custom-written software comes in. Created from scratch, custom-written software can meet all your specific needs and requirements and offer a long-term Return on Investment, among many other benefits.
So, is custom-written software just what your business needs?
This article will tell you all about what custom-written software is and how it can benefit your company in 2023.
Custom-written software, or bespoke software, aims to meet a company’s unique requirements.
This means the software is developed from scratch with the purchaser's end goals in mind. This is in contrast to commercial off-the-shelf software, which solves the most common problems of a wider range of users.
Consider the example of a healthcare system. Most healthcare organizations will need software that can allow patients to book appointments online, send appointment alerts to doctors and patients, enable telemedicine, and allow accessing online prescriptions when required.
So, most off-the-shelf software will usually comprise these basic features and a few others.
But, what if you have some unique needs?
Say, for example, most of your regular patients have medical insurance and you have to spend a lot of time sending your patients’ bills to insurance companies for processing and getting payment.
Now, most packaged healthcare software will not be able to help you with insurance claims. Hence, in that case, it would be best to have custom-written software that automates the entire insurance claim and reporting process.
Depending on the niche and size of your business, you can have many other unique needs that competitors might not have. In turn, there are many types of custom software out there that can address these unique needs by including as many features as you need to improve your workflow.
Now that you know what custom-written software is, it's time to deep dive into its benefits.
Here are some of the most important ones to consider before making your choice:
Developers will tailor custom-written software to your specific workflows, processes, and pain points, providing a highly customized solution.
This will lead to higher efficiency than using off-the-shelf software.
For example, let's say you run a manufacturing business specializing in creating customized products for clients. Your business requires a software solution that can manage the entire process, from the initial contact with the client to the product’s final delivery.
For this case, you can have custom-written software with the following features:
While off-the-shelf software may appear to be a more affordable and convenient option at first, custom software offers substantial returns in the long run.
That’s because any additional features you add to custom-written software are likely to also improve customer experiences.
Consider the following inventory management example to understand how better features can improve your ROI.
Custom-written software can provide real-time visibility into inventory levels across all warehouses, helping the company optimize its stock levels and reduce waste. It can also automate tasks like order fulfillment, shipment tracking, and invoice generation, freeing employees' time for more valuable work.
Over time, the company can continue to evolve and adapt its custom software to streamline its operations by adding new features and integrations as necessary. This ongoing investment in custom software can result in significant long-term ROI as the company enjoys improved productivity, reduced costs, and higher customer satisfaction.
When customers get such good experiences, they are more likely to remain loyal to your brand and even recommend it to others. According to a Forbes article, around 77% of customers are likely to recommend a brand to others after a single positive experience. This will increase your sales over time, which will give you better returns.
Custom-written software can offer hassle-free scalability by allowing developers to change the code of the software as and when needed. Since it is custom software, the company owner can ask the developers to modify it anytime.
In contrast, packaged software developers cannot modify the solution based on a single user's inputs, as the changes can impact other software users.
One example of how custom-written software can offer hassle-free scalability is with a custom-built e-commerce platform for a retail company. As the company grows and expands its online sales channels, a scalable software solution can be critical to managing the increasing volume of transactions and customer data.
With a custom-built platform, the company can ensure that the software handles high traffic and transaction demands and that it can be easily updated as needed to accommodate new products, features, and integrations.
Custom-written software gives you direct access to its developers and a dedicated support team.
This is because developers of custom-written software only have to offer support to the clients whom they have built the software for. In contrast, commercial off-the-shelf software developers have to offer support to a much wider user base.
In addition to better support, custom-written software can be easier to maintain than off-the-shelf software. Because the software was specifically designed for your business, it is less likely to encounter compatibility issues or conflicts with other software applications you may be using.
This means that updates and maintenance can be performed more smoothly and with less risk of causing unexpected issues.
One of the primary benefits of custom-written software is its easy implementation.
If you go with packaged software, there are chances that the software will not be compatible with your existing systems. In this case, you might have to spend extra on making your IT systems compatible with the software.
But when you hire a software development company to create custom software, they will work closely with you to understand your business's IT infrastructure. In turn, this will improve compatibility. Since developers will create custom software that can easily integrate with your existing IT systems, it will make the implementation process easier.
This means that using custom-written software is less likely to cause integration issues or compatibility problems than using off-the-shelf software.
Not to mention, you can also get custom software developed to integrate with third-party systems and software, further enhancing its compatibility and functionality.
There are hundreds of off-the-shelf software available in the market. And thousands of companies are using these solutions. If you, too, use the same solutions as everyone else, how will you set yourself apart from the competition?
Well, using custom-written software can get you that competitive edge.
Custom-written software can provide a competitive advantage for businesses by allowing them to gain unique capabilities both in how they handle their internal and external operations.
Companies can get these capabilities through the additional features they add to custom software.
Picture this. You are a financial institution whose advisors use off-the-shelf software to counsel your customers. Like most other commercial packaged software, your software can collect data about the market, and your financial advisors use this data to inform customers about a risk that has already started. Consider this risk of a drop in property prices due to extreme weather conditions like a tornado or floods in some locations.
Now, imagine that instead of off-the-shelf software, you use a custom cloud-hosted web application with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. In this case, the software with AI capabilities will be able to analyze historical data to proactively inform your financial advisors and your customer about the risks beforehand.
For example, the software can gather historic data on instances where property prices have dropped. AI can find a pattern in this data to determine that prices have always dropped when there has been a weather change. Based on such historic data, the software can alert about the property price drop before the risk starts.
From a customer perspective, a customer is more likely to do business with a financial institution that uses custom software and can inform about risks beforehand.
And that’s just one among the many ways how you get a competitive advantage with custom-written software.
Cybercrime is on the rise. Data shows that 65% of Americans who went online received at least one online scam offer. Talking from your perspective, these cyber breaches can cost you financially in the form of ransom and legally in the form of data privacy regulation breaches.
Additionally, a cyberattack on your company can also impact your brand's image. According to an article on ZDNET, around one in four people won't do business with a company that experienced a cyberattack in the past year.
This means that you need to ensure utmost security, and one of the ways to do this is through using custom-written software.
The benefits of custom-written software can be so tempting, you’re probably wondering whether you need custom software developed for your company or whether packaged software will do.
To make an informed decision, you must compare custom-written VS off-the-shelf software before jumping on the bandwagon. For instance, the upfront cost of custom software can be high but it allows you to use custom features. On the other hand, off-the-shelf software is cost-effective but does not offer customization.
Here are some of the pros and cons of custom-written and off-the-shelf software:
Whether or not you should choose custom written software mostly depends on your budget.
Custom software can be more expensive up-front, but is very likely to lead to fewer expenses over the long term, as well as higher output and productivity.
If you have the time and budget for this, then for sure, custom written software is a better choice.
If not, though, then off-the-shelf software can also make do.
While the costs of custom software development and the resources required can be high, the benefits can be significant and long-lasting. And once you know what custom-written software is and how it can benefit your company, you can come up with the right software ideas.
With the help of experienced software developers, you can create a solution that meets your specific needs and drives success for your organization.
So, if you're looking for a software solution to take your business to the next level, reach out to MakeITSimple. Our bespoke software developers can help you with everything you need, be it web application development, enterprise software, or app design.
Contact MakeITSimple today to learn more about our custom software development services and how we can help you achieve your goals.
If you are looking for a bespoke software development company, please get in touch by phone by calling +44 (0) 1905 700 050 or filling out the form below.
Make IT Simple
+44 (0) 1905 700 050