The software most people use in their day-to-day lives is designed to be adopted by a wide variety of end users. Slack, for example, is used by organizations of all shapes and sizes, as is Google Docs, Figma, and so on.
But these kinds of commercial off-the-shelf software might not always meet a user's needs. If that's the case, you might need custom software.
Custom software development is the process of creating software bespoke for a specific user or set of users. It can either solve a specific problem within an organization, or it can be consumer-facing. Whatever it is, custom software development addresses problems that can't be accomplished with other ready-made solutions. And it can be developed by the company's own in-house developers or, if costs and/or scale demand, outsourced to a third-party provider.
For example, a company might need to analyze a type of data that other analytics solutions can't sufficiently process. It could be a fleet management platform for drones. Or maybe it's a tourism app specific to a country that goes beyond the offerings of most booking sites.
Custom software development typically involves three types of work: application customization, application modernization and application management.
Application customization is when off-the-shelf software are modified to work for a requirement they weren't entirely intended for, or which, from the perspective of the original developer, would be considered an edge case.
Application modernization is when an app is adjusted to meet new technological paradigms and use cases that weren't originally anticipated when it was first developed.
Application management involves all the tasks necessary to ensure that the custom software continues to operate as intended and is optimized for performance.
Custom software development is important because it allows companies to meet demands particularly to their business at a cost that is usually on par with tweaking existing off-the-shelf software. Resorting to custom software development often results in the following benefits:
When entering into a custom software development project, there are some key considerations to make sure you yield the maximum benefit.
Before entering into a custom software development project, it's important to first assess whether an off-the-shelf solution will work for your needs. A working off-the-shelf solution is ultimately better than a custom one that fails, and if the likelihood of success is low, you might be better off going with something that already exists and trying to adapt to it, or adapt it to your needs.
If you do decide to go forward in developing custom software, make sure that stakeholders across the organization and throughout the project stay in communication with one another. This way, members of the organization can provide their input on how the project proceeds so that as many last-minute problems as possible can be avoided. Careful collaboration minimizes surprises, maximizes quality, and in doing both, ultimately manages costs.
Understanding and communicating exactly what the project needs is critical for success. Custom software development teams need thoroughly delineated sets of requirements for producing exactly what the organization actually needs. Those requirements include:
However you go about executing the project, the technologies and practices should be state-of-the-art and ideal for the task at hand. At FullStack Labs, we specialize in using the following technologies:
You can read more about our approach in depth in our playbook.
Once the software has finally been developed and deployed, maintenance and management are key. Software development companies often not only provide development services, but also ongoing maintenance to deal with unforeseen problems and the overall upkeep of the solution.
By outsourcing this maintenance to a third-party software provider, an organization's own developers don't get bogged down and can focus on other aspects of development more connected to core business tasks. And by outsourcing, automation is much easier to implement.
If you're considering custom software development, we have ample experience and can give you an accurate assessment based on our prior work. Contact us for questions or to find out more.
We’d love to learn more about your project.
Engagements start at $50,000.