Custom software development refers to the process of creating and designing software applications that are specifically designed for a certain group of users. It’s basically software that’s made to address the specific needs of its users compared to the traditional off-the-shelf software you can find on the market.
Sitebuilder and Microsoft Office are good examples of off-the-shelf software products that are built to meet the needs of website creation by web design developers and those in the office for added productivity. However, custom software is made for specific needs such as:
- An online banking app that is purposefully designed for a bank’s unique requirements
- A field service equipment maintenance application for a certain manufacturer
However, due to the specific requirements of custom software development projects, the development process can be rather complicated. Due to that, software developers should consider a number of key factors to properly complete a custom software development project. These factors are as follows:
1. Technological Necessities
The first key factor in effective custom software development is to make sure that all technological necessities are considered. This means you have to make sure that you need custom software, know what your goals are, and know what the purpose of the application is.
Whether you want to build an application or simply opt to buy a packaged solution, you should know the goal and purpose for the custom application you want to develop. Ideally, you want to answer these questions:
- What benefits do your business hopes to gain? In other words, what’s the end goal of your software? By having a clear picture of that, you’ll be able to shape a practical solution for your business.
- What is your process of implementation? You have to let your developer work with your plans in order to integrate the custom software into your business.
- What should be done?
- How much will your business dedicate to explaining the details of the application’s purpose? The better your developer understands what your application is about alongside its purpose and requirements, the better the solution will be.
The more your developer understands the purpose of your application, the better the result will be. Also, you and your developer should be able to understand the needs of your business, your current budget, and more.
If you decided to build a custom application for your web design company or whatever company you have, one important thing you should consider is to secure buy-in from key participants. You should also make sure that they collaborate on the project. These collaborators could be your developers, sponsors, or even customers or business partners.
Collaboration and working hand-in-hand will allow your team to improve their overall quality and responsiveness which can be quite essential in your custom software development.
3. Impact on Staff
Any technology-related change can certainly bring some sort of impact on your staff. As such, in order to have an effective custom software development project, you want to consider your staff as well. It also helps to consider these:
- Make sure to assess how much impact the application can have on your employees. You should also work with your developer to integrate a communication plan into the project plan.
- Assess all individuals who will be impacted by the application.
- If there are customers who’ll be impacted, use a customer focus group as a means of gathering customer requirements.
- Gather all of the staff that need training then include a training plan into the project plan. You have to make sure that the training plan can support the software’s launch date. This means that they should be trained well enough to use the software once it goes live.
4. Return on Investment
Lastly, you want to consider the project’s ROI. Just like any other project, the best way to define the possible ROI of your custom software development project is by asking yourself these questions:
- What is your current budget? To get an accurate calculation, make sure you include the implementation and development costs.
- What are the benefits you want to enjoy from this software?
- Do you have a deadline? You have to check whether you want to address a problem before a certain date or a change in the market within a certain date. It’s because this will affect the costs, development plan, and ROI of your project.
- What’s your timeline for assessing the ROI?
The Bottom Line
With custom software development, you’ll be able to use technology as a means of solving problems that are unique and specific to your business. As long as you know the key factors that you need to consider for a custom software development project, you’ll be able to support growth and success for your company. Always make sure that inadequate planning during the development phase will only increase your costs in the long run. To avoid that, considering these key factors is recommended.