August 29, 2017

What is custom software is a common question nowadays and in this article, we’ll explain customized software concepts and show you the example of it. Here’s a shortlist of items you’ll find in this article.

List of the Content

WHAT IS CUSTOM SOFTWARE

First off, let’s provide the definition of custom software. It is the solution that is specially developed for a specific user or organization, which is in contrast with broadly used mass-market apps. You probably want to ask what is customized software then. Well, the software customization definition differs a little. It means optimizing the existing applications according to the user’s requirements and expectations.

Despite the diverse spectrum, the software market often is not able to meet the demands of all varieties of modern management and business processes. It comes as no surprise that many companies would like their information system to have some unique features. In these conditions, the company has to call on IT-specialists to adapt to the concerns of the existing business processes or create entirely new ones.

The question, what is custom software, cannot be answered explicitly as there are various definitions of it. Therefore, custom software definition also expands to include solutions that have been designed to run on specific hardware. For example, car manufacturers simply have nowhere to turn to purchase programs for the vehicle on-board computer. Obviously, they have to develop these kinds of solutions by internal or external IT structures while heavily relying on hardware specifications.

If you are now wondering what is custom software, you most likely don’t know that its development isn’t an easy task but different successful examples of customised software show that it’s worth it. When you acquire the bespoke software, you get many crucial functions you need. You don’t have to look for compromises when choosing applications for work-related purposes. In general, what gives you the best custom solutions – you can get at a reasonable price. On the other hand, custom software development requires time and money, so even the most acceptable price can be prohibitively expensive. However, if your bespoke software is developed on a tight schedule, it saves a significant part of the time and finance expenses.

Many companies that provide custom development, offer proposals, which make your business benefit. They listen to your needs and matching these needs to your actual requirements, design bespoke applications. These organizations have enough talented and professional specialists that work diligently to meet your requirements. Altogether, all you need to do at the beginning of your project development process is to understand clearly what is custom software, and why is it a good idea to use it, and the rest will be done by qualified IT specialists.

WHAT IS AN EXAMPLE OF CUSTOMIZED SOFTWARE

You’ve understood what is custom software but you probably want to know what is an example of customized software, To give you a clear picture of it, let’s demonstrate an example, developed by Existek, for a cafe franchise. You can find more in-depth information about this project in our case study, and here you may briefly look through the architecture, development process, and implementation of the solution.

The following is an example of the exclusive requirements, given by a client company. You could find off-the-shelf solutions that do the same sort of things as scanning the QR codes program or processing loyalty cards. However, the client was expecting to see a program that unites the features and will also have its company branding.

The customer was expecting Existek to devise and implement an easy-to-use solution for non-technical users that would enable the production of loyalty cards, as well as quick, reliable scanning and tracing of loyalty card usage. The Customer Loyalty Software also had to be integrated with the existing POS to allow staff to apply discounts using loyalty bonuses. First, we needed to implement the real time processing of the QR codes and Images. Also, there should have been a database of customers with data about bonuses amount, which included the automatic calculation of the discount and the percentage of bonus accruals.

 

This is how we overcame these challenges and implemented the required functionality:

custom software definition example screenshot 1
Real time processing of QR codes and images

 

The solution for the implementation was found in a combination of image processing libraries for image processing and .NET.

custom software definition example screen 2
We integrated Customer Loyalty Card Software with POS system to let customers pay bills with accrued bonuses.
custom software definition example screen 2
QR codes and account data is synchronized with the database. Any actions, such as card cancellation, are recorded.

In consideration of this particular example, you probably want to know what is custom software advantages in this case. Here’s a shortlist of benefits and features delivered to the cafe franchise by this project:

  • very little downtime and processed thousands of loyalty cards;
  • did not involve costly hardware solutions or contract lock-ins;
  • real-time processing of the QR codes and images;
  • database of the customers with data about bonuses amount;
  • allowed managers to accrue bonuses to the customer’s card for each order;
  • automatic calculation of the discount and the percentage of bonus accruals;
  • possibility to pay a check partially or completely, via previously accrued bonuses.

This project explicitly illustrates the questions of what is custom software, and what is an example of customized software. In this case, the customer had to acquire a custom-developed app due to specific requirements, instead of simply buying an off-the-shelf solution.  As you can see, the wide range of features is narrowly focused. You can barely find a solution to your similar requirements. In the end, the client has obtained all-in-one hospitality and loyalty tool that completely fill in the gaps of the workflow. Moreover, the cafe franchise had exclusive ownership of the application, which meant zero licensing costs regardless of the number of users, accounts, and terminals.

As a result, the final product was really appreciated by the cafe management, staff, and visitors. The final product required almost zero maintenance and was extremely reliable. It was a risky move on the customer side, but the relatively high price resulted in greater financial and reputational earnings from a long-time perspective. Download our eBook “2017 Global Custom Software Development Rates” to learn more about the prices for the offshore projects and consolidate your understanding of what is custom software.

WHEN TO APPLY CUSTOM SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

When you purchase mass-market apps, you hand over the node to that software. As for you, you take the middle path concerning time, effectiveness, and working capacity. That means, that you will have to use it even if it doesn’t fit your requirements. So, it’s better to tilt forward towards custom software development, as you’ll be certain it will meet all your requirements and the needs of your company.

Here are some advantages of off-the-shelf solutions:

  • has no excessive functions;
  • saves time;
  • very cost-effective;
  • Has a high degree of flexibility;
  • easy to learn and use.

Let’s figure out what is custom software best use cases for a better understanding of this process. The most obvious purpose to start a custom development project is bringing profits to a company via the better organization of everyday processes and tasks. First off, it eases the overall workflow, having only the features that are useful for this area, while having no extras, that will have little to no use in the future. For example, applications developed for the hospital will include personnel records, past medical history, visit data, etc. Every point mentioned above will help the staff that works with the solution and the patients be aware of the healing regimens particular to that or another subject. Of course, you may find the publicly available apps, but most of such tools are unified, which means, they will not necessarily address all your needs.

What is custom software main development reason is improving internal workflow, but if it has the appearance for the customers’ use – it’s also a great business opportunity. For example, the cafes or restaurants may not have only the apps that will satisfy the internal needs, like the aforementioned hospital, but the ones for visitors’ use as well. This application may contain the full list of the dishes available for a restaurant with the accompanying prices, so the client will be aware of the meals available. Besides, it may work as the “discount voucher” so the visitors are uncharged of excessive items, but with a friendly tool, which wins users over. Simply put, the best examples of customised software use are those cases when companies really take care of the comfort of their staff. As for the savvy entrepreneurs, the correct, both-side (internal and external) use of the off-the-shelf solutions will show terrific marketing graphs.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THE CUSTOM SOFTWARE

We’ve already mentioned the bespoke software advantages briefly, but here we will take a closer look at the advantages and also disadvantages, to ascertain a clear custom software definition.

Nothing has only positives. Custom apps have disadvantages as well. The first and main being the cost of development. There is no doubt that the application that’s tailored by your instructions and fits all the nuances of your business shouldn’t be so simple as that. Be ready that the upfront cost for its development will be high as well. In fact, the disadvantages, such as the upfront costs shouldn’t affect your decision on the business improvement. The high cost justifies itself after implementation. There is no more need in extending the license of the commercial applications that could be the basis of your work management. The perfectly adjusted apps will rapidly boost your business development due to its systemic fit but not business fitting to the applications used.

The answer to the question of what is custom software main advantage is that you get exactly that functionality that you want there to be present. You may object that off-the shelves solution can contain a huge diversity of the functions even the extra features. But let’s be clear, most functions of the unified apps are never used and just go to waste. Why would you pay for the expensive license, if you only use half of its features? Why would you buy a flagship smartphone if you use it for the phone calls only? These are basically the same things.

We can surely answer the question of what is custom software main benefit now. It’s that you don’t rely on someone else’s success and stability. If the company-provider of your licensed application has collapsed, at best conditions this means and of support and updates, including security. At worst conditions – you’ll end up without working cloud platform which may ruin your working process as well. Another custom software definition is a warranty for the security of your business and its processes.

Exclusive ownership gives another significant advantage – high-security level. It’s hard to imagine something more important in 2017 than information security. Small and large enterprises including Financial and Healthcare sectors prefer to use the tools developed especially for them. It’s harder to find exploits and security breaches in closed ecosystems. Simply because it’s much more complicated for hackers to get their hands on such software to plan cyber attacks.

IN CONCLUSION

The bespoke software brings results only if you find a proven vendor with an experienced team, which takes into consideration all of your requirements, starting from the very initial development phases. The quality of the custom software should be above grade. To reach that, the development team should include well-organized customer service and provide you with technical assistance.

In this article, we’ve provided the answers to such questions as to what is custom software, what is an example of customized software, and now you’re aware of custom software definition and its advantages and disadvantages. Thus, you’ll probably want to apply such a working scheme in your business as it helps your project benefit greatly.

Existek is a custom software development company with wide-reaching expertise in various industries, capable of building software solutions of any complexity from scratch. Contact Us or visit our Custom Software Development Services Page to start the conversation about your custom software development requirements and get a professional consultation.

You’re welcome to share your experience and thoughts about custom software and its pros and cons in the comments below. Our team will really appreciate your input.