There’s no question that software applications can help your business in a wide range of areas, from accounting and inventory control to customer service and data management. But should you choose a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) product or have developers custom design something just for you?
If your company is struggling with issues like inefficiency, poor customer service, or ever-changing regulations, you should definitely consider custom software development as a solution. It’s also a smart choice if you have specific security needs or just want to stand out from the competition. Here are some of the ways it can benefit your business.
Benefits of Custom Software Development
Custom software can increase the efficiency of your business in numerous ways:
Support your business methods. With custom software, you can determine the features that will optimize the efficiency of your business processes upfront. Developers can build tools that will fit seamlessly into your existing procedures to make them more effective. Unlike with COTS programs, you won’t need to spend time changing the way you do things to fit the software.
Avoid unnecessary features. Custom development can deliver everything your business needs while leaving out what it doesn’t. Since all aspects of the software will be applicable to your operations, you won’t waste time and effort weeding through unnecessary features like you would with COTS programs.
Cover multiple areas in one platform. COTS software typically focuses on only one or two areas of business, such as just inventory and accounting or just customer management, requiring you to use multiple software packages that may not even communicate with each other. Custom software can combine every area you need into one comprehensive, efficient platform.
Redirect Staff Efforts
Developers can create custom software that automates various functions and frees up your staff to focus on growing and developing the business. Instead of spending time on repetitive (though necessary) tasks, employees can pursue more high-level planning and program execution.
Additionally, custom software can help facilitate and coordinate team projects, with real-time status updates and tasks performed only as often as needed.
While custom software might have a higher initial cost, over time it can actually save you money. When you outgrow COTS software, the only alternative is to purchase new programs and start over. With custom software, you won’t need to buy new programs in the future, given its capacity for custom modifications or expansions when needed. Additional hidden costs you’ll avoid by choosing custom software include:
- Ongoing license and subscription fees
- Additional employee training to fit the software into the business
- Adding more users as your business grows
- Technical support and maintenance
Developing custom software can take longer upfront than buying off-the-shelf, but since the resulting product seamlessly integrates into your business without adaptations, you’ll actually save time in the long run.
Serve Customers Better
Custom software can optimize the experience of your customers, promoting high levels of satisfaction through rapid responses, reliable order processing, and thorough problem resolution. This improved level of service can lead to:
- A larger loyal customer base
- Additional referrals
- More money spent per purchase
You can create an optimal user interface to meet the needs and wants of your particular customers, rather than some generic user, including features that allow you to offer personalized service.
Data security is important to all businesses, but the most appropriate security measures can still vary. Custom software incorporates the specific level and type of security that’s best for your business transactions and data storage needs. With it, you’ll keep you and your customers safe from cyberattacks.
Since the software code is written exclusively for your business, unauthorized access is less likely to happen than with a COTS program that has the same code for all business users.
Custom software enables easy modification and expansion as your requirements or volume change over time. You can count on getting future updates and enhancements as necessary, avoiding the need to purchase new software. This capability is especially important for businesses that deal with frequently changing regulations or compliance standards.
Get Responsive Technical Support
With custom development, you get dedicated professionals to help:
- Implement the software program with a minimum of ramp-up time
- Maintain the software over time, reducing the incidence of errors
- Oversee modifications or expansions as the need arises
You’ll also receive technical assistance from the developers who created the program for you, rather than from overwhelmed support line representatives who don’t understand your specific business needs or how you use the software.
Gain a Competitive Edge
With software designed specifically for your business, you’ll stand out and gain a competitive edge. Innovative features unique to your company, perhaps taking advantage of the latest trends in technology like artificial intelligence or virtual reality, can help build excitement around your brand and bring your business additional attention and visibility.
Software applications can help your business in many areas, but it’s important to choose wisely to get the right fit today and over the long term. Custom software development offers you exactly the features you need to increase efficiency and improve customer service, as well as scalability to continue to work well even as your business grows and changes in the future.