Let’s begin with a simpler question: when your business needs software? The answer is almost always. Nearly all companies excluding those involved in tiny local businesses based on person-to-person interaction in non-digitized areas need software applications. Even old-fashioned Excel sheets used in accounting departments are marks of software importance. Not to mention complex ERP and CRM systems for multinational brands.
Just take a look at a few intriguing charts. Between 2010 and 2017 the global revenue of CRM software development companies almost triples from $13.9 billion to $39.5 billion. In 2018, the revenue of ERP authors was estimated $212 billion and it’s projected to reach $305 billion by 2022. Finally, US-based software publishers face year-to-year increasing revenue that was $142.7 in 2008 and $257.9 in 2018!
Well, it’s clear that software is crucial for various companies. But the next question is trickier: when it’s better to choose out-of-the-box applications for the team and when you should for custom alternatives? And if the second approach is better, how to recognize factors that mark your need in bespoke software solutions? Further, we will talk about this in details. Let’s look at the idea of custom apps!
Premade VS Bespoke
Generally, the market features only two software categories. The first one includes ready-made products created once and then delivered to different customers. Microsoft Office, Windows, Adobe packages, software toolkits, antivirus programs, and all games are examples of premade apps. Commercial software is good because it features relatively low costs and short time-to-market. Still, it can’t be customized at all.
This flaw of ready-made apps is the greatest advantage of bespoke alternatives. These applications are created from scratch for each customer. Thus, there aren’t two exact copies of custom software systems. Because of this personalized approach, developers can add, remove, and replace all functional modules to create a unique piece of software. As a result, you can get the most suitable product designed according to each of your requirements.
Top Cases When a Company Needs Custom Apps
Without long introductions, let’s quickly jump to the main factors that mark the urgent need in customized software for any company.
1. You Need High Competitive Advantage
First and foremost, the main weakness of ready-made applications relates to low or zero advantage over competitors. Just imagine that you have a Ferrari. And your friend has the same Ferrari, the exact copy of your own car. And your uncle has the same Ferrari. And all of your neighbors also have copies of your Ferrari. If you can accept the same cars owned by friends and relatives, you can’t understand how to overtake that nasty man next door.
The same is true for commercial applications. It’s good when two partner companies use the same software. But when it comes to market rivals, things change. It’s impossible to attract more customers, deliver better results or create unique offerings with exactly the same software just like it’s impossible to overtake the same Ferrari. Custom apps are all different so you can easily order what you need and beat opponents in the fight for clients.
2. You Do Simple Tasks Manually
Managers often don’t think about employees and, what’s more important, about the company’s performance. That’s why various teams do simple job manually. Staff has to gather data, analyze it, set reminders, look for key facts without the wonderful automated tools.
Check some examples of processes that can be automated:
- Payroll management.
- Inventory tracking.
- Regular reports.
- Workflow tracking.
- Data validation.
Surely, out-of-the-box platforms also provide automation features. The main problem is that they rarely aim your needs. Instead, they focus on the entire market. Thus, you can find a perfect software package but it will automate unnecessary processes instead of focusing on core tasks of your business. With bespoke apps, it’s simple to ask developers to add automation module for any specific task.
3. You Plan to Expand the Company
This point isn’t as obvious as it should be. Nearly all founders hope to grow their businesses, increase popularity, and get more profits. But when you order a basic premade package, you rarely have space for expansion. Instead, in discussions with custom devs, it’s easy to ask for future support and new upgrades. Skilled teams will handle all the expansion issues so you will be able to grow using a single platform.
4. You Have a Lot of Third-Party Apps
The next feature that reveals the advantages of custom products is based on interactions. A lot of companies in the modern world cooperate with other teams or utilize external software: cloud servers, online aggregators, supply chain trackers, etc. To connect your new application to all these platforms (sometimes, pretty outdated), you will require careful customization.
5. Your Business Is Too Big or Too Small
At the end of the day, custom applications are wonderful for all black sheep. Usually, vendors of premade apps deliver them to traditional businesses that require only the best practices approved by hundreds of other companies. Instead, teams with unique requirements, unusual goals or innovative approaches can’t find suitable applications. Thus, they should opt for bespoke software that can be tailored to their needs.
Let’s look at examples. If you own a small local gadget shop, you want to find an equally minimalistic application for accounting, customer interaction, and a bit of advertising, probably. But all these ready-made packages are too costly and full of useless features. Hence, it would be a good choice to cooperate with custom developers. Similarly, large brands can’t fulfill all requirements with basic packages so they need complex custom software, as well.
A Final Word
Please, don’t overestimate but also don’t underestimate custom software. These applications can act as a lifebuoy for various businesses but they aren’t magic wands that increase revenue or brand’s presence without effort. Bespoke solutions are great when you realize that the company really needs them. Nonetheless, they can even be harmful because of long development and high initial costs so don’t purchase this software without proper planning and research.
Always remember that understanding of your business’s goals is the key to a successful strategy. Software apps are only tools in the hands of smart managers. Learn, explore, and get the most benefits out of bespoke applications. Good luck!