Best Practices of Building Custom Software

There are hundreds of free or Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software in the market that can perform a variety of standard activities that most organizations require. But, a lot many businesses demand specific functionalities from their software, something that the standard template does not provide. Besides, free software often lacks efficiency and COTS usually have huge costs and gestation time associated with it. As such custom software or tailor made software is needed.

Have you been a witness to compatibility issues where you had to manually copy paste material from an Excel sheet to a Word document? Or perhaps, spend time converting documents received via e-mail since they weren't compatible to your system?

Well a lot of organizations face such issues and more, because free software fail to meet up to their requirements and COTS is often beyond their budget.

This is when many organizations have to create custom software, often from scratch.

What is custom software?
It's designed for a specific business or department and is owned by the business as opposed to COTS where the software is owned and programmed by someone else and you pay a license free to use it. Custom software can incorporate specific features from other software or can be built from scratch. Moreover, it's built using industry-standard tools and is flexible enough to be upgraded and modified as and when needed.

The most pertinent question here would be – Do I need Custom Software? Or, Can I afford Custom Software? Guide from Digital Authority on mobile app development discuss these points in further detail.

Well, the best way to gauge the need of custom software is by analyzing your business without using it, five years from now. If you think you're better off without it, nothing like it. But, if you think your business will be benefited using it, which it will, soon after you begin using it, take the plunge.

Custom Software Development – Best Practices

Establish goals: List the requirements head first. It helps keep you organized and gives your activities a direction. With the dearth of software options available in the market, it's easy to be strayed.

Evaluate your resources: Check for resources within your organization to see if it can be developed internally. If you think there's a lack there, evaluate external resources to see what would best suit your purposes. While some developers are mere coders, others also offer a consultative role helping you evaluate the possibilities and best methods. Take your pick.

Queue in your employees for suggestions : Employees being the ground level movers and shakers can best help incorporate specific
features, which otherwise might not occur to the higher management level. Hence ask them for suggestions. However, you may want to have a mechanism in place to handle the process of feedbacks to avoid chaos.

Opt for a phased approach : Doing everything at one go would only create confusion and eventually result in missing out on focusing on a lot of aspects. Taking a phased approach would not only help create better performing software but would also help employees get a mock-up on using the software rather than struggling when it goes live.

Flexible schedule helps: Avoid setting up fixed deadlines as that would shift the focus from creating quality software to creating software only. In other words, allowing room to wiggle would help look at all aspects of a portion before moving on to the next.

Basics first : Save the frills for the last. Strengthen the basics first. Businesses often get carried away with the features and looks of the software rather than strengthening the foundation first which eventually results in loopholes and rework, wasting further time and resources correcting it.

Note: Developing custom software is significantly time consuming and expensive. Hence, it is advised businesses evaluate all COTS options thoroughly before deciding to make the move. Some off the shelf products allow for customization of various fronts of the software. If that can suffice for your business, consider it.

Looking for custom software development services in Dallas? Get in touch with us at to know how we can help you roll out custom software as per your business needs.

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