There are two possible reasons behind a business wanting to build a new software application. It can either be for the purpose of internal use or targeted at existing or potential customers. Regardless, the upward trend of companies launching especially developed web and mobile applications has given the business application software development market a solid boost over the last few years.
There are many reasons why you might want to choose professional bespoke business software developers instead of buying boxed software. Discussing all of the possible advantages falls a little beyond the scope of this piece. However, we will go over the top five advantages that bespoke business software guarantees you.
Boxed software, also known as off-the-shelf software, is exactly what you think it means: software in a box. Just like any other packaged good (such as macaroni, bleach, or a pair of scissors) which you could pick up at the nearest store, a lot of software products also come pre-packaged. You can either buy them literally off the shelf from a designated store or download them from the official seller’s website for a fixed amount of money. Boxed business applications are software products that are often generic solutions designed to address common problems faced by businesses. An example would be software such as QuickBooks, which allows you to perform quite a few accounting functions. You might have the option to skip or disable the functions which you do not want to use, but it is barely open to any further specialised modification.
Living up to their job titles, bespoke business software developers create applications that are fully customised after a detailed back and forth discussion regarding your particular business requirements. Several discovery sessions may be held between you – the client – and the developer or development team. You can tell the team exactly what purposes you want the app for and what kind of functions it is meant to perform. You can even customise the design and outlook if you have any ideas of your own, or allow your development team the creative freedom to come up with a suitable design.
Off-the-shelf business applications can be released by any kind of software product owner who decides to publish their software for a particular audience. There is no way to know the extent to which the product has been tested. Sometimes, the owner or publisher of the software rushes to launch the product as soon as possible just so they can beat their competitors to the market and capture the biggest audience. Boxed software can also be seen as a bulk-produced item that might undergo just enough quality assurance for it to allow basic functionality to its buyers.
With bespoke business apps, you have the privilege of asking the development team to test the functionality and quality of the product as many times as needed for your peace of mind. There are specialised QA experts who are part of the development team and whose sole responsibility is to make sure that the quality of the product is a hundred per cent. If at any point, you are not satisfied with the results, you can ask for revisions or further test runs until the product reaches perfection.
It is often argued that the costs of bespoke business application software development can be quite high. While this is true in most cases, the quality of the product that you receive at the end of the development lifecycle is certainly worth the high cost.
With off-the-shelf software products, there can be recurring costs attached which will be incurred after a certain fixed time period. For example, Google Drive packages are available at a monthly or yearly fee. This means if your critical business data is stored on the Google cloud, you will be forced to keep paying the fee for the rest of your business’s active life or until you switch to an alternative storage system.
Hiring bespoke business software developers to build a custom application for your organisation will incur a high one-time cost but the end product will last you a lifetime, possibly with minimal extra costs for periodic maintenance and updates. Therefore, in the long run, bespoke software can be much cheaper compared to off-the-shelf business applications and their ongoing license or subscription fees.
The threat of security breaches is very real for commercial off-the-shelf software. The companies which publish this software often focus more on its functionality rather than its non-functional aspects, such as security or user-friendliness. On top of that, a lot of third-party apps might collect data, with or without your explicit consent or knowledge, and share it with their partner organisations as well. Therefore, there is no guarantee of security and privacy when it comes to boxed software.
Bespoke business software developers are known for being forthright and addressing their clients’ privacy and security concerns with complete eagerness and honestly. Many bespoke business software development companies go to such lengths as signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with their client to guarantee the safety of all the data pertaining to a certain project. The development team also strives to incorporate the best and strongest possible security measures in place exactly according to what you wish to see in your business application.
Support and Maintenance
Since it is almost impossible to reach the developer(s) of an off-the-shelf software application, it is very unlikely that you will be able to approach them for additional support regarding their product. It is also a common occurrence in the case of boxed software where the original owners of the software app discontinue the product or abandon it and stop updating, asking their users to find an alternate product. Such an incident can incur high costs for organisations since it is expensive to switch from one business system to another, especially at short notice. In contrast, the dedicated services that custom business software developers offer also include support and maintenance packages which you can opt for in return for a minimal additional cost. This guarantees that you will receive help in case you run into a problem. In addition to that, you can also contact your developer to update your business app in case you want to add any new features to it in the future.
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