Custom Software Development: Pros and Cons

Technical Articles
Oleh Mykhaylovych
13 June 2016

What is the best decision when you need a specific application for your company? Custom software application development can become the best solution to hit all the aims. How does it work?

Custom software development is the concept, in terms of which applications are designed in a specific way to fit the needs of a certain user or a group of users. It is opposed to more traditional prefabricated solutions. Those applications are often not suitable for a wide range of purposes. Both a third-party team of an in-house group of developers may create it.

Off-the-shelf software development offers ready-made solutions for the mass audience. Custom software development companies target a specific user with precise needs. Microsoft Word, for instance, matches needs of many users. It may not cater to any specific entity.

Pros of Customized Applications

custom software development services

1. Your own solution

Every company has unique business needs. As a result of co-working with a custom software development company, you become the owner of applications that meet all your requirements. Companies often adapt their practices to how the applications work. What you need is to do the opposite thing. That is the only way to become successful in the modern world. Custom software development services help you remain competitive. It also has a major impact on productivity since the package of software is tailored to your needs. You no longer have to “share” the same solutions with you opponents.

2. Support and updates

With custom applications, your work is not dependent on the provider’s development cycle. You are in charge of all the updates and improvements. Working with in-house developers is more efficient. You have more personalized support. The team is aware of your individual requirements. As well, you have fewer troubles with hardware environment for applications’ hosting. Custom solutions do not need specific hosting. Applications are adapted to your existing server environment. You no longer have to pay twice as much for having twice as less.

3. No security issues

Using packaged software is quite risky. If someone hacks the software, all the companies using it are in great danger. Custom software development companies provide their customers with applications that may only be affected by targeted attacks. Your application may have extra security measures to ensure its safety. A custom service application development company may also enhance your solution’s integration with other software. It makes your team’s work much more intuitive and easy.

4. Step-by-step production

Custom software can be produced in chunks. It means that you can run MVP versions several times to check if there is production market fit. You may afterward add or alter certain parts. IT will help you achieve high performance of your application. You should remember that 80/20 rule might also be applied to custom software development. It says that 80% of users use 20% of the functionality. You aim is to define these 20%, even if you create software for internal needs and are short on time.

Cons of Customized Applications

software development company

1. Time and energy

People seldom know all the needs of their businesses. You will have to spend a reasonable amount of time researching it. Customized apps make no sense without including those features. Off-the-shelf solutions are great because they save your time and energy. You only need to buy it and adapt your workflow to it.

2. High upfront cost

A customized solution without doubts will cost much more. You will also have to make up a long-term relationship with a support team. But in future, forfeit gains may be bigger than software’s cost. An in-house developer may substitute the support team.

3. Less possibilities

We have already mentioned that off-the-shelf software covers a wide range of tasks. Of course, it is a great advantage for developing businesses. Ready-made solutions are often feature-rich, which is convenient for small teams. You may even find useful tools you never thought of having.

As we can see, the benefits are supreme. You should not forget about outsourcing custom software development. Pricing in Eastern European countries is relatively low. You have a great opportunity to get an efficient solution for a reasonable cost. This is not the only reason to consider outsourcing but it is the strongest one. Likewise, it allows you access to developed teams with their own equipment and methods. Investing into an in-house department can become a huge burden for your company. You may also outsource this project to China or India, which offer even lower prices. Keep in mind that these countries’ coding and outputs are not self-sufficient. In future, you may need to invest even more in the stage of support and maintenance. Custom software application development services ought to ease your work but not complicate it.

How to Choose a Proper Vendor

In fact, it would be quite useful to discuss how to choose the proper vendor for your project. You might find many (too many) companies providing their software development services. Some of them are quite fresh and underqualified. Others can amaze with huge portfolios and references.

We are not able to describe a perfect scheme to choose the right custom software developer. The thing is – every project is unique and has its own requirements. Only if your choice is based on certain needs and budget, you will be able to come up with the right decision. Even so, we can assist you in an informative way. You need to know the differences between development teams. Also, you should be aware of proper ​requreiment anakysis. This information will be almost enough.You need to define what kind of business problems your application will be solving. We should clear out that this step is essential for young companies. You indeed know that you have to work with right people to achieve success. The trouble is – how to get there? First, you need to identify your needs. It includes the already-mentioned business problem that seeks a solution. Do not forget about your target audience, software for solving your business problem etc. Only by answering these questions, you will understand which qualities your vendor should have. If the needs are not acknowledged, you will be looking for the wrong partner. You need to understand that development procedure is more complicated. You will only end up getting what you need if you will explain it properly. The core problem of modern entrepreneurs is that they tend to omit research phase. As a result, they choose wrong directions of development.

Nonetheless, we move on to four types of vendors based on their location and level of skill.

1. An onshore software development company may offer their services for medium to high wage. It is a good choice for an application of high-level complexity. Onshore developers are also good because you will have fewer problems with communication.

2. A boutique onshore software development company works best for complex and collaborative projects. It often has a high level of skill and familiarity with the business environment. But such companies usually charge much more than others do. So consider revising your financial plan.

3. An offshore development company is a great bet for small and simple projects. But it’s risky to hire an offshore vendor for a complex and collaborative applications. Their level of skill is rather doubtful. Besides, you will have problems with communication. Language barriers and different time zones make it difficult.

4. Local freelancers are another great bet for a simple project. They often charge much less than experienced teams. But you are not to expect an excellent performance of your future software. Yet, some of them have unique skillsets and are praised for rapid work.

Now you see the difference between vendors. You perhaps understand the significance of diligent preparations and research.

Industry or Methods?

Another widespread mistake clients make is thinking only  in terms of industry. When people look for vendors, they look for teams that have experience in a certain industry. For instance, a restaurateur would look for companies that used to deal with restaurant software, electronic menu applications, and other related projects. Without doubts, familiarity with the business context is significant. But it is not even nearly important as methods and approaches of a chosen vendor. Consider asking for references not only related to your industry.  Talking about methods – it’s strongly recommended to check if a vendor has experience in every stage of software development. If not, the company will not be able to design a self-sufficient application. Now let’s move on to an RFP process; its peculiarities within custom software development.

Request-for-proposal is the Key

Custom applications cannot be developed without a proper RFP process. Well, they can, but the result will be disappointing. You should start with requirements gathering, which we have discussed before. First, you talk in high-level detail with a potential vendor. Mention your understanding of the business problem and why it should find a solving. As a result, a developer will be able to offer you possible solutions. If financial plan and methods fit you, you may hire this vendor. But it’s not the end.

The thing is that clients often focus their attention on solutions. They should concentrate on including all critical requirements! Premature decisions may end up miserably, with a lot of money and time lost irreversibly. Take your time to make a decision. Long search is not a bad thing (in case if you have time for that, of course). Every call with every potential vendor adds something new to your understanding of the problem. Thus, the prospective vendor will speak to the most up-to-date understanding of your needs. Well, if you update and revise your RFP from time to tome. All this crucial information will make the process of development much easier and cost-efficient.


Custom software application development is a significant sphere of IT. We can hardly imagine modern businesses without this ‘innovation’. For sure, it can some benefits and disadvantages – just as any connect on our planet. Now you are able to make up your own mind and decide whether it matches your requirements or not. It is also important to make sure that the vendor you hired is qualified enough for your project. Unfortunately, one wrong decision in this sphere may dead-end your company. Bud don't worry - the results of meticulous requirement analysis will ensure your success.

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