You must have definitely heard of software products like Microsoft Office, Gmail, Microsoft Windows Operating System, etc. We categorize all of them into commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) products.
These products are designed keeping the generalized needs of customers in mind and thus can be commercially distributed and marketed. They require very little setup time and so are preferred by many people.
Most of the off-the-shelf software
products come with handy guidelines such as books, manuals, documentation,
tutorials and other resources that users can use in case they face any problem.
Custom Software is Developed for a Specific Set of Users
Custom software development is the process of planning, designing, developing, implementing, testing, deploying and maintaining a product that is directed towards a narrowly defined set of requirements.
It can help in meeting the unique requirements of an organization efficiently thus providing an increased level of productivity.
Let’s quickly go through some benefits that you can reap from using custom software products as opposed to off-the-shelf software solutions.
Every business is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all software solution.
You don’t have to change your working style to suit some software. As stated before, custom-made software takes care of all the requirements of your company.
The Company’s requirements are constantly changing. Off-the-shelf software products cannot always accommodate the changing needs that occur because of the company’s growth.
A custom software product can be designed to scale and support the growth of business whenever required.
One of the most vital concerns for companies in the security of the software and applications they develop or use. Integrating security protocols with off-the-shelf software is not only expensive but also difficult.
Also, implementing various security standards to manage the flow of data within the internal processes of an organization requires a high amount of deliberation and thought.
For custom software, you can choose the security protocols and technologies that are ideally suited for your business.
Another important parameter is Cost Effectiveness which we will cover in detail in this article.
No matter how big or small your organization is you always want to use your funds wisely. While launching any software product, it is essential to proactively manage costs.
A lot of software projects fail because of poor planning and management of financial resources. According to an article on Harvard Business Review, one in six software projects has a cost overrun of 200%.
Through custom software development is a lengthy and demanding process, it can assist a business is operating efficiently and generate bigger profits.
Saving Money When Developing Custom Software
Below are five tips that we think can help you in saving money while building custom software.
1. Adopt Agile Methodology
In recent times, Agile methodology has evolved as a popular tool to manage work efficiently to develop the highest quality product while keeping the budget under check.
Instead of gathering heaps and heaps of requirements that may never get translated into reality, Agile focuses on developing a working product.
It espouses an iterative and collaborative style of development. With agile, it is easier to scale and adapt to changes.
It is a cost-effective approach as it allows the stakeholders to evaluate the product at every stage and ensure that it has all the expected functionalities.
Adopting Agile Methodology in the development of your custom software product is a great way to do more work effectively while keeping the costs under control.
2. Be Clear About Your Requirements and Prioritize Features
You must be crystal clear about your requirements to avoid any ambiguity. Misinterpreting requirements can lead to disorganized architecture, inappropriate functionality, and an inferior product.
The losses incurred in developing a product that is unacceptable are huge. Thus, before starting the project, you must completely understand business needs meticulously and then come up with the requirement analysis.
With clear requirements, the development team knows exactly what they need to develop. This approach not only saves time but also ensures scheduled delivery.
Once you decide all the features you want in the software, you should not just start working towards developing the product. You must put them through a filter to decide which features are important enough to be included in the final product.
Just because a feature sounds fancy or is demanded by a stakeholder, it does not necessarily mean that your software needs it.
You must bear in mind that every feature that you include in your product has a cost associated with it. Filtering out non-essential features is a great way to reduce development costs.
3. Start Testing Right From The Early Stages of Development
To ensure that software is built according to the requirements, start testing from the early stages of development. Bugs and other issues will start piling up and if you don’t take care of them immediately, they can disseminate making debugging harder and expensive.
Involving a Quality Analysis team prior to the development can be influential in avoiding the subservient quality of product and reducing excess costs they might occur as a result of the change in design while the project is under development.
Testing and quality assurance should go hand in hand with the software development process.
4. Outsourcing Custom Software Development Project
Outsourcing software development to third-party organizations is one of the simplest ways to reduce development costs.
A lot of custom software development services charge on an hourly basis that can help you get your job done not only at a fast pace but also at affordable rates.
The process is quite simple. From a pool of companies that deal with software development, you need to pick the one that suits you the best.
Generally, you should favor someone who has years of experience in developing software products similar to what you have in mind. Their past clients and projects should be considered while converging to a decision.
You can then hire developers from their company who will start working for you right away.
You save a lot of money by outsourcing a project as most of the operational and infrastructural costs are eliminated.
Building a successful software project requires proper communication and coordination between all the teams involved.
According to a report by The Standish Group, 52.7% of projects will cost 189% of their original estimates. One of the main reasons for such cost overruns is constant changes in the scope and features of the project arising out of poor communication between different teams.
If the software development team is not clear about any aspect of the project, they should take efforts to understand the grey areas by discussing with other stakeholders.
Minimizing guesswork can help in reducing the cost increase and project failures.
All the stakeholders need to work in
close collaboration with one another to avoid uncertainties and conflicts
occurring from shearing or disrupting the natural workflow.
These are the 5 major tips from our side that we think will help you cut the custom software development costs to a great extent.
Building custom software not only helps in saving money but also comes with some other important benefits.
No matter what the size of your business is, with these tips, you can get started with developing impressive custom software and accelerate your business’ growth.