Custom software is built specifically for the exact needs of an organization. Since each business has unique strategies, procedures and staff, it is inevitable that boxed software systems will fall short to manage all aspects of a business’ day-to-day operations. Symptoms of this problem are often the number of spreadsheets, paper forms, checklists and procedures created to fill the gaps.
Custom software is typically best suited for when these “bandages” become burdensome to the operation of a business. For example, if spreadsheets have become too complicated to be managed daily, customers or orders have fallen through the cracks, response times have increased, or analyzing and reporting upon data is now a regular time consuming task, then there may be a business case for a custom software solution.
Although that is a common application of custom software, it certainly is not the only one. For example, custom software development is often required to create an online portal for customers to manage their accounts, pay bills and so forth. There may be functionalities on a company’s website that would also require custom development such as e-commerce, referral programs, crew coordination, and inventory management.
Whether a desktop or mobile application is then developed will depend on the details of the issue at hand. For example, if offline access is required (i.e., it is critical that the application continues working even in case of an Internet outage), then a desktop application capable of satisfying this need may be developed. If on-the-go access to the data is required, then a mobile application will likely be the way to go.
It is important to mention that if a cost-effective boxed solution already exists to solve the problem the organization is facing, we typically recommend to begin by researching and testing the boxed solution, in order to ensure that custom software is warranted for the client’s specific situation.
If you have any questions about whether your business problem could be solved by custom software, just give us a call at 519.937.9053 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss your options with you!
Claudia Accardi, MSW, RSW is a Business Analyst with Dattivo Software in London, Ontario. With a background in research, economics, and marketing she translates clients’ needs into software requirements.