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Custom Software Development

Custom software development is the process of designing, creating, deploying and maintaining software for a specific set of users, functions or organizations. In contrast to commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS), custom software development aims at a narrowly defined set of requirements. COTS targets a broad set of requirements, allowing it to be packaged and commercially marketed and distributed. ustom software development is usually performed by in-house development teams or outsourced to a third-party. The same processes and methodologies apply to custom software development as other types of software development. A custom project would move through the familiar steps of requirements gathering, code construction, testing and deployment and apply the same methodologies, like Agile, DevOps or Rapid Application Development, as any other software project.


  • 1] Software Product Development:

    The first key to an effective custom software development project is making sure that custom software is truly needed, as opposed to buying a packaged solution — and there is good reason to be sure. Software solution finder and researcher Capterra reports that 75 percent of business and IT executives anticipate that their software projects will fail and that, over a year, fewer than a third of projects are completed on time and on budget.

    One approach to a build-vs-buy analysis is to ask if there is already a packaged software solution that delivers greater than 80 percent of the functions needed to:

    • Support or automate unique business processes and transactions
    • Handle information and data specific to an industry or line of business
    • Meet unique privacy or security requirements
    • Facilitate integration with legacy applications and data
    • Replace or help consolidate existing solutions at lower cost
    • Replace or help consolidate existing solutions to achieve greater productivity
    • Enable new opportunities or improve competitive advantage
    • Grow and adapt to changing requirements.

  • 2]Software Enhancement and Modernization:

    After applications are deployed, they need to be maintained and managed to be effective. One option to consider is outsourcing these tasks through an application services provider. Application services can include development but also provide support for enterprise applications like SAP, quality and testing services, and application lifecycle management. While some organizations opt to test, manage and maintain applications themselves, IBM has found that that application services can reduce costs and optimize efficiency; improve flexibility, feedback and user experience; and increase speed and innovation. An additional argument for outsourced application management is automation. Automation can support everything from software installation to critical updates. Outsourcing these tasks — and taking advantage of automation — enable IT organizations to improve software performance while focusing on core business tasks. A Forrester Total Economic Impact study sponsored by IBM found that automation for application management reduced tier-one service desk tickets by 70 percent, boosted availability by reducing system recovery time and costs by 80 percent, and improved capital efficiency by shifting 10 percent of the IT support budget to proactive work.

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