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Why Custom Software is Essential for Competitive Advantage
Types of software development

Why Custom Software is Essential for Competitive Advantage

The technology landscape is changing all the time, and businesses need to stay on the front foot. Regardless of your size or sector, adopting custom software is one of the best ways to stay agile and flexible in the face of change. Bespoke software allows you to solve complex problems and deliver value where it counts, which gives you a real competitive advantage.

What is custom software?

Software comes in all shapes and sizes, from isolated code fragments to universal applications and operating systems. Along with defining software based on its size and functionality, you can also look at its level of customisation. While most individuals use commercial off-the-shelf software products, organisations often require unique software solutions.

Also known as bespoke software, custom software is any type of software that has been designed for a specific set of needs. While off-the-shelf solutions are designed to solve universal problems for a large user base, custom software is designed to meet the needs of specific users, organisations, or functions. From data warehousing and business intelligence (BI) solutions to web-based services and mobile applications, custom code is a precise solution to a recognised problem.

Custom software development is the process of designing, building, implementing, and managing software products and services. It requires a special set of skills, from idea validation to design, development, testing, governance, and support. For very large organisations, these tasks are often performed in-house by a special development team. For small and medium-sized organisations, or those without a large technology department, they are generally outsourced to third-party experts.

Types of custom software

If you're looking for a real competitive boost, custom software may be the solution. Why use the same software as the competition when you can access tailored applications that highlight your unique services and attributes?
Custom software covers everything from operational workflows and data management to customer engagement and security. Whether you're interested in isolated code, specific applications, or large integrated systems, bespoke software solutions typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • Industry-specific software is designed to meet the needs of a particular industry or market — for example, inventory management for retailers or patient tracking for healthcare providers.
  • Management-specific software is about managing internal resources and tasks. It includes customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, and operational management.
  • Technology-specific software is built around a single technology or tool. These robust solutions are ideal for some industries, but they can become inefficient and outdated easily.
  • Platform-specific software is developed for a specific platform. Examples of this are desktop, mobile, and cloud applications. This category allows the possibility for cross-platform development.

The competitive benefits of custom software

Custom software is the preferred solution for many organisations. While initial development costs are higher, and it takes longer getting everything ready, the final code is built-for-purpose and the end results are more efficient. Whether you're a small family business working directly with customers or a large B2B enterprise fulfilling a market niche, custom software delivers the following competitive advantages:

Shape your vision

Custom software helps to transform your vision into reality. Rather than trying to fit a square box into a round hole, you can build accurate solutions to solve specific problems. Instead of being a slave to someone's else system, adopting custom software allows you to build your business with your own system. The competitive benefits of this approach are huge, and they get more pronounced over time. While your competitor is wasting time and resources wrestling with an off-the-shelf application, you can streamline your operation using code designed especially for you.

Increase your productivity

Custom application development can boost your productivity through new levels of efficiency and integration. Every organisation is unique, and real productivity comes when specific solutions are matched with specific problems. Many bespoke applications use automated processes instead of manual entry systems, saving valuable time and resources. Not only is this more efficient on a per-task basis, but it also presents you with valuable new opportunities. Instead of wasting time on repetitive tasks like your rivals, your employees can perform creative tasks that deliver real value.

Improve your agility

In the modern business world, things are changing all the time. New technologies are being adopted at record pace, supply chains are shifting like sand, and remote working arrangements are affecting how employers and employees relate. In this environment, the ability to move quickly and easily is more important than ever. Custom software helps you stay fleet of foot, with software development teams able to add new features, drop outdated services, and make adjustments when needed. When you're trying to compete, this freedom can be incredibly valuable.

Enhance your security

Data security is an important part of every modern business. Whether you're a healthcare provider dealing with sensitive customer records or a retailer dealing with payments and accounts, you need to ensure robust security standards at every turn. Commercial off-the-shelf software titles are well known to hackers, making them much easier to exploit. In contrast, custom software is designed for your industry sector to satisfy the needs of your customers. Vulnerabilities are limited and security updates are handled in real time to reduce risk.

Enable long-term scalability

Custom software is about solving specific problems and avoiding unnecessary bloat. This has a number of benefits for businesses, both immediately and well into the future. Custom code provides greater visibility over data, more control over services, and improved analysis capabilities. This helps you to run a tighter ship and allows you to scale your operation over time. Custom software solutions can even be built with specific roadmaps in mind, and if things change along the way, you can make adjustments as you see fit.

If you want a real advantage over your competition, building custom software is a great place to start. Instead of using the same off-the-shelf software packages as your rivals, bespoke solutions allow you to stay focused and remain unique. For innovative business solutions delivered by a proven software development company, please contact ELEKS today.

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