Custom Software Development and Implementation (Step 3)
While some companies jump directly into custom software development, initiatives that focus on solving business problems and achieving business goals need to start by focusing on process, strategy, and design.
Historically, mid-market companies have underinvested in IT. This is unfortunate because the mid-market typically can dramatically out-spend their small business competitors while outmaneuvering their slow-to-change enterprise competitors.
Surviving and Thriving in a Digital-First World
Consider, for example, that mobile apps are approaching a $189 billion business from sales via app stores and in-app advertising. And there are now over 2.3 billion smartphone users and more than 1.2 billion tablet users worldwide.
Even IT-savvy companies that are deeply committed to aggressive growth have been slow to recognize that every business, slowly but surely, will evolve into a technology-centric company.
And with the mindset, it’s quite common for these same companies to outgrow the off-the-shelf software as a service (SaaS) applications that were almost impulsively selected and deployed – with little thought given to their long-term suitability for purpose. In the same context, some companies may not use SaaS solutions but instead use highly-inefficient manual labor.
Across dozens of industries, companies are being forced to confront marketplace realities and competitive realities.
Expectations Have Changed and Many Companies Are Falling Behind
In the marketplace, your clients, employees, partners, and other stakeholders live in a digital-first world and have much higher expectations for your company to deliver on than your company is capable of delivering on today.
And your competitive battleground is no longer what it was a mere five years ago. In the same way that you delight over getting website leads, sales opportunities, clients, and revenue from a much broader geographic market than you were able to serve in the past, your competitors – both direct and indirect – are enjoying the same emerging growth opportunities – many times at your expense. To put it simply: Your company’s complacency, and obsession with living in the past is your competition’s opportunity.
So what can you do to use IT as a much more strategic growth engine? Custom software is often the answer.
To identify the right custom software company to partner with, you’ll want to first understand the roles and responsibilities of a typical software development team.
Identifying the Right Software Development Team
Although custom software development is part of the IT industry, software development is very much a people-centric business.
Every successful custom software project centers around the people on the team – the different technologists and specialists.
- Front-End Software Developers.
- Back-End Software Developers.
- Database Developers and Database Architects.
- UI/UX Specialists (User Interface/User Experience Specialists).
- Project Managers.
- Business Analysts.
- Software Testers (manual and automated).
- DevOps Engineers.
Categories of Custom Software Development
Now that you understand why companies invest in custom software development and how software development teams are structured, it can be beneficial to survey the different categories of custom software development.
Custom Systems Development
We don’t just build a website. We build a digital replication of your business processes. We can transform your departments from old-school manual labor and human error to automation and optimization.
We build and support unique custom systems based specifically on your business processes using the most modern technologies.
We start with gathering a client’s business requirements and coding or programming those requirements into a solution.
Depending on what a client is trying to achieve, development can involve anything from a very basic page of plain text to a complex ecommerce website or social networking platform.
For example, when designing an ecommerce website, there are two basic approaches:
- A full-blown custom website, essentially trying to create the next Amazon or eBay.
- A template.
When a company is concerned with launching fast, a template with small changes can be a speedy and cost-effective way to go.
To determine if a template makes sense as a starting point, most designers need to take the time to understand the client’s target market, the client’s competitive environment, and the client’s color scheme.
Clients often purchase a basic custom website package with a certain number of hours, that are billed hourly, and includes, for example, two rounds of revisions.
Mobile App Development
To build software that’s relevant to today’s mobile-first user device needs, mobile app development must be specific to the iOS and Android mobile operating systems.
As one of the more efficient ways to develop mobile apps, NativeScript is an open-source framework that allows developers to work cross-platform – and simultaneously develop apps on the Apple iOS and Android platforms – while using the same code base.
With that said, there are different approaches to developing mobile apps.
1. Native Apps
This would consist of building native iOS and Android apps. With this two different apps would be built and supported. While this may be more expensive, you’ll get the highest performance with the most recent native tools which have guaranteed support.
2. Cross-Platform Mobile Apps
This is where a single instance is developed and supported. While this is less expensive, there is no guarantee that every single native element is supported or will be supported in the future. One example of this is NativeScript.
This is not an app. Rather, it imitates your mobile website. User experience will be worse than with Native or Cross-Platform Mobile Apps. However, some businesses want to have mobile apps just to put the iOS and Android logos on their websites.
Custom API Development
APIs, or application programming interfaces, have existed in IT for decades and are the glue that connects one software product to another.
Content Management Systems (CMS) Development
When a custom software development project requires a content management system, great care should be undertaken during the process and strategy phase to make sure that the right CMS platform is selected.
While there are potential CMS platforms to choose from, the most popular Open Source CMS’s include WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.
In addition to both Open Source and commercially-available CMS platforms, some custom software development needs are best addressed by building a highly-customized CMS. Again all of these considerations should be vigorously explored during a structured initial process and strategic engagement to make sure that the custom software development project is being built on the right long-term foundation.