The use of custom software is not a new thing in the world of business. In fact, tech giants like Apple, IBM and Microsoft have been making the most of designing and implementing their own bespoke software solutions for decades. But what’s the appeal? And how could it benefit you?
Build vs buy
The decision between custom or existing software is often referred to as the “build versus buy” decision, and it can have a significant impact when it comes to companies acknowledging and addressing their software requirements.
It’s not the case that everyone needs to invest in custom software, which is where some of the decisions lie. For many, there is only a benefit in investing in bespoke options if it provides a significant competitive edge. Otherwise, the cost can potentially outweigh the positives.
This is, unless you can spread that cost out. For larger businesses, the cost of custom software can be balanced over the large number of clients that it’s used for - helping to reduce the impact that the initially large outlay may potentially cause.
The on-going license / support fee for custom built software is much less compared to software as a service model used by off-the-shelf systems.
Why custom software?
Despite these potentially large initial costs, custom software can be worth its weight in gold if you’re looking to build a business on a meaningful scale, particularly as the modern business world progresses. Building your own software that is specifically tailored to your company’s needs, as well as being focused on scalability and efficiency, can affect everything from the quantity of deliverables, to the cost.
If your business involves a complex model, then custom software can allow you to make adjustments on a granular level - allowing for functionality that may not be possible in an off-the-shelf solution.
Also, custom build software is easier to modify or integrate with other in-house development tools in the future
So, what’s the cost?
A lot of the time when people talk about custom software the first thing that springs to mind is the idea that it’s going to be expensive. And while this isn’t necessarily false, it’s not quite that simple. If custom software allows you to be a more productive, effective business, then the return on investment needs to be considered. If the use of a custom set up means that your employees are more efficient in the use of their time, or you can even offer a whole new service, then that’s a huge factor to consider when weighing up the costs of an initial outlay.
It’s also worth considering the cost of existing software that you use. If you pay for packages or subscriptions that can be cancelled due to the capabilities of the new platform, then these are all considerations when deciding if a custom solution is right for you.
Custom software and your business
Another common misconception is that custom software is only for large, multinational corporations with a global footprint. This simply is not the case. Custom software is a bespoke offering, which means it can fit the needs that your business has. Although you may want a full-service solution, you may only require a small addition to streamline or link software you already own - meaning there are options out there for SMEs too.
Evaluating your needs as a business, and identifying where you can make adjustments in order to save time and money, can help you to identify what you need from a technology standpoint. It will also help you to determine whether or not now is the time to make the leap - or if you should wait.
Here are some examples of businesses who have used custom software to their advantage:
The world’s most famous search engine is a prime example of custom software succeeding. Starting life in a garage, Larry Page and Sergey Brin created a platform that could organise and maintain information, and was accessible to people all over the world. Now the most commonly used search engine in the world, Google has since birthed other platforms like Google Drive and Gmail - expanding the scope of its offering.
If you’re a computer user then you’ve probably come across Microsoft. Another custom platform that started life in a garage, this time in Albuquerque, Microsoft was built by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who focused on creating a new wave of operating system - with the most impressive version being called Windows. Nowadays, it’s still the top desktop operating software used around the globe.
Founded on 1st April 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Apple Computer Inc is one of the world’s most instantly recognisable brands. With slick tech products spanning phones, tablets and desktop computers, Apple carved out a niche in the market by making both the hardware and the custom software on which it runs. Think Mac OS and iOS as just a couple of examples of how Apple created software that allowed for its machines to run more efficiently, as well as being instantly recognisable to users. The motto ‘our software on our hardware’ rings true for their customers, and exists to this day.
Software solutions from RSK
Running a business is not an easy feat. When you consider trying to put all of the various necessary aspects in sync, like administration, operations, and technology, as well as client deliverables, it can become a task.
For a growing business, looking at investing in custom software solutions is just one of the ways to ease the strain being placed on you or your team. Carefully consider your needs as a business, as well as the tasks that are stealing your time, and use this as a basis for determining the requirements you place on software solutions.
RSK Business Solutions are able to offer support in a variety of software applications, including bespoke software development and smart sourcing options. To find out more about how these can be used to support your business, get in touch with one of our knowledgeable team members today.