What Is Custom Software Development?

Written by Scott Craig|Posted on August 25, 2023

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Custom software development refers to the creation of new software to meet the needs of a specific set of users–whether that be an individual or a large enterprise. It covers everything from the design, development, deployment, and maintenance of a tailored software product.

Custom software development can be compared with the off-the-shelf software packages that are commercially available (e.g., Microsoft Office or Salesforce). The latter is designed with a fixed set of features for anyone who purchases the license, usually with higher subscription costs for users who want to upscale or get the full-featured version. They have generic feature sets that may be useful but can’t be changed by the user. This usually means that an organization has to purchase several licenses to different software packages to get all the tools they need to run its business.

In contrast, tailored software development is built according to the requirements of the client and no one else. Need a fast website? A slick mobile app? Something more specialized like a blockchain ledger or virtual reality platform? Choosing custom software development allows you to build a bespoke software product that has all the features and capabilities that you require.

Why Choose Custom Software Development?

The most straightforward reason that organizations commission custom software development is that they require a completely unique software product that does not currently exist on the market. But there are also other scenarios in which tailored software development would be a good solution. For example:

  • You want to have intellectual property rights over your software.
  • Your IT infrastructure is out-of-date, slow, or inefficient and needs to be modernized.
  • You previously relied on off-the-shelf software but it no longer meets your needs.
  • You want to retain the freedom to upscale or downscale your software as and when you choose.

When considering tailored software development, first look at the available off-the-shelf software solutions and check whether they really have everything you need to help achieve your business goals. If they do not, then tailored software development may be a worthwhile investment.

Benefits of Custom Software Development

When you choose tailored software development, you get a software product that is built according to the requirements you set. Let’s take a look at the potential benefits this can offer.

Tailored software development can be:

  • Efficient: Custom-built software is tailor-made to your business requirements, and should be a better fit for your needs, without wasteful or redundant aspects.
  • Scalable: As your business grows, you can upscale your own software based on your future plans, without being limited by the update schedule or subscription tiers of pre-packaged software.
  • Flexible: Similarly, custom software can be more easily updated and tweaked as your company adapts to changing market conditions.
  • Cost-effective: Since it is designed to be compatible with your existing business tools and infrastructure, and does not require recurring license payments, tailored software can save time and money.
  • Profitable: Typically, the contract for tailored software development should grant the client ownership over the final product. This means that you can potentially sell and license it in the future.
  • Liberating: Commercial software leaves you vulnerable to the vendor’s fortunes. You depend on their update schedule, security standards, support, pricing model, and even whether they stay in business. Custom software frees you from this dependence.

Tips for Successful Tailored Software Development

If you choose to go down the route of tailored software development, here are a few tips to bear in mind:

  • Close collaboration: Tailored software development relies on clear communication between clients, developers, users, and other stakeholders. Start with a discussion on requirements, budget, and IP rights. Reputable developers will offer a dashboard for monitoring the projects, and there should be regular check-ins for reporting and feedback.
  • Clear requirements: Get off to the best start by clearly defining a complete, consistent, and verifiable set of requirements and taking on developer feedback regarding timeline and feasibility. Bake in flexibility and modularity to account for likely changes during the development process.
  • Concrete methodology: Discuss with the developers which methodology will be used for the project. The software partner should be able to justify why the chosen methodology works best for your project, and this structure will provide a logical process that everyone can follow for reporting, tracking progress, and handling changes.

Outsourcing Solutions

Developing a custom software product is intensive work. Unless they have a very robust in-house IT team able to handle end-to-end development, organizations will usually outsource the development project to a third party that specializes in custom software development services. Outsourcing abroad can be particularly cost-effective given the high rates and shortage of developer talent in North America. Nearshore development companies based in Latin America can be a good option, as their IT talent will be both culturally and time-zone aligned with the US.

These companies can dedicate an entire team to the project and should be able to provide all the required skills necessary to design, develop, test, and deploy the software. A partner can also be retained to handle updates and maintenance in the long term. Because they also developed the software, the company is also best-placed to support it.

AccelOne’s experienced US-Nearshore development team has a proven track record of building quality software solutions for a variety of industries. If you would like to discuss how custom software development can help your organization achieve its business goals, contact us via our website or call 800.863.6814.

Scott Craig

Scott Craig



Kirkland, WA, USA

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