A lot of companies offer proven business applications that facilitate corporate operations. So why create new tools? The answer is simple: None of the commercial solutions will replace a tailor-made application that is adapted to your business. Find out how does custom software development benefit your business.
Who should consider custom software development?
Custom software is the perfect solution for any conscious business having a problem to solve or an opportunity at hand. At Stepwise we believe that technology should serve as the tool for achieving specific and measurable business objectives. In this light, custom software development for any modern business should be considered where it is justified in terms of business or economics goals.
Custom software should be taken into consideration particularly by:
- Innovators, start-ups, product owners with global potential.
- Mature businesses that want to develop and gain/maintain a market leadership position.
Those companies that move to custom software development generally have an extensive knowledge of their specialisation or branch. They are experienced entrepreneurs aware of their business, and aspiring to develop a digital product that will be a Game Changer in the market. They have the competence necessary to achieve this objective, but they lack some of the predispositions to implement their idea. A lack of access to the necessary IT specialists is a common problem in this respect.
At Stepwise we love working on custom software. Cooperation with conscious customers who know what they want, who are open to innovative ideas and have a concrete vision of their digital product, is a powerful surge of energy and motivation for our team to develop the best in technological solutions.
Custom software vs. commercial applications – which to choose?
There is a plethora of subscription based solutions on the market, with proven applications that facilitate company operations to varying degrees. So, is it always worth developing new custom software fine tuned to individual needs?
At Stepwise customer needs are our top priority. At the onset of cooperation we always aim to understand our potential partner’s business. This allows us to recommend optimum solutions. Not in every case is software created from the ground up…
Those companies that turn to us usually want to take advantage of an opportunity, or solve a specific business concern. If our preliminary research shows that the solution the customer needs already exists in the market, we will advise a commercial application.
It is often the case that the use of existing paid software is not an ideal option. Commercial software licences are usually very expensive, with extra costs related to user training, as well as additional consultants and lawyers. It is sometimes necessary to modify the entire business model (logistics, data management policy, internal procedures).
An interesting example: Some time ago, after 7 years of operation, Lidl (a well-known discount chain) cancelled implementation of the SAP inventory management system in its stores in the European Union. Aside from the years of work by many people, this venture had cost EUR 500 million. The company resigned from the SAP licence as they had not managed to achieve the expected goals within acceptable levels of cost. The efficient organisation and commitment of many experts were not sufficient to configure the ready-made commercial solution to the individual business model of the Lidl brand.
For many companies, custom software development can be much more beneficial. Contrary to appearances, this decision can result in a considerably lower investment than in the case of buying licences for advanced off-the-shelf business solutions. What is more, with commercial solutions you can only repeat patterns, while custom applications can become unique game changers that will make you a global leader.
The Stepwise example: Recently, we served a customer whose main group of recipients are banks. The customer wanted to create a credit risk management platform. In banks this risk is evaluated by algorithms that decide who will receive financial support.
Typically, in ordinary software companies or internal IT departments, after receiving an order developers create new software. A problem appears when a business analyst implements changes into the strategy or model of credit granting. The IT department can estimate that making changes will take a few months and support of a few additional employees is necessary.
To better understand that partner’s needs, at the onset we asked what the application was needed for and the concerns that needed to be solved. One of the main issues discussed at that stage were the consequences for the target customers – the banks, if they did not use that custom application in the nearest future.
It turned out that the analysts in the company were doing a lot of repeatable tasks manually. Without an efficient application, in a few months it would have been necessary to employ several new people to perform the same tasks. A custom application would have allowed automation of a big portion of the work by implementing machine learning to the process and lowering the costs related to additional staff.
At Stepwise we carried out our own research and found out there was similar commercial software available in the market. One disadvantage that influenced the customer decision was the very expensive licence.
The customer then decided to use open source solutions for developing the platform. Stepwise built a custom business process management system relatively efficiently and very effectively. The entire project took only 6 months.
The customer did not have to bear the costs of employing and maintaining new IT staff, and the project completion time shortened considerably. There was also no need to engage additional analysts. As a result, we developed software that solved the concerns of that customer’s client, the banks.
That Stepwise product definitely deserved to be called a game changer. Not only directly for our customer, but also for smaller banks and the insurance and telecom sectors. It has huge potential that will certainly be used by our partner. This is a great example of why tailor-made software outweighs commercial solutions.
How does custom software development benefit your business?
Get to know the most important advantages of developing custom software for your company. Find out how custom software can boost your business.
The most important advantages of custom software:
- A unique digital product
- Better code security
- Considerably cheaper than commercial applications
- A solution perfectly adapted to your business
- The opportunity to use the latest technologies
- More potential to win global markets
- Flexible custom product scaling
- Better technical debt management
- Shorter implementation time
Why is it better to use the services of a custom software development company?
When developing custom software, some companies refrain from using external software houses. As part of their current operations, they create new inexperienced IT departments and entrust them with developing advanced business technologies. In many cases this does not end well. Only extensive experience and up-to-date technological knowledge enable creating good digital products with no risk of cardinal mistakes during project execution.
Non-technological companies that want to build digital products single-handedly have to be aware of the many responsibilities and obstacles:
– People with appropriate competencies need to be employed in the project team.
– IT experts in a company mean high costs of employment.
– The IT sector follows its own rules, and the employee selection process itself can pose a challenge.
– After employing people, proper team management and motivating specialists are significant.
– Even the best workplace is not immune to staff rotation. This is where established procedures, risk management and rapid crisis response will count.
– It can be very hard to run a business activity and at the same time maintain the discipline necessary to complete a digital project on time.
And many others.
When developing custom applications, outsourcing IT services shifts almost the entire responsibility for the efficient project completion to a software development company. Experienced software houses solve all the above presented elements. For new in-house IT departments this can be much more problematic.
Stepwise provides its customers with access to the most qualified IT specialists, caring for the appropriate motivation of employees, and if need be turning to the pool of available experts in the market to quickly engage new team members. We take responsibility for proper project risk management, and thanks to our many years of experience working on various projects we have developed efficient operating procedures for effective custom software development.
One of the most decisive factors for developing custom software using software houses is undoubtedly their professional and up-to-date knowledge as well as practical experience. The Stepwise team has been building its technical background for years and ensures a top level of the knowledge of DevOps, UX/UI, software testing and automation of business processes.
From the onset of cooperation our customers receive sound and valuable advice. Our business partners appreciate our agile approach to project completion which allows us to flexibly adjust our operations to the needs of a given customer.
Conscious entrepreneurs pay a great deal of attention to the so-called time-to-market. The time required to move a digital product from concept to market is often the most important issue determining business success or failure. A company with no experience in custom business software development will not be able to estimate the exact project completion time. A lack of relevant background poses a significant risk of delay.
How are custom applications developed at Stepwise?
Not only does custom software development require the engagement of a team of coding developers, but it also requires a range of specialists in various competencies and a set of reliable practices in planning and carrying out the process of creating innovative solutions. In addition, adequate infrastructure needs to be prepared, and modern proven compatible technologies have to be selected. A reliable software house needs to understand the given business. They need to know what a particular application is for and what its general purpose is. This is how we approach custom software development at Stepwise.
Digital projects are multi-faceted processes that pose a challenge for many companies. Stepwise steps beyond the box of a standard software house, and serves as advisor and carer in the process of custom application development. We know how important time-to market is for entrepreneurs, which is why we use proven open source solutions (Java, Kotlin and React, et al.) that considerably accelerate project progress.
When a customer asks Stepwise for help or advice for the first time, we always recommend validation of the concept for the digital product. This can be market research, investigation into available solutions and analysis of the needs of potential application users. Customer success is a top priority for our team. Whenever possible, we try to predict upcoming problems that may stall the project.
For this reason, at the beginning we recommend preparing a proof-of-concept (or audit), and then (within 2.4 months) creating an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). These take relatively little time and resource and require much lower investment than creating a final digital product, but provide a wealth of valuable information for correct decision making in the further development of a custom digital product.
A Stepwise example: Recently, a customer asked us to develop some custom software. Rather than immediately signing a contract for a complete system, we recommended developing an MVP. We worked on the prototype for about three months. The customer received the efficient product and gave it to three testers. Their feedback helped in effectively developing the project further. After six months there were 13 testers. In short time, the product will be ready for a complete launch, with optimum marketing and monetisation.
That strategy allowed the addition of innovative practical functionalities to the product on an ongoing basis. The customer received market confirmation of their concept and will be able to start developing their product on a larger scale with higher chances of success.
Those companies that wish to gain a leadership position in their sector in today’s world need to be unique not only in terms of visual identification. Only the most charismatic businesses that stand out from others at various levels, as well as the level of the technology, will survive in the market.
Even though commercial software has its advantages, in many cases the implementation of custom software to business is faster and cheaper, and a lot of mistakes can be eliminated from the onset of the process.
When engaging in customer dialogue, our team checks when the customer is ready for the development and implementation of a revolutionary technological solution. We will not recommend you a custom application if there is a better way to develop your business.
Stepwise are people – experts and practitioners with many years of experience in software development and interdisciplinary competencies. Every single project is the result of our experiences and practice from earlier ventures, which is why our model of cooperation and operation strategy are so effective. Despite this we do not rest on our laurels, and keep developing the competencies of our team as well as improving our methods of operation and the quality of the digital products we deliver.
If you want to effectively develop your business and are looking at which to choose – custom software or a ready-made commercial application, Stepwise will help you to take this decision. Contact us. It will be our pleasure to recommend you the best option for your company.