Software Developer Consultant, San Diego, California

Custom Software Development

Custom Software Development generally refers to software that is tailored to meet the needs of your specific company, as opposed to something purchased as an "off-the-shelf" or "packaged" product. Off-the-shelf products are instead intended to be sold to many different companies, and therefore designed to meet a more generalized set of requirements. Some may be designed with the flexibility to be highly customizable so as to potentially address the needs of many different companies, possibly after enlisting the aid of a consultant to assist with adding customizations to the software.

Before investing in custom software development, it may be prudent to first take a look at what off-the-shelf products are already available that might meet your business need. If an off-the-shelf product is available, it may be a good idea to see if you can obtain an evaluation copy before committing to a purchase. You will want to install and evaluate the product in the most typical real-world situations possible to see if the product really does what you thought it would. Don't base you decision solely on sales literature or documentation accompanying the product which can often be easily misinterpreted. You may also want to talk to existing users of the product, if such references are available from the product vendor, to hear how well the product is actually meeting the needs of other companies in your field.

However, when searching for off-the-shelf products to fill a business need, companies are often surprised to find that there may be little or nothing to choose from in the way of off-the-shelf products that fully address their company's specific business needs. Your company may have developed certain methods of conducting business that have worked very well over the years and that even provide the company with a certain competitive edge. Would you be able or willing to change your way of doing business to be more like every other company in your field for the sake of conforming to the design of an off-the-shelf product? If not, then this is where custom software may enter the picture.

Instead of conforming your way of doing business to match the design of an off-the-shelf product, you may instead opt to keep your business processes as is, and have custom sofware designed to work well with those specific business processes.