Bespoke software, also known as custom or tailor-made software, refers to software that has been created specifically for a business.
Developing your own software application can be quite enticing. The thought of putting an end to incessant subscription costs and finally having a solution that meets all your business needs is enough to make anyone consider creating one of their own.
Before you take the plunge, it’s important to keep in mind that most--if not all--of the benefits of developing your own software will only be seen in the long-term. Here are the five main points to consider before investing in bespoke software:
1. What does your team look like?
Developing your bespoke software is no easy task, and you need to make sure your company currently has, is prepared to employ, or is ready to outsource any of its missing links.
The basic professional profiles you’ll need to have on hand to create your custom software are:
- Project Manager
- Front-end software engineer
- Back-end software engineer
- QA Tester
Depending on the size and complexity of your bespoke software, the number of individuals in each position may vary.
Pro tip: You can save costs by choosing professionals that have mixed experience. For example, it’s common to find workers with both front-end and back-end experience (Full-stack engineers) and combined UX/UI profiles.
2. Do you have the funds to support the initial investment?
When developing your own software, the initial investment can be a significant hurdle to overcome. For starters, you’ll need to have sufficient funds set aside to pay the salaries of any new profiles you’ve hired to work on this project.
Even if you’re using existing talent, the opportunity cost of having them work on a new project instead of dedicating time to their usual tasks and projects can be quite high. Any return on investment will be delayed, at least until your product has reached its MVP (minimal viable product) stage.
Beyond human resource costs, you must also take infrastructure, product licensing, and implementation costs into account so that you can properly create your bespoke software and manage it once its completed.
3. High-quality bespoke software: what are your time constraints?
Building anything from scratch takes time. If you plan on building high-quality bespoke software that rivals your competition, you need to allot for the appropriate amount of time.
The software development lifecycle consists of six commonly accepted phases:
- Testing & Integration
Each step of the software development lifecycle can take anywhere from weeks to months to complete depending on the complexity and dedication you’re willing to give your tailor-made software. Rushing the process will only lead to mistakes and higher repair costs in the future. Be sure to bare this in mind and plan accordingly.
4. What about security concerns?
Developing bespoke software that meets your business needs is important. That being said, investing time and energy into creating the adequate security measures to back it up may prove to be the ultimate deciding factor in your software’s success.
Failing to provide the proper data protection for users can lead to severe legal ramifications. For this reason, it’s of utmost importance to run your software through a gauntlet of penetration tests to ensure its security measures are on point. Specialized companies can perform these tests for you as well as provide you with customized security recommendations to get your software ready for launch.
5. What makes your bespoke software stand out?
Take a moment to consider why you’re creating your own software in the first place. Are you trying to create a cost-effective solution to a recurring problem? Are you trying to create something that currently does not exist? Create an outline of all the features your bespoke software needs to include and contrast them with an estimate of the time and money that it will take to complete.
Ask yourself, how long will it take to finally see a ROI? Is it worth it? If you answered “yes” to the last question, then it’s time to get started.
Success with proper planning
Potential pitfalls can be transformed into benefits if planned accordingly and monitored correctly.
With the proper team, time and investment considerations taken into account, security foresight, and a great product, you will have everything in place to succeed with your custom software.