Dec 16, 2020 Written by David Barlev

Why Custom Developed Applications Are Better for Your Business in 2021

A group of team members at a table

When managing clients and employees in your company, there’s a reason custom developed applications are better for your business.

With about a million different software brands out there—each one offering products that serve a different purpose—it can be hard to pick. Some are better than others, sure, but almost none of them built their program with you in mind.

With license fees as high as they are, it can be a huge expense to purchase even one of these services, let alone three or four to round out all the right features. Custom developed applications give you the chance to obtian features you need without having to pay for multiple subscriptions.

Let’s take a look at why custom developed applications are the better choice for your business.

Limitless Features

A woman at a computerThe first and most attractive reason to go the custom route is being able to pick and choose what you want. Imagine calling Salesforce to ask for a fully customized product of only the features you want—nothing else. Then, you ask for those features tweaked a little so they better fit your needs.

It would cost a fortune (if they decided to oblige).

When you choose to build fully customized software, you give yourself the option to use features like sales reporting, customer data, sales forecasting, and more, and in any format you want.

If you’re an Android kind of person, you won’t need to pay for an iOS app you’ll never use—and that’s only if you choose to develop a mobile app.

Researching the Features You Want

Understandably, many business owners feel overwhelmed by the dizzying array of features. It might seem easier to just let a software company curate the functions rather than choose them yourself.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.

Ideally, you should have a pretty detailed plan about what your software will accomplish, but the right software developer can help you plan for what best suits your needs. Experienced developers have insights about custom programs, and they are happy to share them.

Ask around. Find out what other business owners use. Some of the most common features include time management, contact management, interaction tracking, and workflow automation. Bring these ideas to your developer and ask how they would tackle them.

Finally, don’t just throw features onto your application unless they absolutely need to be there. The beauty of custom business software is that, unlike out-of-the-box programs, you can always go back and make changes later. Adding unnecessary features just costs more time and money, and it could end up confusing users if not perfectly implemented.

Using Software that Already Exists

Some features take more research and development, meaning more time and money at your expense. But what if you have to have it? Is it worth paying for the hundreds of developer hours needed to build it?

Probably not. Why? Because there’s a good chance what you need already exists. Sometimes it’s cheaper to pay for a monthly subscription fee than to develop it yourself.

Application programming interface (API) is code designed for this exact purpose, and just about every major program out there offers one. With an API, you can bring more features into your custom software to make it work that much better.

Not all software developers are familiar with how to gracefully incorporate APIs. It’s important to talk to them first about doing it right. If you feel like they aren’t too confident about it, find someone who is.

Saves on Monthly Subscription Fees

A bank of computersWith the sun having set on the days of the CD drive, it’s pretty tough to find hard copies of software anymore. Most companies have switched to a monthly subscription platform. While this costs less than buying a program upfront, the lingering costs can make each month a little too expensive.

With a custom business application, you are in control of everything you pay for. No more terms and conditions to agree to. No more random software updates that change how your program works. No more asking for someone else’s permission to use what you paid for.

Having full access to your software offers a level of freedom that no third-party software can provide. It’s your business—give yourself the best application for your needs.

Keeping Development Costs Low

Just about any application will cost you a few thousand dollars. However, these costs can skyrocket without the right planning beforehand. If your developer has to go back and make changes because you weren’t sure about your needs at the beginning, you could end up paying a lot more than you planned.

The best way to keep development costs as low as possible is to do your homework. Find out which metrics and KPIs you look to most for direction, then add it to the list of what you need. You don’t have to include features that everyone else uses if you don’t absolutely need them.

If you have a favorite program, ask yourself what it does that work for you. Would you do anything to improve it? The more information you have about your preferred features and functionality, the more your developer will have to work with.

Walk Yourself Through the User Process

Designing a good workflow and user interface is no walk in the park. Businesses pay huge sums to research the easiest way for users to do what they need. Why, because if an application is clunky, people don’t use it.

Take a look at the software out there. What makes it work well? If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry. There are free guides online like this one to help you brainstorm where to start.

Sketch out what the application should look like, then run it past your friends and family. Listen to their input and see how you can improve. After that (and only after that), bring it to your developer to see what they have to say.

Planning out a workflow gives your developer a better idea of what you want and expect. With an idea of how to proceed, you’ll know better whether to say yes or no to their suggestions before deployment.

Take Advantage of Developer Expertise

A group of coders at their desksWhen you buy an existing business program, you rely on a salesperson and marketing collateral to give you the rundown on what it does and how to use it. Many people find that after the sale is completed, they didn’t receive what they were promised.

Aggressive marketing strategies like this simply aren’t a problem when you work with a developer whose job is to deliver your expectations. Since developers have enough work to do without extending your project timetable through the next decade, they are more likely give you feedback that makes both of your lives easier.

Once you have a decent plan about how to approach your project, find out how they would tackle it. Most of the time, this can happen during a free consultation. If they offer improvements for you to make, take them home with you and revise your plan.

Hiring the Right Company for Custom Developed Applications

Now that you have an idea of why custom developed applications are better for your business, the next step is to ask who will do it right.

First, you should find a developer with work experience in your specific field. This will help you shave off some of the learning curves that come with training a developer who doesn’t know anything about your industry—something that costs more during development.

Working with an industry veteran also helps you to avoid simple mistakes that can come with building a new application. Problems like incorrect budgeting, poor use case testing, or simply not having any sort of marketing plan are all issues an experienced software studio can help you avoid.

Next, make sure they have a firm plan for your project. This is one perk of working with an established design studio—they have a uniform process for each client to ensure all expectations are clear and understood before money changes hands.

You should have a good idea of the length of your project. If your developer doesn’t make it clear about when each milestone will be reached, you can expect miscommunication problems down the road. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re pestering your developer. Have a timetable before you get started.

Finally, don’t work with a developer you can’t communicate with. Dialogue during development is important if your developer is to feel comfortable keeping you updated. Plus, you’re going to be talking to them a lot over the next few months. You might as well enjoy it.

Isn’t it about time you started building your own custom developed applications?
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