When to develop custom software

Anastasiia Kanarska
10th February |

When is custom software development necessary? Is it really beneficial to a business? In case it is, what advantages will it provide for the company and its clients? We are ready to answer all these questions here! Interesting? Then keep on reading to find out all the details you need to know. 

What is meant by custom software development?

Ok, first things first. If you are a bit confused about the notion of custom software development, let’s figure out it now. 

Custom software that is also sometimes referred to as bespoke software development is the process of creating software programs for a specific set of users, functions, or organizations. You are mistaken if you think this is for huge corporations only. These custom software applications can range from enterprise-level software solutions to small web and mobile apps. The process includes analyzing requirements, designing and coding, testing, and deploying software. 

But who can take over the process of custom software development? All the tasks within the development cycle are performed by an in-house team or outsourcing specialists. 

How you know that custom software development is your best bet

Custom software development is not a universal solution and you need to have good reasons for deciding on it. However, in many situations, custom software works out much better than any off-the-shelf software. You should carefully analyze and consider all the pros and cons first. 

Good news for you! To make it a bit easier for you, we’ve gathered the necessary information and prepared a checklist to help you find out whether you really need to go with custom software development. 

Do you want to reach out to your clients in a special and compelling way? Or maybe your company has specific requirements unmet by traditional ready-made software products? Well, then you should consider developing software that will cover all your needs. In simple terms, if there’s no product to meet your business requirements then you have no other way out but to develop one yourself (or hire seasoned outsourcing developers to do the work for you literally). 

After all, packaged commercial software products meet some general needs and companies may require software designed for a specific set of needs or services. 

Custom software development is a resource-consuming process yet once the solution is implemented, the problems it solves can be well worth the cost of its building. 

Here, take a closer look at the most common cases when custom software solutions are essential

  • Customizing commercial software is too expensive. In fact, many companies go this way. They choose the most suitable ready-made application and adapt it to their current processes and workflows. Not a bad idea but sometimes customization is too pricey so developing a unique custom solution is more profitable. 
  • Your team is overwhelmed with tedious tasks and excessive workarounds. These are the red flags that your system needs upgrades asap. Consider changing the currently applied software and shifting to a customized solution. This can help you make working processes way more efficient. 
  • Extra data security is required. A custom app used by only your team provides you with a higher level of security. To make it clear, you give access to the private information you wouldn’t like to put on Slack, Trello, Asana, or other cloud-based collaboration tools. Creating a unique, secure, and encrypted collaboration platform for your employees only can be a smart decision here.
  • You are an innovator in your industry. Sounds great yet you may come across some trouble too. If you work in a rising industry or your product or service is innovative, there is a chance that commercial software for your business needs simply does not exist. In such a case developing custom software is obviously the only option. 
  • You want to facilitate streamlined integration with existing systems. It often happens in big organizations when every department operates uniquely so integrations may come along with challenges. How do you put up with it? A custom solution can help handle multiple systems into one software app and, as a result, allow for streamlined integration into one central system.
  • Modernization must take place. It goes without saying that the market is constantly evolving with its conditions and requirements changing all the time. Not only do you need to keep an eye on these advancements but also be able to adapt your business to them. With custom software development it will be easier to integrate changes into your system and the response time will be quicker.

You get benefits

In general, custom software development brings many benefits in terms of optimization of business processes, customer interactions, and collaboration within departments and partners. However, each organization develops software to solve its main problems and meet the most important requirements. Having a clear understanding of all the advantages custom software provides for a company, its partners, and its clients will help you make the right decision. Below are the key benefits you will be rewarded with in the case of developing custom software. Check them out!

  • Meeting your unique business needs. As an app is tailored specifically for your organization, it will cover the necessary processes best and help to solve the most topical problems. Personalized solutions make it possible to add and improve current functionalities as the business advances or scales. Tailor-fit software proves to be more efficient than commercial software as it is flexible and adapts to various needs.
  • Total customization. As you develop software to cover all the tasks you need, you may request any design solution and any feature you want.
  • Better security control. Commercial software is easier to hack. Why? Because it’s public and hackers know well how it works. Talking about custom solutions, it will take more time to study them to make a cyberattack.
  • Seamless adoption and smooth integration with the existing business software.
  • Higher reliability. When choosing to use off-the-shelf software, you get dependent on the provider. In simple terms, if the company that has developed the software stops updating it or whatever, you will have to find an alternative of the same quality quickly. That might be a tough task though. With custom software, you can use it as long as you need.
  • Long-term savings. You may think that custom software development is too expensive but in fact, you pay only once so it only reflects the short term. In the long run, it will save you a good deal of money. Let us explain it here. Ready-made commercial software always comes with additional costs related to upgrades, subscription costs, licensing fees, etc. And if the app ceases to be relevant at all, you will risk overpaying again with a new commercial solution. Or you can end up paying for multiple solutions that just add up to the operational costs over time. That is why developing unique software makes sense. You pay for the development and eliminate future risks. Be sure, it will pay off. 

Risks to consider

As you already know, custom software development is a challenging process that requires lots of time, effort, and expenses. In order for all this to be not in vain you should take the whole task seriously. After all, you don’t want your software to turn out a failure in the end, do you? To avoid such an unhappy end, look through the potential custom software development risks. Having enough information at the beginning eliminates further risks and mistakes. 

  • Unclear plan and goals. It’s highly important to carefully plan the whole process and its every step as well as to define key objectives. Without proper planning, you are likely to lose control over the development cycle and end up with software that doesn’t meet your needs as supposed. 
  • Inaccurate assessment. Accurate budget estimation of the project is a must-have before you start with the development. It makes it easy to choose a custom software development methodology that suits most. Consider that a methodology plays a vital role in cost estimation. Set a roadmap and define a timeline as per the requirements to avoid failing to meet deadlines and funding problems.
  • Integration with the already existing systems. Often you need to use a custom solution to send data to another software application – either commercial or custom. In case the second app is an off-the-shelf system with a documented API, then it might not be so risky. But if the integration is required with a custom-built system, it can be costly and risky.
  • Low-quality code. Poor code is a common issue when it comes to software development. It negatively affects overall performance, generates bugs, and brings many other problems. Poor code can be very hard to review and make changes later. To prevent your project from such a failure, hire experienced and seasoned developers who will adhere to code quality standards and apply the best practices.
  • Changing features in the course of development. Making serious alterations during development can be risky as changing one feature can impact other features and capabilities in the software. You should clearly understand what you expect right from the start to list all the required features and agree upon them first. 

A few use cases you need to know

Do you know that a lot of business giants use custom software? We’ve gathered a few successful custom solutions use cases. See how your business can leverage the right expertise and support of bespoke software.


Uber needed to create custom software with a database for its customers upon booking. Even though the business model existed already through taxis, the app-based ride-sharing process was new.


Apple designed its unique virtual assistant for voice recognition specifically for its products. It’s called Siri and it’s able to complete tasks via voice commands. Siri has been created to facilitate the management of both software and internet services in a centralized working commercial system.


Customers just love quick and easy online shopping on Amazon. The company makes use of personalized e-commerce web solution technology tools to ensure the best consumer experience ever. Users can make purchases using any device – the platform works smoothly anywhere. 


Netflix is gaining popularity very quickly and becoming the most popular streaming platform all over the world. And that fact is impossible to deny taking into account the huge number of its subscribers. The service provides access to a large variety of series and movies, forms a list of suggested videos based on previous viewing history, automatically creates subtitles in multiple languages, and allows for consistent viewing on different devices.

What makes Netflix so popular? The platform gathers massive amounts of data about viewer preferences and thus ensures unique user experiences.

EA Sports

Electronic Arts (EA) sports created Frostbit – a unique gaming engine that works as the foundation for all games. The platform can now ensure next-gen gaming experiences. Frostbit has already proved to be a real success as EA has published over 30 titles on numerous platforms using various versions of the custom game engine. Still, the company doesn’t stop and plans to grow and expand via acquisitions.

A little bit of statistical data

Consider these numbers when choosing between custom software development and off-the-shelf software purchases.

  • 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized solutions, and 76% get frustrated when they don’t get them.
  • Around 17.7% of companies choosing custom software development stated that continuous performance and load testing management are one of the major challenges developers need to cope with.
  • According to GoodFirms, the average custom software development project takes from 4 to 6 months to complete. The average development cost comes to $36,000. However, the time, as well as the price, depend on the software’s complexity level.
  • Based on GoodFirms’ research, 84,7% of the custom products IT companies develop for clients are enterprise applications, and projects for business process automation make up 53,9%.
  • Around 38.50% of the developers are requested to deliver back-end software and front-end web/app for e-commerce.
  • Referring to GoodFirms’ software development survey, 53,8% of the participants said that their major challenge is adapting to changing trends, market demands, and client requirements. 
  • Talking about the current software development trends, AI-powered projects take the leading position (69,2%).

What industries do(not) need custom software 

Needless to say, as time goes on, more and more industries turn to custom software development due to its numerous benefits listed earlier in this article. However, each sector has its unique requirements and limitations. That is why the process of custom software implementation is uneven across industries. In general, industries that require custom software the most are those highly regulated, with complex contract management, complicated billing, complex work planning, etc. In this list, according to the resource, the leading positions are occupied by the following industries:

  • Healthcare
  • Real estate
  • FinTech
  • Business and Financial Services
  • Retail and E-commerce
  • Telecom
  • IT

Other industries seem to only be gaining pace with custom software development. But as they develop and technologies advance, the statistical data is likely to change in the near future. Yet currently the industries that need custom software solutions the less are

  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Energy and natural resources
  • Hospitality and leisure
  • Media
  • Automotive


A growing percentage of companies are taking the leap from mainstream software to completely personalized custom software solutions. Well, we’ve already said this but it’s worth repeating. Before making a decision, you should carefully analyze and consider all the pros and cons of custom software development for YOUR business. Identify your business target requirements and customer needs. If there is no software to cover the full scope of processes you need then start developing your personalized software from scratch and enrich it with the required features. This way you can quickly solve the bulk of issues you experience with commercial solutions. Make sure your budget can afford it, find a team of seasoned and experienced developers, and get started with custom software creation!