What is Custom Software
Once surfing through Internet I came across a question “What is Custom Software?” This question was posted in some e-blog for software developers and programmers. I was quite astonished since I considered that a programmer is able to differentiate between custom software and packaged software. And I came to conclusion that if programmers have no idea of this difference then I’m dead sure that it’s a dark forest for business computer user.
Let’s put it simple way, custom software is a computer program developed for a specific user or a group of users within a company a corporation. It is customized for needs of these people as opposed to off the shelf software, developed for absolutely different users around the world.
Off the shelf software of packaged software is as a rule available to unassociated single users or communities. For example, an application developed for Western Union would be custom for them despite of thousands of individual users around the globe. An application intended for multiple banks would be regarded as packaged software even if it will be used by one user in every bank.
What is the importance of difference between custom software and packaged programs? We can call two reasons: expenses and possible risks. Custom software includes both high cost and relatively high risks. When company decides to develop a custom software it has to cover all expenses related to software development process which often runs into quite a penny. Software engineers must be sure that price of the software under development will be enough to cover all expenses and all contingencies. While, if the software developer decides to reject a problem agreement, which is observed quite often, this software development company considers this just another problem customer and it’s a routine for them to lose the one. Certainly, they also lose reputation and favorable references. It’s not clear but many large software development companies just ignore such issues and consider only their short term losses.
In case of a packaged solution the software development company can afford to distribute costs among ongoing and prospect customers. Finally, the price is determined by the size of the potential market, market segment competition and what market can bear. As a rule this a small part of expenses required for custom software development.
So, in the light of all these fact why would anyone purchase custom software? We have pointed out two reasons: first, no packaged software will be able to meet all the requirements and needs of the customer. And the second is ambition – a customer desires to feel his needs are unique and ready to prove that with their money.
For example: some packaged solution is sold at $2,500.00 to many different users. In case of custom development it would cost circa $250,000.00. The difference is obvious.
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