More and more companies do not want ready-made IT solutions – instead they choose custom-made solutions tailored to their business. It often happens that even companies working within one industry have completely different business processes. For this reason, enterprises are looking for an individualized, optimal development path.
From our entry you will learn:
- How should you prepare to determine your needs
- What are the stages of creating a custom-made application
- What are the challenges when implementing a custom-made application?
- How much does it cost to create a custom-made application and what does the cost of creating a custom-made application depend on
- Is the cost of a custom-made application lower or higher than ready-made software in the long run?
Dedicated applications are recommended primarily to those companies that are unable to find suitable ready software on the market and need a solution tailored to the needs of their business and business processes. The advantage of a dedicated system is also the opportunity for your company to participate in the process of building a product concept. In this way, your many years of industry experience will be used and you will be able to support the application development process through ongoing contact with the supplier.
Very often, such tailor-made applications that accurately reflect your internal processes build a competitive advantage on the market. Thanks to the unique application, you can be sure that your new IT solution is used only by one company in a given industry.
How should you prepare to determine your needs
First of all, you should be aware of the requirements:
- functional– that is, what the application is to do, how it is to be done, who will use it, how it will change, expand or replace existing business processes. For example, if we implement an online store in your company, it is likely that some of the tasks currently performed by employees will be automated, or even completely replaced – your customer will be able to place orders via the online store, without having to visit the company’s branch or by phone.
It is worth being aware of your business processes and knowing if – and how – the new system is to be integrated or synchronized with existing applications. For example, if you expect to create a web application to display reports, you should determine whether the data will be entered directly into the application or if you plan to integrate with another system and use an existing database.
- non-functional / non– functional– this aspect consists of defining the framework for functionality, i.e. narrowing the scale of the designed solution. We then decide on:
- the expected level of application security (so-called cyber security) – if your company deals with money transfers and must comply with local law, the level of security must be high enough
- the role of application scalability and its performance (i.e. the ability to work efficiently with a growing load) – if your company is growing, then there will be more and more system users and your application must still be efficient at that time
- level of project performance and scale
- location and language of the application – where the application will be used, which allows you to prepare the architecture of the solution for adding further language versions; also remember that there will be significant differences in countries where you write from right to left
- technologies – it is worth choosing a software supplier who knows what is currently happening on the market, knows technological innovations and is able to choose the right technologies for your needs
- infrastructure – hosting the place where the software is to be installed
- devices on which the application is to operate – the limitations of these devices may affect the functionality of the designed application, e.g. the software is needing to operate on dedicated warehouse devices, while a taxi/ride ordering application is to operate mainly on smartphones
- RWD (Responsive Web Design) – we determine which browsers and resolutions the application should support
What are the stages of creating a custom-made application
When a company wants to have its own IT solution, it must know that the application is created according to specific steps:
– pre–implementation analysis – is to determine what the application is for, what goals it is to achieve (cost optimization or revenue maximization? Or potentially both these areas are equally important to you?) The pre-implementation analysis is carried out by:
- internal IT department or your business analysts
- IT system provider
– creating a functional project – such a project includes your needs in the technological and product framework (desktop/mobile/web application). It is important to determine whether the application to be created will function as part of another larger project, or is independent.
The functional project is prepared by the company that is the application provider. It is desirable to create an outline of the application that will allow you to design its foundations well. It is up to them to be able to scale the system when needed.
– cost acceptance
– software development – the schedule and duration depend on the size of the application, scale and business decisions.
The smallest applications are created in about a month, while the larger ones can be in production for two years. This stage involves programmers the most, but can also – more or less – engage your business. We can cooperate in two ways:
a) developers work on the basis of a written list of functionalities, and you only after some time perform acceptance tests and decide on implementation
b) we work in monthly intervals, thanks to which you can see further increases and you can change priorities in between.
– tests – acceptance tests are carried out simultaneously with the production or after the creation of the application
– decision to implement , i.e. launch of the application. This is really the beginning of the life of the application, followed by further stages: maintenance and development
– maintenance – daily helpdesk support, or if it is not required – architecture and infrastructure maintenance (e.g. if the application does not change the functionality in any way, but the number of users increases in the high season or you need to look after the server on which your application exists)
– development – your business is changing, so you also need to expand or change the system, respond to errors, e.g. when you enter a new market
What are the challenges when implementing a custom-made application?
One of the challenges of implementing a new application is a change in the organization related to the definition of new processes or optimization of existing business processes (because they were not previously documented).
An example of this is the system that automates the tasks that your employee performs on a daily basis, for example from the transport department. So that they do not have to optimize the delivery routes of the product or product themselves, the software does it for them. It takes into account the distances between specific delivery addresses, the dimensions of the car and its optimal positioning on the car.
How much does it cost to create a custom-made application and what does the cost of creating a custom-made application depend on
Sometimes your budget already at the beginning defines the shape of the application (its functionalities or non-functional elements), and sometimes the amount of financial outlays is only based on the analysis of your needs. An important difference is the scale of a given project – as we have already mentioned, at some stage one should decide whether the online store should support all browsers or the application should work on all platforms in the case of mobile devices, because these elements generate additional workload.
There are different approaches to project accounting, including:
1) agile approach – we know your budget and deadline (e.g. if your company sells a seasonal product and you need an application for a specific date), and the range of functionality is adjusted to your financial and time capabilities
2) we determine the time and budget – if your company already knows exactly what it expects from the system
Is the cost of a custom-made application lower or higher than ready-made software in the long run?
The ready system has a relatively low entry threshold, and the cost associated with access is e.g. buying a license for an existing solution. However, it should be remembered that the increase in the number of licenses and modification of standard functionalities are associated with a higher cost and sometimes a long wait for the next versions added by the manufacturer.
The company ordering the custom-made application becomes its owner and defines how it will operate itself. Initially, the investment may be larger, but over time, current maintenance costs may be lower than, e.g., buying another license.
The entry was prepared in cooperation with Paweł Zawartka.
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