Custom software is the catch-all category for any kind of brand-new software. At RoboSource, we mostly specialize in two kinds of custom software:
- Web applications
- Mobile applications
A web application is a computer program that uses web technologies and can be accessed anywhere using a web browser. A web application is different from a website because a website is generally made for displaying information in a static manner. A web application, on the other hand, is designed for interaction with the end user.
Any custom software that you log on to use for a specific purpose is likely a web application. For example, if you use something like Airbnb to search for places to stay on vacation, you are using a web application.
A mobile application, often referred to as an app, is a piece of custom software specifically intended to be used on a mobile device, like a tablet or a phone.
Apps generally have limited or isolated functionality and are used for a specific purpose. Examples of apps are things like games, calculators, or even mobile web browsing.
Most apps are written for a specific mobile operating system, usually iPhone or Android.
Steps for Building a Custom Software Solution
- Set an appropriate budget. Is your company ready to take the next step and develop custom software to improve your business processes? The first thing to know about custom software is that it’s EXPENSIVE! If someone is offering to build custom software for a low price, it likely won’t be done well. Most custom software projects take 6 months or more to build, and the cost corresponds to that.
- Get a solid idea for a minimum viable product (MVP). Because customized software is so expensive, you’ll want to start with a very limited scope. What are the most important aspects of the software? Reel yourself in as much as possible.
- Get your ideas on paper. If you have a solid idea of how things should look, draw out the screens that you envision the software having. Or just write out what elements the software should have to meet your needs. Be specific.
- Schedule a meeting. Because pricing out custom software is complex, there may be a fee associated with getting one. So do your due diligence in choosing a company before this step. Custom software isn’t something that is easy to shop around for the best price. Choosing the right software development company to create custom software will go a long way in determining whether it’s built right. Find a software development company that has experience creating projects similar to yours in the past, or one that you mesh well with on a professional level.
- User mockups. Expect the custom software company to charge you a fee upfront for user mockups (also called wireframes or prototypes). Basically, they’ll be building pictures of what each screen will look like and what functionality it will have. Take plenty of time to make sure the software will work as you want it to – making changes at this stage is MUCH CHEAPER than making changes once the project is in development.
- Developing custom software. Once the company and you agree on exactly what the project will include, your custom software development team will start building it. The development process will likely take a long time. Expect regular communication and occasional meetings to show how the software is progressing.
- Testing. Some teams will have you test small amounts of functionality frequently. Others will only ask you to test once a month or so. Make sure you take the time to do a thorough job. This is the time to make sure that your custom software does exactly what you envisioned. At this point, you are the gatekeeper of what bugs get into the software.
- Going live. When your MVP is ready, it will be time to go live. If you are building a web application, you’ll need to decide where to host your application, and there will be a monthly fee associated with it. If you’re building a mobile app, the next step will be getting the app approved in the mobile app stores.
- Support. Make sure you save some budget for support and updates. Bugs are inevitable in any new software, so expect that they’ll show up. But you’ll also get new ideas for features to add as you use the software.
Contact RoboSource for Custom Software Solutions
RoboSource is an Indianapolis area company that automates processes for small- to mid-sized businesses, using tools such as custom software, data analytics, RPA and Power Apps. Our goal is to eliminate monotonous processes so you and your workforce can strategize and solve problems.
Are you ready to talk to someone about creating custom software? Click here to sign up for a free consultation to speak with a representative at our custom software development company.