Because of the increasing appearance of highly-specialized software for general use, custom development is gradually fading into the background. However, this does not mean that custom solutions are outdated. On the contrary, for some companies, the development of such products is the only way to fully automate their internal processes. Let’s try to figure out whether you need the custom software below.
Why Custom Solutions May Play a Critical Role in Business?
Let's start with the fact that there are three main reasons for developing a custom product:
- there are no ready-made solutions on the market that fully cover the needs of a particular business
- this business needs superior protection of data that ready-made solutions operate on
- the company wants to get a standalone product for the use of which it will not be necessary to pay, and the rules for this use will not change over time.
In turn, companies that opt for ready-made products often lose the efficiency of their work processes, especially as they expand their scale.
Indeed, with the complexity of internal business processes, the number of autonomous services that a particular company has to use grows, and data synchronization between them becomes more and more difficult. Moreover, in some business sectors, there are still no ready-made universal products due to the uniqueness of processes for each company.
Also, ready-made solutions that cover tasks typical for the vast majority of companies from a particular niche may be redundant for many businesses, and as a result, they have to pay for those features that they do not use at all and are unlikely to use in the future.
As for data security, finished products can also have problems with this, and they lie not only in the imperfection of internal security mechanisms. The fact is that at some point, a specific product can become the property of a new owner, and the private data of the company that used it can also change its owners who can dispose of them as they please.
Another problem with the use of off-the-shelf products is the constant "pulling" of money from their customers. In the long run, this can be a bad investment, especially when these customers have to overpay for functionality that is not useful to them.
Finally, ready-made solutions can be difficult to use, complicating and prolonging the onboarding process for end users and thereby suspending or significantly slowing down processes within the company for some period of time.
Let’s take a quick look at a custom TMS solution we created.
We were approached by a client, a trucking company from the US, which initially used Google spreadsheets and regular messengers to help with internal processes. These products were difficult to synchronize, and the existing off-the-shelf TMS was not flexible enough for the company's business processes. That is why the client’s decision was to create a custom TMS solution.
As a result, we set about developing a web application whose functionality covers the tasks of employees from all company’s departments (dispatchers, fleet managers, safety specialists, HRs, top managers, etc.) and a mobile application especially for drivers.
In particular, the latter should provide drivers with the ability to scan documents (bill of lading, Proof of delivery, DOT inspection reports, receipts, etc.), cut out individual elements of a photo, change saturation, etc. in a couple of clicks.
As for the web application, the client wanted to have flexible settings for the roles and capabilities of each user group, so that only individual employees of the company had access to personal data.
We also needed to automate payroll processes depending on the type of vehicle.
Finally, we have implemented several integrations (fuel card services, toll pass services, ELD providers, Google Map, etc.). As a result, the client received a product completely tailored to their internal business processes.
Even though custom development always requires some financial investment and time costs, in the end, you will get exactly what you expected. And most importantly, if your expectations change over time, you will be able to inform your development team about it, and your product will be adapted to these new requirements.