Misconceptions are common when it comes to software design and development. There is so much information available that it can be difficult to separate the facts from the falsehoods. Having the wrong information leads to poor business decisions, which is why this blog post is dedicated to dispelling some of the more prevalent myths about custom built software.
Myth: Custom Software Development is Too Expensive
Custom software development can have a hefty price tag attached. Many business leaders see the price and recoil from spending so much money on something that could be accessed through software as a service (SaaS) providers for a much smaller cost. These SaaS products come already built and capable of doing what is needed, and they have a reasonable monthly or yearly subscription cost that feels worth paying. In comparison, custom built software seems very expensive, especially considering that the software isn’t built, hasn’t been tested, and won’t be ready to use for who knows how long. Thus, the myth that custom software development is too expensive persists.
However, when examined closely, this myth fails to hold up. While building custom software is expensive upfront, it turns out this option saves both time and money for companies that implement it when one considers the big picture. While SaaS products might look good on a monthly budget report, the truth is that they rarely complete all the tasks needed for the company to succeed. In order to get the software that is required, companies have to buy more subscriptions, and they often end up with a mismatched collection of different software platforms that fail to cooperate as a singular, functional whole. The costs of all those subscriptions adds up until, by comparison, paying for custom built software suddenly isn’t nearly as expensive as it once seemed. Custom built software, by its very nature, is designed to be exactly what the company needs, and it’s designed with the future in mind. Custom software will help a company grow in ways that stagnant, unchanging SaaS products won’t, and custom software can grow with the company to meet future needs.
Myth: Quality Assurance Testing is Expensive and Unnecessary
Many companies fail to see the value in conducting quality assurance (QA) testing. QA testing is viewed as a waste of resources when the company already has a perfectly competent software development team. Sometimes, members of those teams are offended that the company would check up on their work by hiring someone else to go through all their software. Sometimes, executives don’t see the point in hiring outside help to go over software that their teams are already intimately acquainted with and know every piece of code, every line of data.
This myth holds up decently well until one considers that it is very hard to catch your own mistakes. Most professionals agree that it is good to have another set of eyes on a project early in its development; just as writers have editors to catch mistakes and suggest changes, software developers should have QA experts looking over their work to catch mistakes early, before those mistakes require a massive expenditure of time and money to go back and fix. The reasoning behind performing QA testing early and often in the development process is very similar to that of custom software development: it is more expensive up front, but they both save you time and money down the road.
Myth: There’s a “Magic Solution” to Software Problems
Software development can be a frustrating endeavor. Often, when a piece of software doesn’t succeed or something in the code fails to act as hoped, people look for something to blame. They might say that if they only had the newest tool or were using a certain type of coding instead, the issue with the project would have been easily resolved or never existed in the first place. This search for a magic solution to the problems faced by software developers everywhere has led many companies to feel that in order to be successful, they must have the latest and greatest software tools available on the market.
Unfortunately, there really aren’t any magic solutions when it comes to software issues. Having the newest programming tools or using a different coding language is no guarantee for creating a successful end product. In the end, it takes hard work and dedication to make projects succeed, not the shiniest new tool on the market. Instead of focusing on what is lacking, companies should prioritize building good teams, full of people who work hard, and develop processes that can be reliably applied to any situation. Successful development projects will follow once those teams and processes have been built because the people on those teams will be prepared to work hard to achieve success.
Myth: Building Software is a Standardized Process
When companies commission custom software, they often believe that they know exactly how the development process will proceed: they tell the development company what they want, the development company builds it, and then, once they’ve paid the agreed-upon price, they get their newly developed software. The prevalence of SaaS has conditioned the market to think of software as a simple little package that can be delivered in the same way, at the same price, and on a specific schedule. This way of thinking about software has created a myth that most everyone believes: software development should have set pricing and a strict timeline.
The reality is custom built software doesn’t often meet those mythical standards. Building software from the ground up is much more of a process than delivering a piece of software that has already been built. Unexpected factors, like bugs that need to be worked out or personnel obstacles, have the capacity to push the project off the projected timeline in order to resolve those issues. It is also important to be flexible and understand that the software isn’t going to be perfect right off the bat. It takes time to build a good product, but once that product is built, it is worth every penny.
Custom built software development is an intricate process that involves the time and talents of many individuals. It is a much more complicated route than buying a SaaS product, but the rewards are so much more fruitful and beneficial to companies. There are many myths surrounding custom software development, and taking the time to unravel those myths to find the truth underneath is well worth the time.