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With competitors offering such apparently similar services, it can be difficult for any company to stand out and emerge as the preferred candidate in the eyes of clients and customers.

Many companies may choose to use a generic piece of software for their website, application or other assets and let the service they provide speak for itself. To truly stand out from the crowd and pique the interest of your target audience, however, it can be more effective to consider investing in original software products. But is there genuine value in having custom software over a generic off-the-shelf product?

In this blog, we explain what exactly custom-built software is, how it differs from generic alternatives and outline the importance of custom software for your business.

What is custom-built software?

Utilised in a variety of industries and for a broad range of uses, custom-built software is a computer programming product that has been designed for a specific user or selection of users. In a professional environment, custom-built software may be used to meet certain needs and requirements of an organisation in a way that generic off-the-shelf software cannot. 

What are the differences between generic and customised software products?

For any business that requires the use of a software product, it is important that they understand the difference between generic and custom software products. Below, we’ve highlighted how these two types of software compare:

Exclusivity: Custom software is created specifically for a user and is exclusive to them, with no option for other users to gain access. Generic software is available to everyone. In a business setting, having a unique and original product can appear more appealing and professional to potential customers, whereas a generic product may seem amateurish, unreliable and may be less likely to stand out.

Functionality: If a business needs a piece of software to improve the effectiveness of their processes, it may be that a generic piece of software will suffice. However, if they have complex needs and requirements or they simply want to achieve greater efficiencies, it’s likely that only a custom made piece of software will be able to match their expectations and operate as the business needs.

Input: A significant selling point of custom-built software is that, as it’s being created from scratch, the people using it can have more input into how it works, what it does and, in some cases, even factors like what it looks like. With generic software, users are far more restricted as it’s pre-built and unable to change.

Scalability: Although some pieces of generic software may offer the option to add new features or alter the size and scale of a product, many pieces of generic software are limited and only do the job expected of them. With custom-built software, the user can speak to the development team that created it and ask for changes to be made, allowing for the product to grow into something larger or include anything that was missed during the original development process.

Updates: In order to correct any technical issues or respond to user feedback, or simply as part of a predetermined schedule, updates on generic software will often happen on a regular basis. As for custom-built software, changes aren’t usually planned and are instead often made whenever a user makes a request to the development team. From the perspective of the user, this can limit the amount of potentially unnecessary updates and allow for changes to be made as soon as any issues arise. It also gives the user more input than they would otherwise have on updates for a generic software product.

Why use custom software?

The decision to invest in software that could improve, enhance or speed up processes within a business is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, particularly as making the wrong decision could lead to time and money being needlessly wasted. Both generic and custom-built software carry separate benefits. However, it could be argued that custom-written software outweighs the number of advantages through offering a bespoke solution that ticks all the right boxes.

Some businesses may find that generic software works for them and fulfils the needs of their employees, customers and anyone else associated with the business. However, for businesses that require thorough customisation, options for adaptation and growth in the future, integration with other in-house software products, ongoing support and maintenance from the development team that created it, a reliable level of security and an original and unique product that competitors don’t have, custom-written software would be the advisable solution.

If you’re interested in speaking to a development team that possesses a wealth of experience in creating custom-written software, get in touch with illumo digital and a consultant will be happy to talk you through your project and explain the services we offer in greater detail.