A software development company can create two types of software: custom and generic. Depending on your business needs, you can take advantage of either or both. Knowing the key differences between the two can help you make the right choice for your company.
What is Generic Software?
Generic software is a program developed to cater to the needs of multiple buyers. Also called off-the-shelf software, these apps have varied functionality.
A development company decided to create such software on its own to meet the demands of a certain audience. The app may have a huge variety of features, only a number of which are useful for one particular buyer.
While not personalized, such software can be useful for a large audience. Examples of generic software include Word, PowerPoint, Firefox, Opera, etc.
What is Custom Software?
Custom software is designed to cater to the needs of a specific client. A software development company works directly with the client to create an app that assists with a set of tasks. This type of software only works for one company and can’t be used by others.
You can’t buy such an app in the store. The only way to obtain it is to pay for development. Custom software is designed for specialized business needs. The client is involved in the development process from the start.
Difference#1: Working with the Client
Custom software developers work closely with the client from the very beginning. They study the company’s needs and requirements to create a program that works best. Developers and clients interact throughout the entire development process to ensure the highest quality and convenience of the final product.
Generic software developers work on their own. They study the market, choose the concept, make a list of requirements, and so forth. Their goal isn’t to please one client. They want the software to be suitable for an entire industry, sector, or niche.
Difference#2: Immediate Delivery
Before the developer finishes working on the generic development project, potential clients rarely know about it, unless there is a promotional campaign.
Once the product appears on the shelves, the buyer can get it immediately. More often than not, a company can choose between several similar products on the market.
Custom software development takes time. When a client hires a software development company, they have to be ready for several months of the development process. While the product is being developed, a client can take advantage of its generic counterpart.
When working on the generic software, the company has to acquire funds to cover development expenses. However, once the product is out, the developer can count on many different companies to purchase it, thus covering all the expenses, salaries, and beyond. That’s why generic software is generally cheaper than custom software with similar functionality.
To start custom software development, the development company signs a contract with the client, who pays for the process. According to experts from Entrance Consulting, developers may have different payment models, but in the long run, the client covers all the expenses.
When developers are working on generic software, their goal is to make its functionality suitable for many companies. When someone purchases generic software, they can expect it to have some features, which they will never use. Meanwhile, these features may be useful to another buyer.
Custom software is designed exclusively for one client. These clients don’t have to struggle with ignoring extra features or a lack of important functionality.
Meanwhile, the client gets exclusive access rights to the developed software. This goes a long way toward the security of the program. With generic software, hackers have access to the app to search for security loopholes.
For generic software, developers set up a schedule to create patches and updates. In a rare case there is a security issue, they may come up with an update ahead of schedule.
With custom software, developers create a schedule as well. However, they may issue an update in case a client requires it. Accordingly, the client doesn’t have to wait for the next update to eliminate the bug. The developer can battle the issue immediately.
While developers try to come up with a top-notch product regardless of the software type, they are more likely to rush into releasing a program when it’s generic. The reason is that any delay in the release may lead to the loss of market share.
For custom software, developers usually have sufficient time to refine all the features and close loopholes. They strive to come up with exclusive quality to keep the client satisfied and get excellent recommendations.
Generic software development involves creating a product suitable for many different users. It’s faster, less expensive, and not as exclusive as custom software development.
Custom software development involves close collaboration with the client and usually results in a better quality product.