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Custom software development is the process of developing, creating, deploying and maintaining software for a specific set of users, functions or organizations. In contrast to commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS), custom software development aims at a precisely defined set of requirements. COTS targets a broad set of requirements, allowing it to be packaged and commercially marketed and distributed.
S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. offers custom software development services to their clients to meet their unique requirements and target their preset goals efficiently. A custom software project is developed through the same steps, as followed in any other software project i.e., requirement gathering, code construction, testing and deployment.
EFFORTS IN CUSTOM SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT:
There are a variety of different efforts that can be made to deliver custom work. These efforts are defined by the requirements of the client that the software is supposed to fulfil and the current software, if any, being utilized by the client. The company’s efforts associated with custom software development can be divided into four main categories:
– Application Customization
– Application Modernization
– Application Management
– Application Creation
Not all clients require a completely unique software that is not already existing. There are many clients who could benefit from a commercial off the shelf software if a few tweaks are made to it. S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. modifies commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) applications being used by the client and makes them fully equipped to support the individual requirements of the client.
Some clients already have a custom software in place that they use for their business however, with the changing times and new expansions in the business, the software does not seem to suffice. In such a case, it is important to upgrade the preexisting software to meet the growing needs of the client’s business. S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. helps clients modernize their existing application. This helps maintain the viability of a business’s custom software to meet the ever-changing user and market demands.
S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. makes software effective with application management by supporting tasks like installation, updating, performance and availability optimization, and service desk functions.
Some clients are launching a new business or product for which they have completely unique requirements that are unmatched by any existing commercial off the shelf software (COTS). For clients who are able to effectively allocate the required time and budget to a unique software, S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. creates a custom software from scratch. The software is designed to meet each and every requirement of the client in the present along with easy to expand options for the future.
IMPORTANCE OF CUSTOM SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT:
Custom software development is important because it helps meet unique requirements at a cost competitive with purchasing, maintaining and modifying commercial software.
Some of the benefits provided to the clients by the company are:
Custom software is purpose-built to support processes swiftly and productively, without the need to tinker with or adjust COTS applications.
Custom software can grow as an organization or business grows and changes. Designers and developers can assess future needs as part of their requirements gathering. S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. incorporates these factors into the application, rather than incurring costs by purchasing additional licences or subscriptions.
LOWER INTEGRATION COSTS
When companies use commercial off-the-shelf software, they need to consider whether it will work with the existing systems and applications in place? With custom software, S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. reduces further investments in commercial software to communicate and operate with existing infrastructure. Custom software is built for clients to integrate with the intended environment.
S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. does not hold any rights of the work being developed for its clients. The company’s clients own the software and therefore, they are able to licence or sell it to other organizations.
Our clients benefit from the independence that they receive from the development of a custom software. This allows businesses to avoid any price hikes for licences and support along with any hidden additional charges. There is no concern of getting stuck in the management of the software in case the vendor goes out of business.
KEYS TO EFFECTIVE CUSTOM SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT:
S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. helps businesses recognize when and where they require a custom software. It is important to first understand whether a custom software is truly needed by a business, as opposed to buying something premade and set. The company provides their clients with authentic feedback after analyzing their requirements, future expansion plans and budget.
Before developing a custom software for a client, the company initially ensures where there is already a packaged software solution that delivers greater than 80 percent of the functions needed to:
- Support or automate unique business processes and transactions
- Handle information and data specific to an industry or line of business
- Meet unique privacy or security requirements
- Facilitate integration with legacy applications and data
- Replace or help consolidate existing solutions at lower cost
- Replace or help consolidate existing solutions to achieve greater productivity
- Enable new opportunities or improve competitive advantage
- Grow and adapt to changing requirements.
If these functional requirements are unmet then the company moves forward with the custom development as per requirement. Some of the keys that the company focuses on are as follows:
S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. collaborates with their clients to ensure that a clear shared vision is developed. Key deliverables are mapped out of what the software will do and not do. This allows for a seamless process of development, resulting in an efficient and accurate delivery.
S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. has established that companies need to effectively define and manage requirements to help ensure they are meeting customer needs, while addressing compliance and staying on schedule and within budget and that requirements definition and management is an activity that allows great work to be discriminated from good work.
A “good” requirement, according to the company is:
- Correct (technically and legally possible)
- Complete (expresses a whole idea or statement)
- Clear (unambiguous and not confusing)
- Consistent (not in conflict with other requirements)
- Verifiable (can be determined that the application meets the requirement)
- Traceable (uniquely identified and tracked)
- Feasible (can be accomplished within cost and schedule)
- Modular (can be changed without excessive impact)
- Design independent (does not impose specific solutions on design).
METHODOLOGIES & TECHNOLOGIES:
Once the requirements have been defined and the basic framework for the project has been drafted, the company applies mature and up to date development methodologies and practises to assist in delivering effective and innovative software to the clients with efficiency and accuracy. There are multiple methodologies that are considered by the company as seen fit for the project. These methodologies are:
With the utilization of agile development, the company breaks requirements into smaller, consumable functions and delivers swiftly on those functions through incremental development or development done in milestone breakdowns. Along with the development, a consistent feedback loop is created that allows the completed fragments of development to be tested and perfected simultaneously. A feedback loop helps find and fix defects as functionality continues to deploy.
DevOps is a combination of development and operations. This is an agile-based approach that brings software development and IT operations together in the different aspects of the software, including design, development, testing, deployment and support. There are two approaches within DevOps that are considered by the company.
RAPID APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT (RAD)
Rapid Application Development is a non-linear approach that condenses design and code construction into one interconnected step. This allows to cut back on development cost, lower the number of errors and allow a faster delivery of software due to the creation of fewer versions.
SCALED AGILE FRAMEWORK (SAFe)
Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) provides a way to scale agile methodology to a larger organization such as a global development team. It drives faster time to market, an increase in productivity and also allows for a higher customer engagement.
TECHNOLOGIES AND PRACTISES TO CONSIDER:
There are multiple technologies and practises that are considered by S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. for creating custom software. These are:
Open Source is software source code that is open for the public and the development community to use. An example of an open-source operating system would be Linux. It can enhance development productivity through software component reuse and improve interoperability by avoiding proprietary architectures.
Cloud-based Development brings the advantages of cloud computing to software development by hosting development environments in the cloud. These environments support coding, design, integration, testing and other development functions to build both on-premises and cloud-native applications, and do so with the cost control, speed and on-demand convenience that the cloud promises.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) enables software to emulate human decision-making and learning. It can be applied to improve the development process. For example, natural language processing — the ability for computers and software to understand human language — can be used to evaluate required text and suggest improvements based on best practises. AI technologies like machine learning and modelling can also be acquired and incorporated into applications through application programming interfaces (API) and services from the cloud.
Blockchain is a secure, digitally linked ledger that eliminates cost and vulnerability introduced by parties like banks, regulatory bodies and other intermediaries. Developers are using blockchain ledgers and open source Hyperledger technology to build new types of secure transactional and financial applications that can free capital and accelerate business processes.
OUTSOURCING FOR MAINTENANCE AND MANAGEMENT:
Once S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. has deployed the software to the client, there is a need to manage and maintain the software for it to be effective. Companies either complete this task in house or outsource these tasks through an application services provider. These application services can include development but also to provide support for enterprise level applications, quality and testing services and application lifecycle management.
While some organizations opt to test, manage and maintain applications themselves, S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. has found that application services can reduce costs and optimize efficiency; improve flexibility, feedback and user experience; and increase speed and innovation for their clients.
An additional argument for outsourced application management is automation. Automation can support everything from software installation to critical updates.
Outsourcing these tasks — and taking advantage of automation — enable IT organizations to improve software performance while focusing on core business tasks. Automation for application management reduced tier-one service desk tickets by 70 percent, boosted availability by reducing system recovery time and costs by 80 percent, and improved capital efficiency by shifting 10 percent of the IT support budget to proactive work. S.T.A.R.S (Pvt.) Ltd. assists their clients in the maintenance of the software to ensure effective workflow.
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