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Why Custom Software Development is a Cost-Effective Alternative for Businesses

Whenever the word custom is used to describe software, most business owners prepare themselves for sticker shock. There’s a misconception that off the shelf solutions are more affordable and can address most of their needs. In large, global organizations, customization is welcomed, while mid-market companies rarely consider the option.

The reality is that custom software development can be a cost-effective alternative for business. You don’t need a bloated budget to create something that works specifically for your company. With the right strategy and custom software development partner, you can achieve the right balance.

Why Custom Software Development?

Growth brands need to capitalize on ideation and continuous innovation. That can fall short when they are boxed in with traditional software. They may also feel that there aren’t partners available in the space that can help them execute.

Custom software development is important in these scenarios because it expands options and opportunities. When you build a system from the beginning, it can deliver multiple benefits and allow you to attain a competitive edge.

Optimizing Business Practices

Your business needs are unique, so customization drives optimization of processes. Gain greater efficiencies with this approach.

Choosing the Right Pieces

Standard software for your industry or requirements may not always take advantage of the most disruptive technology, such as blockchain. When you build your own, you decide what makes sense. Think of this method as a puzzle, where all the pieces exist; they just might not be in the workflow you need. 

This scenario was the challenge of the New York Road Runners.As the world’s largest running organization, it has thousands of participants and needed an easy way to manage sign-ups, volunteer management, race details, and data analytics. They had some of the right pieces but nothing that was comprehensive or omnichannel. See how it all came together for the nonprofit in our case study.  


In the modern world of business, you have to be able to pivot when necessary. Much of the time, this isn’t feasible with standard software, not without a lot of retooling and investment. With custom software, you can add modules or re-envision workflows as needed. For example, consider the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to remote work. A nimble software solution is necessary to execute on these urgent changes.

Compatibility and Integration

In a perfect world, software would be interoperable and easy to connect with APIs. While many traditional software products offer integrations, it’s not always comprehensive. Integrations not available may take considerable time to develop. Just because you ask, it doesn’t mean it will happen on your timeline. Custom software can be designed from the start considering what integrations will be necessary.

Enhanced Security and Control

The data that lives in your technology is valuable to you and cybercriminals. When you use a typical software program, it likely has security tools embedded, but you’ll also always be dependent on their updates to correct weaknesses. You have more control over security protocols with your own software.

The Money Question—What Does Custom Software Development Cost?

While you can certainly agree that custom software development drives business value, can you make a financial case for it? When comparing custom software to top tier solutions, what’s the context?

Let’s start by breaking down the real costs of traditional software applications.

Cost Checklist

- Initial investment: This consists of the price for licensing, which may be per-user or limits, as well as other things like hosting.
- Implementation and training costs: These costs could include in-person implementation travel and training. Some of this may be at no cost, but for specialized help, you’ll incur consulting fees.
- Upgrades: It’s possible that every year, you’ll have to pay for upgrades or see other price increases.
- Ongoing support: Some support features may be available for free, but often you’ll have to pay a fee to have priority service.
- Customization: Standard software is customizable for a price. You may find this is the area where the fees keep climbing, and there’s no assurance that what you need is even possible.

Custom Software Development Pricing

The cost of custom software development is a wide range. In a survey conducted by GoodFirms, the price for custom software development was between $3,000 to $120,000, with the average cost being $36,000. That number is markedly less than many of the big names in software, especially if you need lots of modules and features. Here’s what you won’t pay for:

- Licensing or user fees: It’s your software, and you own it outright, so you’ll never have to worry about these recurring costs.
- Implementation and training: You’re building your solution with a custom software development firm, so you can literally write the book on how it works.
- Upgrades and support: You are not chained to a provider and subject to additional fees every year.

The bottom line is when you compare the total cost of ownership (TCO), it’s easy to see that custom software is fiscally practical. Another “cost” is opportunity costs, which is what you could lose if you have software that doesn’t deliver on your objectives. Opportunity costs are easily cured when you develop your own software.

Find Custom Software Services to Meet Your Needs and Budget

Icreon is a leader in enterprise custom software development. We start with understanding your specific processes and developing software that drives progress. The future of software considers all the necessary elements of success—strategy, growth factors, automation, and innovation. With over two decades of experience, we are well suited to serve mid-market growth brands. Connect with us today to learn more.

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