Custom Application Development(CAD) is also known as bespoke software or tailor-made software .is software that is specially developed for some specific organization or other user. As such, it can be contrasted with the use of software packages developed for the mass market, such as Commercial Off The Shell(COTS) software, or existing free software.
Since CAD is developed for a single customer it can accommodate that customer’s particular preferences and expectations. CAD may be developed in an iterative processes, allowing all nuances and possible hidden risks to be taken into account, including issues which were not mentioned in the original requirement specifications . In particular, the first phase in the software development process may involve many departments, including marketing, engineering, R&D .
Custom software development is often considered expensive compared to off-the-shelf solutions or products. This can be true if one is speaking of typical challenges and typical solutions. However, it is not always true. In many cases, COTS software requires customization to correctly support the buyer’s operations. The cost and delay of COTS customization can even add up to the expense of developing custom software. Cost is not the only consideration however, as the decision to opt for custom software often includes the requirement for the purchaser to own the source code, to secure the possibility of future development or modifications to the installed system
The decision to build a custom software or go for a COTS implementation would usually rest on one or more of the following factors:
- Finances -both cost and benefit: The upfront license cost for COTS products mean that a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the business case needs to be done.
- Supplier: In the case of COTS, is the supplier likely to remain in business long, and will there be adequate support and customization available? Alternatively, will there be a realistic possibility of getting support and customization from third parties! In the case of custom software, the software development may be outsourced or done in-house. If it is outsourced, the question is: is the supplier reputable, and do they have a good track record.
- Time to market: COTS products usually have a quicker time to market
- Size of implementation: COTS comes with standardization of business processes and reporting. For a global or national organisation, these can bring in gains in cost savings, efficiency and productivity, if the branch offices are all willing and able to use the same COTS without heavy customization’s.
Example : Attendance System, Security Code System