Why the Confusion Around Custom Application Development?

Posted on: October 28th, 2012 - Written by: John Blomberg

What is it that confuses some about custom application development? Marketers of packaged or off-the-shelf software have done a good job at instilling the belief in software purchasers that custom application development is too expensive to consider. They have successfully impressed their message that custom apps generate lots of cost and trouble for nothing.

That school of thought is just plain wrong – especially for businesses with lots of data that drives specific market needs.


Custom development of applications can give businesses unique or specialty functionality that can make day-and-night differences in the way their employees perform and their businesses operate. Custom applications are game-changers and well worth every penny they cost.


To understand the cost of a custom-built application, businesses must be able to compare their performance and operational status quo to the changes in those areas that the application will make – and approximate the resulting bottom line differences.

This is where the above-noted marketers jump in and distract software purchasers with their high cost propaganda.

The Custom Application Development Portal provides an interesting look at common misconceptions around custom application development. The article provides detailed information about the business components that customer apps can support better than packaged apps, the important role that executive and MIS buy-in plays in the process, the expectations that should be set in taking on a custom app development project, what cannot be substituted for custom app development and a few of the pitfalls that haunt custom app development processes.

The type of custom apps that fit businesses situations and needs don’t always show themselves. Often experts are the ones who can see where technology can improve business processes. It is worthwhile for every business to bring in custom application development experts to look at their business, their processes and their goals to identify the types of custom apps that could be their game-changers.

Read more details in the portal article provided below.

Some Common Misconceptions Around Custom Application Development

From The Custom Application Development Portal

There are as many reasons to consider custom application development for your business as there are businesses in the world. There are also some big misconceptions about developing applications specific to your business needs. A common misconception is that it is the easy answer to business technology and system challenges. Application development is not quick or easy, but it does bring value if done the right way by talented, creative, and analytical experts. Professionals who know your industry have solid foundations in business analysis and can demonstrate the necessary experience with data applications development. Also, they can provide the right infrastructure to support your business, improve accessibility and flexibility, and ultimately, increase profitability.

You may think you can buy custom applications out of the box, but you are wrong. For the best workable infrastructure, custom applications have to be built to order after careful analysis, planning, and structuring according to the unique business needs addressed. Creative design will tie useful systems easily into one another throughout the company or organization, and this doesn’t come off the shelf; it has to be created, tweaked, authenticated, tested, implemented, and supported. This is done routinely by internal MIS staff, but is better served when championed and shepherded by a focused cross-functional team of executives, managers, and MIS together.

Another misconception is that, as long as you have top-down buy-in, you are set to go with custom application development. However, this is tunnel vision and can quickly lead you down the wrong path. To customize your business systems, you need strong, consistent, persistent commitment and support from the whole MIS staff as well as support, especially in the way of budget and finance, from management and top executives. This requires professional planning and the discipline, teamwork, and focus to make it happen. Having one or two main players take a lead on applications development can mean the difference between success and lingering failure in ongoing systems analysis and design.

Executives may mistakenly think that using Web services is the same as a custom application, but there are substantial differences. While many Web services can be customized, simply using them does not guarantee the kind of valued infrastructure that can give you a well designed technology system for your business. That has to be developed and supported. Another easy out that executives may ask for is simply adding services to existing systems that may actually need modernization or replacement to support the current business needs. Just adding services usually doesn’t address all the needs and can create more problems than it solves because there isn’t a true analytical plan designed for it as in customization.

There are a few things to be wary of when planning to implement custom applications development in a company. Developing custom applications does not guarantee a reduction in technology costs, better systems flexibility, or bigger profits, but successful implementations may produce these kinds of benefits with the proper professional planning, support, and maintenance. Development is normally performed by internal MIS staff, and without the right kind of ongoing understanding and support of the development, MIS can mismanage it. Without a clear cut initiative, the applications development can be used to serve MIS needs instead of organizational needs and can quickly become ineffective, missing the original planning and implementation goals.

Assistance from the right professionals, good planning, successful implementation that is documented, funded, and supported can provide a working systems structure developed to meet specific needs of the business. The flip side of that is an ongoing MIS program that supports and defines the MIS department instead of the legitimate business systems needs.

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