Custom-developed applications have been conventionally associated with high costs, slow time-to-market, and ROI challenges that don’t hold up to “shrink-wrapped” packaged solutions. So, is custom application development really dead?

This is one of the misconceptions Forrester dispels in a recent report, Ten Myths And Realities Of The Software Market In 2013.

According to Forrester, the claim that custom application development is dead is just dead wrong. The amount of IT investment in custom applications continues to rise, and data shows that enterprises actually spend the same on custom apps as packaged software. Specifically, packaged solutions account for 25.8% of software spending while custom application expenditures stand at 25.6%.

Below are some of the reasons enterprises are turning to custom-built applications.

1.  Custom applications can be a differentiator in competitive markets.

Business processes are an important intellectual property for an organization. Fine-tuning and enforcing your processes through smart, fully-automated applications can help set your company apart from your competitors. The other alternative is to forego the uniqueness of your business and allow packaged software to “McDonaldize” your mission-critical processes and customer experience.

Of course, most packaged software can be modified to a certain point, but you will be taking on the risks of complexity, customization costs, and questionable upgradability when new versions are released.

2.  Custom applications can lead to lower TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).

Packaged software is intended to appeal to the widest possible user base. Because of this, customers often find themselves using only a fraction of the feature set, essentially paying for more than they actually need. Furthermore, redundant or overly-complicated functionality wastes a lot of time and resources on testing, training, and day-to-day maintenance. Ultimately, these hidden costs can be enormous.

With custom apps, organizations get exactly what they need, designed around their specific business use cases. Budgets can be allocated to the specific areas that matter most, going much further in the long run. Take CRM software for example. The market is huge, but the penetration rate is surprisingly low because so many companies decide to custom-build a CRM to avoid all the limitations and costs.

Another hidden (and potentially huge) price tag of packaged software is opportunity costs. The majority of packaged software is licensed per seat, and in an attempt to contain costs, many companies limit the number of licensed users, therefore also limiting the full benefits of the solution. Or even worse, the packaged software is purchased with the best of intentions, but is not rolled out by IT for several months due to the overall complexity.

3.  Platform-as-a-Service brings together the best of both worlds.

A typical benefit of packaged apps is fast time-to-market. But the advent of cloud computing and simultaneous maturing of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) technology has seriously challenged this notion. Today, PaaS brings agility to the business, while its cloud delivery offers speed and scale to IT.

PaaS transforms the software development process, particularly for high productivity platforms designed for business users. Applications are now built in days instead of months because graphical user interfaces (GUI) have replaced coding, end users can design their own apps to their exact specifications, and the entire infrastructure is built-in and ready to scale on-demand. The need for QA testing and IT provisioning is eliminated.

As a leader in cloud database and PaaS technologies, Caspio is an ideal productivity platform that IT can hand off to an entire organization to create their own custom apps within a secure and managed framework. Even for their free online database, Caspio simplifies the complexities of database apps through an intuitive “point-and-click” user interface, built on industry standards such as SQL and Amazon Web Services. Today, companies of all sizes and diverse industries have successfully integrated Caspio into their daily operations.

Have a custom application project in mind? Request a consultation … we will be happy to point you in the right direction.

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