Custom software development projects provide an opportunity for a company to build an application with features that it would otherwise not be able to enjoy had it gone for an off-the-shelf application. It’s, therefore, crucial to take time to research and discuss functionality needs with all stakeholders. If you are intending to start a custom software building project, here are some often forgotten but crucial features you should consider including.
1. Time Management Capabilities
Custom software ought to help your employees to boost their productivity. If you will use the custom software to schedule and assign tasks, it’s important that you also include a reminder feature. People should receive emails and push notifications when they get new tasks or when deadlines draw close. For field service companies, it would be useful for the software to provide the dispatcher a chance to see technicians’ schedules. The setup should be such that there cannot be a double allocation of tasks to technicians.
2. Analytics on User Experience
An often-overlooked feature on custom software is analytics on user experience. It’s more common in commercial and mass software applications looking to improve usability through subsequent iterations. However, even in custom private software, having analytics will help improve UX. Improvements will lead to greater use and will also impact your employees’ productivity if it’s a workflow management application. If you are building an e-commerce app, analytics will lead to greater revenue being generated because you will identify bottlenecks on the app.
Custom software ought to have a higher level of security than off-the-shelf software. In fact, security is one of the main reasons companies consider developing their own software. If a business is handling sensitive customer data or important trade secrets, the security architecture of their software ought to take the inherent risks into consideration. Hackers often target commercial software. Custom-made software is, therefore, less prone to attacks.
4. Automation through Custom Software
Custom software should ease a company’s workflow by automating repetitive tasks. For instance, a custom procurement software should automate the cross-checking of incoming invoices with purchase orders that had been sent to the supplier. Automating not only saves money by reducing the need for human effort but it also increases the level of accuracy. Automation also allows standardization which eliminates fluctuations in quality of work.
5. Proper User Support
A great custom software ought to give users a way to have their issues resolved quickly. While call centres are useful, it can be frustrating to wait on hold for long periods. Users should be able to raise tickets within the software platform and the support team should be able to see the issues the customer is facing. Such an approach helps the support team get to the root of a problem and resolve it because many people get frustrated with it.
6. Branding the Custom Software
Custom software is a great branding opportunity for businesses, but its value is often underestimated. When designing the look of an application, the development team must take into consideration the brand colours of the business. They also ought to think about the placement of logos, brand tag lines, and other important symbols of the business. If this is coupled with a great usability, it strengthens the brand in the eyes of users. In fact, a great experience on the software will lead to referrals for more business to flow towards the business.
7. Admin Functionality
When building custom-software, there is always a risk in focusing too much on the user experiencing and forgetting admin experience. There should be an administrative dashboard from where the admin can moderate user capabilities. They can moderate comments on forums, handle such things as disputed payments on e-commerce platforms, receive support requests, and so on. It will improve the overall experience for everyone else.
8. Error Logging and Notifications
How will your software handle errors? What happens when a transaction fails halfway through? It’s important to send notifications both to the admin and client when such events occur. It eases the client’s anxiety and reassures them that the support team will handle the error.
In a busy business where hundreds of errors can occur over a short period, a system of logging errors is necessary. Log files are a great source of data to identity trends and recurring problems. The business can handle them appropriately.
9. Application Programming Interfaces (API)
When commissioning a software project, you should not overlook the need to build an API to help your app integrate smoothly with other applications. If you are running a B2B business model, there may be need to exchange large data sets between your app and another app. An API makes the integration process much smoother and increases usability of your app. Consider how popular APIs such as Google Maps and PayPal have made those products ubiquitous.
10. Scalability of the Custom Software
You should build your custom software with the anticipation that user needs may grow. It should therefore be scalable. Software projects are an expensive capital expenditure and as such, their usable lifetime must be significant enough to justify the cost. Scalability is achieved though efficient code. The development team has to choose the right algorithms, manage memory well, and the right performant libraries. Remember, as the number of users increase, the demands per user may also increase.
Benefitting from Custom Software Development
Software development projects are a big undertaking for any business. There are numerous constraints involved including the budget, time, choosing the right technology, as well as honouring regulations on data security. However, if you get it right, your business will be in a great place. You can serve your customers better and can save money through automation. It’s also a way to strengthen your brand through superior customer experiences.
If your company is seeking a custom development partner, reach out to Transcendent Software. We have over 20 years of experience in building and launching custom software for businesses. Our team will walk with your organization to establish user needs, prioritize features, design the architecture, code, test, and maintain the custom software. We also help clients integrate their custom software with other systems in their workflow. Contact us for a free consultation session today.