In the contemporary workplace, the reliance on application development is substantial for managing business processes and workflows. These applications vary from simple ones automating single processes to those facilitating managing multiple processes and workflows.
While companies have numerous off-the-shelf options for designing and optimizing such apps, a significant drawback of these 'one-size-fits-all' applications is their design for a broad audience. Although many serve their intended purposes, they often lack the essential functionality specific teams require. Consequently, many companies develop apps using multiple business process tools to achieve optimal results.
This challenge has prompted organizations to recognize the advantages of custom app development. Businesses can internally build apps that meet their specific requirements through custom application development.
Custom apps, bespoke or custom-made apps, are crafted explicitly for a particular client or organization. They are tailored to meet clients' needs, requirements, and preferences. Typically constructed from the ground up, these apps utilize programming languages like Java, C#, and Python and frameworks like React, Angular, Vue.js, and .Net Core.
Unlike off-the-shelf solutions, custom apps are not accessible to the general public and can only be utilized by the organization or client that commissioned their development. Custom-based apps find applications for various purposes, including automating business processes, conducting data analysis, and managing customer relationships.
Custom application development involves creating, designing, and implementing software applications tailored for specific users or use cases. For instance, many organizations develop custom HR portals explicitly designed for employees and freelancers.
Recent surveys indicate that approximately 80% of organizations acknowledge that custom development, facilitated by citizen developers, has provided their IT departments with more flexibility.
The emergence of low-code and no-code citizen development platforms has given rise to a new category of citizen developers—tech-savvy members across various teams who can create the apps they need to enhance business processes without coding.
Traditionally, the responsibility of building custom app development software rested with in-house development teams or IT departments. However, with the advent of low-code development platforms, businesses no longer rely solely on professional coders to build the necessary applications.
Custom business apps are designed to enable users to create, develop, and deploy applications tailored to their specific needs. These apps have well-defined requirements that focus on addressing the unique needs of a particular user group.
The design of these apps originates from identifying a specific problem they aim to solve, and the software is meticulously optimized to address that problem. Custom application development empowers business users to step into the role of app developers, allowing them greater flexibility and control over their work processes and reducing overall dependence on IT teams.
Implementing custom application development provides numerous benefits for enterprises. Some key advantages of custom application development are as follows:
Building applications through conventional methods can incur significant costs, involving tasks such as building, testing, and debugging, all managed by IT teams. In contrast, custom app development requires fewer resources, eliminating the need for dedicated resources and simplifying overall development costs.
Custom applications are designed with the specific goal of optimizing workflows and supporting organizational processes. Tailored with users in mind or even built by the users themselves, these applications are better equipped to address business challenges efficiently.
Custom solutions, designed exclusively for an organization, can seamlessly grow alongside its business needs. Building applications tailored to specific functions allows developers to revisit and adjust areas of the process to accommodate larger volumes of requests and data. This eliminates the need to transition to a new solution for advanced features and scalability.
Ease of Customization:
Custom application development solutions offer extensive customization benefits. Unlike applications developed conventionally, which often require external assistance for setup and customization, custom applications empower business users with complete control over the application setup. This results in simplified and user-driven customization.
Ensuring compatibility with existing systems is a primary consideration in designing custom apps. Many contemporary application development platforms feature API integration functions, facilitating the seamless connection of new apps with existing systems. This eliminates additional investments in newer solutions to meet organizational needs.
Minimal Security Risks:
Commercial tools multiple users use are more vulnerable to security threats and external attacks. Custom-built applications within a cloud-based platform leverage state-of-the-art security, compliance, and data protection measures. This enhances the safety and ease of handling crucial data.
Ease of Use:
Conventional, one-size-fits-all applications often pose a steep learning curve for business users. Custom software, however, is designed and used by the same users, providing complete control over the application development process. No-code development platforms enable users to build fully functional apps without coding expertise, offering ease of use through either scratch-built applications or pre-built templates.
In traditional work environments, when a team or department requires a new application, they must submit a request to the IT team, which assists in selecting suitable apps for their business needs. Traditional app development heavily relies on the IT team, encompassing coding, backend development, bug tracking, and release tasks. This burdens the IT team considerably as they juggle multiple business-critical responsibilities.
In many instances, the IT team is detached from the issues they aim to resolve, often lacking the necessary tools to deliver timely results. Moreover, building apps from scratch, customization, and troubleshooting are time-consuming and expensive.
Custom and conventional app development share similarities, emphasizing the creation of apps with specific requirements tailored to a particular user group. However, fundamental differences set them apart:
Custom Application Development: This approach lets business users completely control the application development process. It shifts from the traditional model where IT teams dominate the development landscape.
Conventional App Development: In a conventional setting, users articulate their business needs to IT teams, relying on the technical expertise of these teams for application development.
Custom Application Development: Emphasizes end-users involvement in the development process, often using platforms that facilitate citizen development. These platforms are designed to be user-friendly, with minimal coding requirements.
Conventional App Development: This does not limit itself to no-code applications and involves significant coding by IT teams throughout the development cycle.
Custom Application Development: Tends to be faster as business users have direct control over the development process, reducing the need for lengthy interactions with IT teams.
Conventional App Development: Typically slower due to the hierarchical structure of development requests, which must pass through IT teams that can act as bottlenecks.
Custom Application Development: Offers greater ease of configuration and customization, often using low-code or no-code platforms that allow business users to make adjustments without extensive technical expertise.
Conventional App Development: Involves reliance on external developers or specialists with in-depth product knowledge for customizing features or making systemic changes.
While custom app development possesses its uniqueness, it still relies on methodologies akin to other forms of application development. Below are steps outlining how to create custom applications from the ground up:
Step 1: Define the Problem and End-User
Identify the specific problem: Clearly articulate the issue or challenge the custom application aims to solve within a business context.
Understand end-user needs: Gain a comprehensive understanding of the individuals or groups who will use the application, ensuring the solution aligns with their requirements.
Step 2: Develop a Prototype
Visualize application design: Envision the appearance and functionality of the application, considering the user interface and overall user experience.
Outline workflow and features: Define the steps users will take and identify the core features necessary for the application's functionality.
Create a prototype: Generate a preliminary model or simulation of the application to provide a tangible representation of its design.
Step 3: Application Development
Use low-code or no-code platforms: Leverage tools that simplify the development process, allowing business users to actively participate in building the application.
Involve business users: Capitalize on the expertise of individuals familiar with the specific business processes and resolutions required for the application.
Develop according to the prototype: Translate the envisioned design into the application through programming or configuration.
Step 4: Simulation and Testing
Rigorous testing: Conduct thorough testing during a simulation phase to identify and address potential issues or errors within the application.
Quality assurance: Ensure the application meets predefined quality standards and user expectations.
Step 5: Go-Live
Deploy to production: Transfer the application from the development environment to a live production setting where end-users can actively engage.
User engagement: Encourage users to interact with the application, raise requests, and perform tasks while closely monitoring its performance.
Bug detection and resolution: Identify and resolve any bugs or errors that may surface during the initial usage period.
Step 6: Optimization
Measure and analyze metrics: Evaluate key performance indicators and user feedback to gauge how well the application meets its objectives.
Continuous improvement: Implement ongoing adjustments and optimizations to enhance the application's performance and address emerging needs or challenges.