The 21st-century workplace depends heavily on application development to manage business processes and workflows. These can range from simple apps that automate a single process while others helping manage multiple processes and workflows.
Companies have several ready-made choices that can design and optimize such apps. However, one major problem with these ‘one-size-fits-all’ applications is that they’re designed for a broad audience—while many of them serve their purpose, they often lack the core functionality that your teams really need. This is why many companies end up developing apps using multiple business process tools for optimal results.
This has forced organizations to take notice of the advantage custom app development offers. With custom application development, businesses can build their apps in-house to meet their specific requirements.
What are custom apps?
Custom apps, also known as bespoke or custom-made apps, are developed specifically for a particular client or organization. They are tailored to meet clients' specific needs, requirements, and preferences. They are typically built from scratch using programming languages such as Java, C#, Python and frameworks like React, Angular, Vue.js, and .Net Core.
They are not available for the general public and can only be used by the organization or client who commissioned them. Custom based apps can be used for various purposes, such as automating business processes, data analysis, customer relationship management, etc.
What is custom application development?
Custom application development is the process of designing, developing, and deploying software applications for specific users or use cases. For example, many organizations have custom-made HR portals for their employees, freelancers, etc.
According to a recent survey, up to 80% of organizations say that custom development through the help of citizen developers has given their IT departments more breathing room.
Low-code, no-code citizen development platforms have encouraged the rise of a new category of citizen development. These are tech-savvy members of the various teams within your organization that can build the kinds of apps they need to optimize their business processes without writing code.
In the past, the responsibility of building custom app development software used to lie on in-house development teams or IT departments. These days, thanks to low-code development platforms, businesses no longer depend on professional coders to build the app they need.
Building custom business apps helps users design, build, and deploy applications to suit their needs. This type of app has a well-defined set of requirements that focus on the unique needs of a specific group of users.
The design of these apps begins with a unique problem they’re meant to solve, and the software is fully optimized to solve this problem. Custom application development allows business users to step into the shoes of app developers and build apps from the ground up. This ensures business users greater flexibility and control over how they work and helps reduce overall dependence on IT teams.
Benefits of custom application development
Custom application development comes with a lot of benefits for enterprises that implement them. Some of the benefits and advantages of custom application development include:
- Ease of customization
- Minimal security risks
- Ease of use
Building an application the conventional way is not cost-effective. Once requirements are passed on to the IT teams, they are often tasked with building, testing, and debugging applications. And this can come at a huge cost. Since custom app development requires a lesser deal of resources, it can eliminate the need to have dedicated resources and simplify the app development costs related to development by a great deal.
One major selling point of custom applications is the fact that they’re created with the purpose of optimizing specific workflows and supporting processes within an organization. They’re typically built with the users in mind or by the users themselves, which makes them better designed to solve business problems in an efficient manner.
A solution that is built just for you can grow with your business. Building an application that is mapped to a specific function and way of work allows developers to revisit certain areas of the process and tweak them to handle larger volumes of requests and data.
This means you won’t have to move to a new solution in order to access advanced features and to scale.
Ease of customization
Customization is one of the biggest benefits of custom application development solutions. Applications built the conventional way often require external help to set up and customize. These may be in the form of members of the IT teams, designated product experts, or external developers. With custom applications, business users have complete control over the way their applications are set up, and so, customization is incredibly simplified.
Every business has systems and tools they already use to handle their operations. One of the primary considerations when designing custom apps is compatibility with these systems.
Many application development platforms these days come with API integration functions that make connecting new apps with existing systems easier, so you don’t spend more money on newer solutions to fulfill your needs.
Minimal security risks
Commercial tools are often used by several users. Not only does this make it more vulnerable to security threats but also introduces several potential nodes for external attacks. A custom-built application exists within a cloud-based platform—a great low-code platform comes with the latest in security, compliance, and data protection which makes it safer and easier to store and transact crucial data.
Learn more: Web Application Development
Ease of use
Most cookie-cutter applications have a steep learning curve for business users. With custom software, the users that use the app are also the ones who build it. A simple no-code development platform ensures complete control over the application development process without the need to know how to hardcode. The no-code platforms allow users to build fully functional apps from scratch or leverage pre-built templates for ease of use.
Drawbacks in traditional app development
In traditional work environments, when a team or department needs to develop a new application they have to submit a request to the IT team who helps them source and choose the right apps for their business.
By implication, traditional app development relies on the IT team. This means that IT teams do everything from coding, backend development, bug tracking, and release. This can easily overwhelm the IT team since they’re also tasked with handling other business-critical tasks.
In many cases, they’re detached from the problems they’re meant to solve and are scarcely equipped to deliver results in a timely manner. Not to mention how time-consuming and expensive it is to build apps from scratch, customize them, and troubleshoot problems.
Choosing Your App Development Stack: A 11-Point Checklist
Differences between custom app development and conventional app development
Custom app development and conventional app development are quite similar. Both concepts focus on building apps with a narrow set of requirements based on the specific needs of a given set of users. However, there are some fundamental differences.
Here are the key factors that distinguish conventional and custom application development:
- Custom application development platform is not IT-team-centric—it gives complete control to the business user who builds the application. With conventional app development, users have to communicate business needs to their IT teams who develop them.
- Custom application development keeps end-users involved and so, platforms that encourage citizen development are used. These are typically not code-heavy. Conventional application development is not restricted to no-code applications since IT teams are involved in building the applications.
- Custom application development is faster because of the shift in control. Conventional application development is a slower process because requests have to pass through the IT teams, who are often a bottleneck.
- Custom applications are easier to configure and customize because it uses low-code/no-code applications. Conventional apps require external developers or specialists who are experts in the product to customize features/make systemic changes.
How to build custom apps from scratch
Even though custom app development is unique, it still depends on similar app development methodologies as other forms of application development. Here are some steps on how to create custom applications from scratch:
Step 1: Determine the problem and end-user
Every application is built to fix a problem for a specific set of end-users. Understanding the problem and the part the application is going to play in the life of the end user is a crucial first step.
Step 2: Build a prototype
Envision what the application looks like. This means visualizing what the workflow will look like, what core features it will require, and determining the information required in order to fulfill requests within the application.
Step 3: Create the application
The third step in custom application development is to actually build the application on a low-code, no-code platform. This is a step that relies heavily on the expertise of the business user since they know intimately how each request flows, what is needed, and how to bring about resolution.
Step 4: Simulate
One of the most crucial steps in custom application development is the testing phase. This phase should highlight any possible problems in the application while highlighting errors or steps that need to change.
Step 5: Go-live
This is possibly the most gratifying phase of custom application development. Going live with the application means pushing the application to a live production environment where users can get involved, raise requests, and fulfill them. Applications need to be monitored for a period of time to ensure there are no bugs or errors that have slipped through the cracks.
Learn more: Build Custom Web Apps Without Coding
Step 6: Optimization
The process of custom application development does not end there. The final stage involves measuring crucial metrics, keeping track of performance, and making subtle tweaks to ensure optimal performance and output.
Create custom apps with Kissflow
Custom application development equips citizen developers with all they need to create the business tools an organization needs. Over the past few years, this has proven to be a cheaper and more efficient approach to app development than traditional app development.
A comprehensive low-code, no-code application development platform like Kissflow lets you bridge the gap between your IT teams and business users while streamlining application development to suit the needs of your organization.
Kissflow is a low-code, no-code work platform that allows you to do more work within a single platform. It bridges the gap between business users and IT teams while truly embracing the philosophy of simple.
"The application is very dynamic and useful in all our business cases and the platform is very user-friendly and implementation was great."