The Best Custom Software Development Companies of 2020

Our custom software development company reviews are the result of over 40 hours of research on 315+ custom software development companies from across the web. These reviews and our custom software development guide help small businesses and startups find the best custom software development company for their business.

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The Best Custom Software Development Companies of 2020

Best Custom Software Development Companies of 2020 Badge

How We Chose the Best Custom Software Development Companies

If your company has made the decision that commercial, off-the-shelf software, open-source products or SaaS solutions are no longer filling your exact needs, it is time to turn to a custom solution. But choosing the right company can be an overwhelming task. How to differentiate between the hundreds of companies that all claim to be the exact right fit?

We evaluated the best custom software development companies on the following criteria:

Multiple Service Lines

Your company is searching for custom software at a specific moment in time and in response to a specific need. If you are looking for a full suite of service lines then the need for a company that’s capable of providing your entire stack is obvious. But companies may start out looking for a single application, then later choose to expand on the original project into another platform or technology. By choosing a development company with the expertise to transition from one need to another, you not only ensure a smooth and seamless transition for your employees and your clients, you also eliminate the need to re-educate about your company or to establish new relationships. Companies that offer multiple service lines increase the sense of collaboration and partnership that can make the process much more enjoyable and efficient.

Size of Firm

In addition to experience and knowledge, the number of staff members that a custom software development company employs will make a significant difference in the way that they work, their responsiveness and even the fees that they charge. Teams that have higher numbers of employees are more likely to employ specialists dedicated to working on specific service lines, as well as dedicated project managers that have established mature processes. Though this may be an indication of efficiency, that is not always the case, and your preferences may be guided by your own personality or previous experience. We have included firms of varying sizes.

Industry Focus

One of the biggest differentiators in the ability to deliver a product that truly meets a client’s need is being able to understand their business. The more experience a software developer has with the type of business that you run, the more easily they will be able to communicate with you and to deliver real value. The companies that we have chosen have broad experience in all kinds of industries, providing them with insight that should prove helpful no matter what type of business you are operating.

The 15 Best Custom Software Development Companies of 2020

CompanyPriceService LinesMore
*instinctools$25 - $49 / hrCustom Software Development
Web Development
Mobile App Development
Visit *instinctools
8allocate$25 - $49 / hrCustom Software Development
IT Strategy Consulting
IT Managed Services
Visit 8allocate
AccelOne$50 - $99 / hrCustom Software Development
UX/UI Design
Mobile App Development
Visit AccelOne$50 - $99 / hrCustom Software Development
BI & Big Data Consulting
SI Artificial Intelligence
Altoros$50 - $99 / hrCustom Software Development
IT Staff Augmentation
BI & Big Data Consulting SI
Visit Altoros
DCSL Software$50 - $99 / hrCustom Software Development
Web Development
Mobile App Development
Visit DCSL Software
Fingent Corp$50 - $99 / hrCustom Software Development
Web Development
Mobile App Development
Visit Fingent Corp
Intellectsoft$25 - $49 / hrCustom Software Development
Mobile App Development
Web Development
Visit Intellectsoft
Itransition$25 - $49 / hrVisit Itransition
ScienceSoft$50 - $99 / hrCloud Consulting & SI
Collaboration & UC
Consulting and SI
UX/UI Design
Visit ScienceSoft
SimbirSoft$50 - $99 / hrCustom Software Development
Web Development
Mobile App Development
Visit SimbirSoft
Syberry$25 - $49 / hrMobile App Development
Custom Software Development
Web Development
Visit Syberry

Table XI$150 - $199 / hrCustom Software Development
Mobile App Development
UX/UI Design
Visit Table XI
Trigent$25 - $49 / hrCustom Software Development
Cloud Consulting
Visit Trigent
XB Software$25 - $49 / hrCustom Software Development
Web Development
UX/UI Design
Visit XB Software


instinctools logo
Based in Belarus, *instinctools has spent twenty years building its capabilities and its reputation for reliability, expertise and a keen interest in understanding each of their customers’ business goals and preferences. The company has more than 350 employees who have accrued extensive experience in industries ranging from automobile sales to the financial industry, implementing complex projects at rates that are far below what is offered by other firms and delivered via an optimized software development process that delivers results quickly.

The company offers services including:

  • Solution Development via Analysis and Consulting, Full-cycle Development and Support
  • Development Teams in three formulations — Augmented, Dedicated, and Project-Based
  • Legacy Software Modernization
  • Business Intelligence
  • E-Learning
  • Instant Crypto Exchange
  • PPC Optimization
PriceService LinesFeatures
$25 - $49 / hrCustom Software Development
Mobile App Development
Web App Development
Enterprise App Modernization
> Choice of Development Team Style
>Software for Project Management
>Combination of onsite and offsite resources
>More features at *instinctools

What Customers Are Saying
“Their work is reliable and functional. They take pride in being strong technologists. They walk the extra mile with you. They selected the project methodology consciously and correctly. They try to understand what the project is about, and they actively suggest solutions.”


8allocate logo

8allocate is a boutique software development outsourcing and project management consultancy. Their team of more than 50 software engineers, programmers, quality assurance professionals, and project managers use a lean approach that optimizes budget through the use of Agile methodologies, code libraries, software engineering best practices, and reusable components.

The group’s services include:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • DevOps
  • FinTech
  • 3D and CGI
  • Big Data
  • Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
  • eCommerce
  • Blockchain

Located in Tallinn, Estonia, the company offers clients a choice between outsourced offshore staff augmentation and managed offshore product solutions. Clients who opt for augmentation of their staff get the benefit of significant cost savings and the elimination of hiring and administrative challenges, while being given access to talented specialists from around the world. Those who choose project development can share their goals, technical requirements and specifications and be provided with a quick evaluation and estimate, milestones and schedule, along with a project plan that is scalable to their budget. The team provides 24/7 project status tracking.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$25 - $49 / hrCustom Software Development
IT Strategy Consulting
IT Managed Services
IT Staff Augmentation
>AR/R Development
>Artificial Intelligence
>E-Commerce Development
>More features at 8allocate

What Customers Are Saying
“Their speed in hiring qualified mobile developers was impressive. We got the first candidate CVs within a couple of days of placing our staffing request. The quality of those candidates was much higher than what our internal recruiters supplied as well. Their commitment to quality also stood out to us.”


AccelOne logo

AccelOne is a software development company, project delivery, and staff augmentation agency that promises quality solutions on-time and on budget. It meets its promise by providing small, medium, and enterprise-level customers with services provided by both their own local staff and highly qualified developers working in their Buenos Aires, Argentina software center.

The company has fewer than 50 employees, but is able to provide a wide range of services, including Custom Software Development, Mobile App Development and Web Apps. They also contract highly qualified IT staff both locally and nearshore, matching your staffing request with qualified candidates for whom they provide all screening, onboarding, and assigning to your projects.

AccelOne is able to provide for a diverse set of technical needs, including:

  • Custom Software
  • Quality Assurance
  • Mobile Applications
  • Web Applications
  • UX/UI Design
  • Ecommerce Development
  • Cryptocurrency Software Development

8Allocate is based in Seattle, Washington and provides near-shore outsourcing based out of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$50 - $99 / hrCustom Software Development
UX/UI Design
Mobile App Development
Web App Development
>Nearshore Outsourcing
>Candidate Viewer
>Customer Dashboard
>More features at AccelOne

What Customers Are Saying
“They did a phenomenal job given the limited time and limited amount of additional resources from the technology providers. The quality of their work and their responsiveness was exceptional, and they were perceptive of the needs of the multiple stakeholders. They were very skilled in developing a plan and implementing it in a very collaborative environment. They had wonderful delivery and execution. They were great in terms of communicating, keeping me informed, and managing milestones.” logo is a custom product and software development firm. They are a small shop of fewer than 50 employees that prides itself on its user-centric approach. Their technology offerings include full-stack transactional apps, data-intensive apps and Artificial Intelligence.

The company’s services include:

  • Product Scope — a 7-day process to align the client’s product with their business goals
  • UX/UI — focus is on designing easy-to-use, engaging and functional product
  • MVP Builder — getting clients to market quickly with high-quality Minimum Viable Product is based in Lisbon, Portugal, with offices in London and Milan.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$50 - $99 / hrCustom Software Development
BI & Big Data Consulting & SI
Artificial Intelligence
>7-Day Product Scope Process
>MVP Builder
>More features at

What Customers Are Saying
“These guys are very into understanding the problem of their client. They had an initial meeting to understand what we really wanted and needed. That was their starting point, and not many companies do this. Many people want to sell their preconceived product, and they didn’t do that. That was very important for the success of this job with us.”


Altoros logo

Altoros offers strategy consulting, full-cycle project support and management, and comprehensive training through cloud automation and transformation, blockchain implementation and Artificial Intelligence integration. The company employs a staff of over 400 professionals, 91.5% of whom are senior and mid-level engineers and 30% of whom focus on R&D.

Much of their focus lies in helping clients choose the best technology stack, developing complex solutions and integration and migration of legacy systems.

Their services include:

  • Cloud Foundry services
  • Cloud transformation service
  • Kubernetes implementation
  • Blockchain development service
  • AI development services
  • Machine learning solutions

The company is based in Silicon Valley and has offices in Norway, Finland, Argentina, and Belarus.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$50 - $99 / hrCustom Software Development
BI & Big Data Consulting
Cloud Consulting
IT Staff Augmentation
Mobile App Development
IoT Development
Web Development
>Technology Consulting
>Cloud-native development
>Kubernetes implementation
>More features at Altoros

What Customers Are Saying
“They have an experienced team and the project management utilizes a very good methodology. We have good communication and escalation. They improve or fix anything that goes wrong or gets delayed in a quick manner. They proactively make proposals for handling difficult situations. They have very high-class project management. All team members are skilled from a technical, organizational, and logistical standpoint.”

DCSL Software

DCSL-Software logo

DCSL Software is a UK-based bespoke software development company that has been in business since 1994. Its 100+ employees design web applications, desktop applications, and mobile apps. The company has a mature process for software development that facilitates collaboration, communication, and transparency in a timely manner.

DCSL’s services include:

  • Business Application Development ranging from mobile and web app development to databases, customer portal software, and Internet of Things
  • Systems Integration including legacy software modernization, data migration, and application migration to the cloud
  • Professional Services including team augmentation, software consultancy, enterprise IT services and outsourcing, and software project rescue.

DCSL has offices in London and Farnborough in England, as well as in Bucharest, Romania.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$50 - $99 / hrCustom Software Development
Web Development
Mobile App Development
Enterprise App Modernization
>Rapid software delivery
>Enterprise IT Services and Outsourcing
>Software project rescue
>More features at DCSL Software

What Customers Are Saying
“With DCSL’s software, what used to be three people’s jobs can now be done by one person. It’s done wonders for our efficiency, even from the financing and invoicing side. Those tasks were taking a lengthy amount of time, and now they’re being done automatically by the system. It has fundamentally changed the way we work.”


Fingent-Corp logo

Fingent has been operating since 2003, and has developed into a global IT company capable of providing a robust portfolio of strategic IT solutions and services, including end-to-end Technology Services, Advisory Services, Enterprise Consulting, Application Development and Maintenance Outsourcing, and Business Process Outsourcing.

Fingent’s services include:

  • Software development
  • Advisory services around business technology, digital transformation, and cloud strategy
  • Advanced tech including AR/VR, Robotic process automation, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics and Visualization
  • Maintenance and Support
  • Infrastructure
  • Security and Compliance

The company is New York-based with offices in Boston, Melbourne, and Dubai and R&D centers in Kochi and Trivandrum, India. The company utilizes U.S. resources to ensure accurate communication of business and development needs.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$50 - $99 / hrCustom Software Development
Web Development
Mobile App Development
>Digital transformation
>Cloud infrastructure
>Business technology consulting
>More features at Fingent

What Customers Are Saying
“They’re not in it for the contract. Instead, they’re working with us as part of our team. They’re making sure the product is as strong as it can be while ensuring that it’s successful as we move it into the market with branding. Their team is completely committed to our success as a client, and they do that with their dynamic team.”


Intellectsoft logo

Intellectsoft is a digital transformation consultancy that offers its clients expertise through five dedicated areas of focus: Cognitive Computing, Decentralized Applications such as Blockchain, Internet of Things, Customer Experience, and Mixed Reality. Its 300+ employees deliver these innovations in a personalized end-to-end process that is offered in three separate structures tailored to the size and scope of each client’s business and project.

Intellectsoft describes its technology core as consisting of:

  • Blockchain
  • Internet of Things
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • User Experience
  • Mixed Reality Applications

The company’s headquarters is located in California, and its development centers are located across the United States, the United Kingdom, the Nordic region, and Eastern Europe.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$25 - $49 / hrCustom Software
Mobile App Development
>Cognitive Computing
>Customer Experience
>IT Consultancy
>More features at Intellectsoft

What Customers Are Saying
“We took part in a planning stage before they started doing any of the development work. They challenged us to think about what it was that we wanted to get out of the app, what we were trying to do, what hole we were trying to fill, and our vision for it. They had us do a lot of exercises around what that should look like.”


Itransition logo

Itransition is a global software development company that has been providing comprehensive development services and software consulting for over twenty years. The firm leverages over 2,000 experienced and knowledgeable IT professionals to apply a mature project management model that they refer to as a “cooperation process.” Their main areas of focus are digital enterprise and digital engagement.

Their service features include:

Itransition is based in Lakewood, Colorado, with offices in London, Minsk, and the Netherlands.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$25 - $49 / hrCustom Software Development
BI & Big Data Consulting
CRM Consulting
IT Managed Services
>Data Management
>Social Technology
>Customer Experience and Engagement
>More features at Itransition

What Customers Are Saying
“I was most impressed by their high level of organization and their overall execution of the project. I’ve never worked with another vendor with a team as cohesive as theirs. They came to meetings even more prepared than we were. I also appreciated how they were all extremely proud of the accomplishments they’d achieved for us — they felt like genuine partners in that sense.”


ScienceSoft logo

ScienceSoft has been delivering IT consulting services and custom software development for over 30 years. In addition to 700+ in-house IT experts, the firm relies on another 700 technology professionals located around the world, providing custom and platform-based development in the areas of CRM, Data Analysis, Collaboration & Knowledge Management, and Information Security.

The company’s areas of expertise include:

  • Enterprise Resource and Process Management
  • Ecommerce
  • Data Analytics
  • DMS
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • Big Data
  • Internet of Things
  • Computer Vision
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality

ScienceSoft’s headquarters are located in McKinney, Texas, and the firm has offices in Finland, Belarus, and the United Arab Emirates.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$50 - $99 / hrCloud Consulting
UC Consulting
UX/UI Design
BI & Big Data Consulting
IT Staff Augmentation
Custom Software Development
>Software Development Outsourcing
>Custom Software Development
>Software Product Development
>More features at ScienceSoft

Pros & Cons of ScienceSoft Custom Software Development

What Customers Are Saying
“The ability to add people and scale up quickly when we needed to was absolutely invaluable for us. Our web portal is up and running and we are very satisfied with its performance so far. Their skill and experience came through in the quality of the work they delivered, and in the end, they delivered on everything they promised, which is really all you want in a project like this.”


SimbirSoft logo

SimbirSoft has nearly twenty years of experience in providing end-to-end software solutions, rescue of failed software projects, IT staff augmentation, and quality assurance testing. The company employs more than 720 staff members who focus their energies on enterprise automation systems, highly loaded systems, mobile applications, Machine Learning & Data Science solutions, and embedded software.

SimbirSoft’s development centers are located throughout Russia. They have a branch in the United States.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$50 - $99 / hrCustom Software Development
Web Development
Mobile App Development
>Predictable outcomes
>Technical expertise
>Focus on security
>More features at SimbirSoft

What Customers Are Saying
“SimbirSoft has proven to be a reliable partner with extensive experience. Before they came on board, we were only working with a single vendor and weren’t sure how we could scale our team. Once SimbirSoft joined the project, they immediately suggested ways to organize our teams to both speed up development and considerably increase release outputs. Their team now continues to support our product’s backend, creating architecture solutions and infrastructure customizations using the latest frameworks. We wouldn’t have been able to do those things with our internal resources alone.”


Syberry logo

Syberry has a staff of over 200 professionals whose goal is to leverage their expertise and dedication to transparent pricing, superior communication, and unparalleled quality into a lean business model that delivers exactly what their clients need. The company’s main areas of expertise include Custom Software Development, Quality Assurance, Product Development, Business Analysis, and Legacy Software Modernization.

Other technical strengths include:

  • Internet of Things
  • Saas Solutions
  • eCommerce
  • Cloud Development
  • ERP Solutions
  • Business Process Automation
  • Blockchain
  • Big Data Solutions
  • Startup Solutions

The company is based in Austin, Texas and outsources some of its development to Belarus.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$25 - $49 / hrCustom Software Development
Mobile App Development
Web Development
IoT Development
>Dedicated Development Teams
>Software Maintenance Programs
>DevOps Automation
>More features at Syberry

What Customers Are Saying
“Their organization-wide professionalism is their best quality. Everyone I spoke to was cordial and understanding and responsive. They were also flexible. If I wanted to add something separate from the initial quote, I’d put together a video or prototype to walk them through it, and they’d come back with a detailed breakdown. There were no gray areas or misunderstandings because they were honest with me. This honesty extended back to their first proposal. There wasn’t any bloat, and they never surprised me with an extra charge.”

Table XI

Table-XI logo

Based in Chicago, Table XI is a small custom software development and UX design firm that has spent 17 years building a big reputation for the integrated web applications, mobile apps, and custom digital experiences it provides to its clients. The company’s process relies heavily on front-end research and product strategy: It is only after they have a thorough understanding of the challenges and goals that they begin to prototype their deliveries. Once they begin, they move quickly and collaboratively, with a high degree of communication that builds client trust.

Their team provides end-to-end support that combines strategy, design and technical execution in four key areas:

  • Digital Strategy and Project Management
  • Product and user experience design
  • Mobile development
  • Custom Web development services
PriceService LinesFeatures
$150 - $199 / hrCustom Software Development
Mobile App Development
UI/UX Design
>Software Consulting
>Product Design Workshop
>Project Inception
>More features at Table XI

What Customers Are Saying
“There were a lot of things they did on an exceptional level. They were great at being true partners. If there was something they thought needed to be changed or something we might not have thought through fully, they made sure to ask the hard questions. Their thoughtfulness is superior. They think through everything before they build anything. The end product was awesome.”


Trigent logo

Breakthrough solutions, strategic insights, and execution excellence are just a few of the words used to describe the work of Trigent, a software solutions and development company whose services include web and custom software applications, product engineering, mobile application development, and testing services. The company has been operating for over 25 years, and employs 2,500 experienced and knowledgeable professionals committed to providing robust technology solutions to their clients.

The company’s services include:

  • End-to-end consulting services
  • Cloud initiatives
  • SaaS
  • System integration
  • Legacy system migration
  • Software quality assurance and testing
  • AS/400
  • Technical support services

Trigent is based in Southborough, Massachusetts and has development centers in both Boston and Bangalore.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$25 - $49 / hrCustom Software Development
Cloud Consulting and SI
>Disruptive Technologies
>Cloud Services
>Digital Transformation
>More features at Trigent

What Customers Are Saying
“Our product’s downtime, which is dependent on Trigent’s programming and our cloud service provider, is negligible. Our customers depend on us to stay up and running all the time. If the server crashes or there’s a technical issue, Trigent addresses it immediately. Partly to Trigent’s ever-evolving work and consistency, we haven’t lost a customer. They help us create innovative solutions and features that our customers depend on. Our customers don’t even think about switching to another service because of our products’ great functionality and performance.”

XB Software

XB-Software logo

XB Software provides end-to-end software development services, as well as custom web and mobile app development. Their team of 150+ IT professionals has expertise in development, business analysis and quality assurance, and apply it to projects from the earliest stages of project development through final testing and deployment. Services include Custom Software Development, Product Customization, Mobile Applications, and IT Staff Augmentation.

Among XB Software’s notable offerings are its customizable web development tools, including:

  • Webix, a powerful JavaScript library that allows clients to develop rich mobile and desktop web apps based on HTML5 and CSS3
  • DHTMLX, used for building JavaScript UI components and libraries for project management
  • GanttPro, an online app that facilitates quality tasks management and improves collaboration
  •, social media management tools that let companies post content to multiple social media networks at once.

XB was founded in Minsk, Belarus in 2008, which remains its headquarters. The company recently opened an office in McLean, Virginia.

PriceService LinesFeatures
$25 - $49 / hrCustom Software Development
Web Development
UX/UI Design
>Enterprise and eLearning Solutions
>DHTMLX JavaScript Framework copyright holder
>Webix UI widgets library
>More features at XB Software

What Customers Are Saying
“When we launched the app, we generated a few hundred messages per day and now we’re at more than 50,000 per day. There’s been a steep growth curve. This app has replaced every other in-house communication tool we used to use. The major benefits are that this app works across operating systems, including Linux, and we’re able to communicate much more effectively than ever before. We can also conduct group conferences across different geographic and security zones, and we’ve seen a rise in employees using it to build social relationships as well. It’s led to a much better working environment.”

What Is Mobile App Development?

Custom software development is also known as “bespoke”, a term that calls to mind talented tailors who created unique suits created to the exact specifications and measurements of the lucky wearer. The concept remains the same when it applies to technology: companies that want their applications and their productivity software to provide for their specific needs (or the specific needs of their clients) turn to third-party companies to create what is lacking in commercial, off-the-shelf software packages.

Companies that provide custom software have a unique set of skills that allow them to translate their customers’ needs into a product. Though every company works differently, the process generally begins with gathering as much pertinent information about the client’s processes, challenges and goals as possible, speaking directly with stakeholders to understand where they are encountering problems, what their workflow is, why they need to make changes and what items are on their wish list. Once this information has been collected and confirmed, the company moves to code construction, testing and deployment, ideally keeping in mind the essential element of user experience. Once the product has met all of the original requirements, an important element of its deployment is technical testing and quality assurance procedures to make sure that it is working correctly.

In some cases custom software development will be a process that starts from scratch, while in many other instances the goal will be to update legacy software that no longer matches the company’s needs or current technology. In other cases companies may choose to extend their current offerings to include newer capabilities such as mobile devices, or to expand into entirely new technologies such as Blockchain, Cloud computing, or Augmented or Virtual Reality. Choosing a custom software development company that is capable of providing all of these services, whether now or in the future, allows for a smooth transition as your company grows.

Benefits of Using A Custom Software Development Company

If you’ve spent years building and growing your company, the idea of turning to an outsider to create the software that you need may feel like an unnecessary and wasteful expense, especially if you already have an inhouse IT team. There are certainly advantages to using your inhouse staff — they are a known and proven quantity, already onboard, immediately accessible to discuss ongoing projects at any time; they accounted for within your budget; they already know your company’s culture, the technology that is being used, and your business’ needs and goals. Additionally, sticking with your own, existing staff eliminates questions of product ownership and trade secrets.

But even with all of those advantages, there are disadvantages that need to be taken into account. The most obvious of these is the fact that your in-house staff already has its own responsibilities. Developing custom software is time consuming and expensive. It would take them away from the critical work that they had previously been assigned to, and in many cases the personnel that you have onstaff may not have the specialized knowledge base needed to deliver state-of-the-art technology. If they have been with you for a while, they may not be familiar with the tools, languages, and platforms that you need to take your business into the future. That leaves you with the expense of having to determine exactly what skills you need to meet your goals, and then to recruit additional staff members that have those capabilities. The cost of recruitment, onboarding, overhead, hiring and benefits will quickly grow, and become a constant.

By choosing to outsource your software development project, you have the ability to choose a company based on your specific needs. You can interview various firms that will have the tools and the resources available to complete your project within a specific timeline and budget. These companies’ teams will need to be familiarized with your organization, but will already have a mature project management process in place to facilitate the discovery process, ensuring that they understand the needs of each stakeholder. Their work can quickly be scaled up or down because they already have the staff and technology on hand, and can do so without any additional costs for training or overhead.

Perhaps most important of all, once you make the decision to outsource your custom software development, you have access to experts from all around the globe from which to choose. You can seek referrals from colleagues or staff members within your IT department, or research companies based on their costs, their expertise in your industry or technology needs.

What to Look For In A Custom Software Development Company

Once you’ve made the decision to turn to an outside company for your custom software development project, you are faced with choosing among the thousands of companies that are out there. There are small boutique companies and enormous companies with thousands of engineers. Some are local to you and some are located halfway around the world. Making the right choice will involve some homework on your part, but the investment of your time will be well worth it in the end. Here are the key things to do as you begin your search.

  • Start by understanding your own needs and writing them down. This means more than just that you need something new, but also how quickly you want it, what you want it to do for your business, your employees and your customers, and what problems you want it to fix. It’s also a good idea to think about how much you want to spend, as well as who within your organization will be the liaison between the development company and your organization.
  • At the same time that you’re assembling your “needs and wants” list, you should also be reaching out to colleagues within your industry and to your own IT team to see whether any of them have a recommendation for a custom software company. Working with a known quantity that someone you trust believes in is always a good idea, though you can also look for candidates by searching the Internet for top-rated firms.
  • Once you have a few potential candidates, take some time to look at each one’s website, and look them up on review sites. By reviewing the information that they have published you will get a sense for the type of work that they do, as well as their values and processes. You want to find a company that has a portfolio and experience that matches your needs in terms of industry, complexity and scope, and a mission with which you are comfortable. You also want to make sure that the technology and tools that they are working with is up-to-date and will carry your organization into the future.
  • Pay attention to geography and culture. Though you may be perfectly comfortable using an offshore company that is halfway around the world, you need to be mindful that making that decision will involve accommodating significant time differences, and may make communication more challenging. You may also encounter cultural or language barriers that you may not be comfortable with, and may impede your ability to communicate your needs.
  • Check to see whether the company provides support after the new software has been deployed. If the project ends when the software has been delivered, you may find yourself with challenges regarding maintenance and addressing problems. You want to find a firm that provides you with orientation and support.

The Cost of Custom Software Development

Deciding that you need custom software development is easy. Paying for it is an entirely different thing. The cost of custom software development can vary enormously, with some projects costing as little as $10,000 and others running over $1 million. What determines the cost is the project’s requirements — how complex is what you need your software to do, and how long is it going to take the development company to get it done.

Though some of the cost will be determined by the company that you choose — opting for an offshore company based in India or Estonia is likely to cost you significantly less than paying for the same service from a U.S.-based company — there are other figures that must be taken into account. These are:

  • Your software’s size and user base. This refers to the number of people who will be accessing the software and the number of modules, screens and pages of code it contains. The more extensive the software is, the longer it is going to take to create and the more it is going to cost. The reason that the number of users makes a difference is that a larger number automatically means that it will need to be optimized and tested to a greater degree.
  • Your software’s complexity. The more challenging your software is to develop, the more expensive it is going to be. Challenges arise from the features that you need, the complexity of the technology that you are using, and how intricate the design needs to be. If you are looking for a product that can use traditional software languages and deployment platforms, your project will be more simple than if it needs to be written to accommodate multiple devices that each have their own operating system.
  • Integration with existing or external systems. The more extensively your software needs to communicate and integrate with third-party systems, the more work it will require to create it and the more it will cost.
  • Complexity of design. This is often where costs get driven up unexpectedly. Companies envision their products looking a certain way: If they are paying for new software they want it to have beautiful graphics and animations. Each of these design elements represents an additional investment in time and technology.
  • User experience. Finally the way that the user experiences the software, and the ease with which they interact with it, can drive up costs. A complex program still needs to be usable, and though the complexity of software that only needs to be used by staff can be addressed with training, the same is not true for customers, for whom it is important that software be intuitive. Accomplishing this represents time and effort, and ends up adding to costs.