Personal finance software guide  

How Custom Software Development Is Helping Businesses Succeed
By T. Jonathan Tabard
In a world that is always seeking quicker solutions to problems, commercial software developers are very much in demand. They can produce the programs which will help a company speed up its turn over and save time in processing. Commercially developed programs can also save a company a great deal of money in the term, so it can always be looked upon a s a good investment.

The initial skill in developing commercial software is to evaluate exactly what the customer needs. A vague idea of an end result is usually presented as a general starting point. This needs then to be followed by what is known as the requirements analysis. This will determine exactly how the new software is to function and give the software developers a clearer idea of the task ahead of them.

The new software to be developed might range from an addition to an existing system to a whole new system in itself. In the former case, one of the prime responsibilities of the commercial software developers is to ensure that the newly created programme is designed to work properly in conjunction with the existing software.

The length of time a newly developed piece of software takes to create will be determined by several factors. One, clearly, is the size of the job, but it can also depend on the developers' knowledge or experience in the client's area of expertise. The greater the knowledge, the more quickly the design for the software can be achieved.

It is important that the language and terminology which apply to the client's business be understood and utilised. This will enable better and more successful compatibility with both the existing software and with the future users. Failure in this area can, at least, lead to confusion. At worst, the program will not be used because of the lack of familiarity.

In the specification document, the commercial software developers will lay out the ordered behaviour of the requested system showing both what is needed to make the system correctly functional and the properties of the requested inputs and outputs.

In producing the architecture for the new software, the developers must look at all its aspects. The requirements of the client must be carefully considered ensuring that they are all met. However, it is also important to look to the future and attempt to predict what on-going developments might occur. Commercial software needs to be ready for adjustment and amendment should the need arise. The developers of the new software will also be looking at how it interfaces with existing software products and the system as a whole.

Next comes the programming or coding. This is part of the implementation period. The program has to be written in a suitable programming language. It must then be tested to see how well it works. Bugs in the program

must be identified and removed. If not caught and dealt with at this stage, they could cause a serious malfunction when the software is finally run.

Once tests are complete and the developers are satisfied that the program is safe to run, it is approved for release and finally integrated into the system for which it was designed. At this point it is important that the employees of the company which commissioned this new software program be trained and familiarised with the program and its uses.

The commercial software developers' involvement does not cease then however. Despite the earlier rigorous testing, having installed and run the new software, there may still be the requirements for trouble shooting. Unexpected problems may come to light which will need correcting or additional functions may be requested by the client. This will require amendments to the program in order that it will perform in the client's best interests.

This is all a real service to businesses everywhere. Of course, mass produced programs and software are readily available on the open market to offer thousands upon thousand of different functions to be performed by computers, but they are for general and broad based tasks. No one will mass produce programs which cover every eventuality, even if they could all be envisaged.

Many companies have individual and specialised requirements that will never be covered by the mass production of software. This is when they need to seek out those skilled in custom software development. These are the people who can give that personal touch to a computer program and provide a piece of software which will suit the individuality of that company. They are the skilled technicians who will evaluate the needs and provide the solution to each and every specialised requirement. They are helping the wheels of business to turn more smoothly.
Jonathan Tabard is a software solutions expert, specialising in custom software development and advises commercial software developers.


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