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Bespoke software, also referred to as custom software in some cases, is an application or software suite that is designed and created specifically to address the requirements of a company, organization, or an individual end user. The level of customization applied to these bespoke software packages distinguishes them from general, commercially available software packages. A bespoke software developer is the team or individual tasked with the creation of these custom software applications.
As part of an existing software development company or as an individual contractor, bespoke software developers are expected to familiarize themselves with the operational style of the end user or organization. As there will generally only be a single client for whom the software is being developed, there will be several development stages that the bespoke software developer needs to meet. Once each stage of development has been completed, tested, and analyzed for required improvements, the next phase of development can commence.
A request to develop bespoke software is most commonly be received from larger organizations, where custom software is used to manage operational, inventory, resource, and financial processes as required. As the software is developed, a bespoke software developer needs to be prepared to incorporate changes to the original design brief. Commencing development from a blank canvas and adapting the package to address issues often make custom software development a more focused process than that involved in traditional software package creation.
The requirement for custom software often stems from a lack of a suitable existing commercial software package to meet the needs of the end user. In this case, a bespoke software developer is often expected to innovate, covering new ground in a software sense to ensure that the set requirements for the package are achieved. Clients also look to the developer for advice as to how best to achieve their aims in the software package. It is in this area that the developer needs to understand the operational working practices of the end user.
Specific functionality requirements occasionally only become apparent as the software package is being used. When this happens, the developer must be in a position to readdress the created software to carry out any required amendments. In this area, the role of a bespoke software developer differs from a more traditional software development position. The fluid nature of the creation process and ongoing improvements to meet specific client needs rather than generalized improvements, or patches, to correct program errors lend bespoke development a far more involved and personal feel.
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