What is custom software development?
Custom software development involves designing and building a software application tailored to a business’s specific needs or preferences. Typically, these solutions are designed to fill a company’s needs or solve a problem they are experiencing that off-the-shelf solutions can’t address.
Every aspect of the new software can be customized, from the design and security measures to the features and integrations included, until it meets all business-specific requirements and needs. Going custom also has the advantage that the software can be scaled up as your company is growing.
Why might you need custom software for renewable energy management?
Thanks to the growing popularity of energy management platforms and renewable energy software, there are dozens of ready-made applications available for the energy industry. Monitoring the renewable energy plants, planning maintenance, keeping an eye on the energy storages – there’s a tool for basically every task.
The problem starts when your team uses too many applications a day though. For example, an analysis by Harvard Business Review found that just for a single supply-chain transaction, one of the Fortune 500 consumer goods companies needed to switch between 22 different applications and websites. That’s not exactly convenient or efficient, is it?
Given how hard it is to find one application that has all the features you need, it’s no wonder employees switch between apps so much. It’s even harder to find a tool that would have very specific features or is unique to your company’s needs.
Add to this the lack of personalization options, questions about security, and frequent problems with “outgrowing” third-party tools and it’s clear that sometimes, commercial tools are more of a hindrance than help.
To solve those problems and get a software solution that is made only for them, many companies opt to get custom software instead.
Top benefits of custom software solutions for energy management
Custom solutions are unfortunately well-known for being pricey. As the software is made from scratch and all parts need to be tailored to specific requirements, developing one takes time and skills. However, getting such software can bring numerous benefits to your renewable energy business making it well worth the investment.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest advantages.
The main difference between commercial and custom solutions is that custom ones are developed based on what your company needs – and no one else. After analyzing your infrastructure, goals for energy management, and the issues you want to solve with custom solutions, developers can design an energy management system that will fit all your expectations.
For example, let’s say you want to be able to monitor all of your solar panels’ efficiency and energy storage systems as well. The thing is, they are spread across several different locations. With commercial solutions, managing all of them could be pretty difficult to do. With bespoke development though, you could get software that will both allow you to manage all of your current renewable energy assets and let you add any new ones to the tool.
Because custom software solutions are quite expensive, you might think it will be better to stay using third-party tools after all. What might surprise you though is that custom-made software pays for itself quite quickly though – and in the long run, they often turn out to be much cheaper than commercial solutions.
First of all, having custom-fit software allows you to be more efficient. You don’t have to use several different applications (each with its own price tag) just to have all the needed features. Instead, you have exactly the features you need inside one software. Having the business data in one place and not several also makes comparing the data and making decisions on how to grow your business much easier.
And while we are on the topic of growing your business – having software that can “grow” together with your company will also be a massive advantage. For example, when using off-the-shelf applications, it might happen that you will “outgrow” the software. Then, you either have to look for new software or keep using an outdated system that no longer fits your strategy. That’s neither convenient nor efficient.
Meanwhile, custom software is designed with the future in mind. Whenever you need, you can add any new features, integrations, or capabilities to the software to ensure it keeps being an asset for your team.
3. Easy integration
Another problem that comes with using third-party software is the limited number of available integrations. To use renewable energy management software with your current business systems, you’ll need to find energy software that is compatible with those. Most commercial energy systems only have direct integration for the most popular business tools though.
What if yours aren’t on the supported list, or there’s only one out of dozen tools you use?
Reaching out to a custom software development team can solve this problem for you as well. Software development companies start by determining what integrations and infrastructure you need and then they can design software that will be seamlessly integrated with your existing processes. That way, you and your staff won’t have to replace parts of infrastructure or remake your workflows just so the new software can work well. Instead, you’ll get software that fits your current tech stack perfectly and is ready to use right after installation.
4. Enhanced data management
Energy software solutions are a treasure trove of information about your business performance, equipment status, customer needs, and any issues you should address. If you are using ten or more applications every day, though, then comparing and analyzing the data for insights can be a nearly impossible thing to do.
Custom software can make this task far easier. It will automatically gather and update data coming from multiple places, organize it for you and then present the results on the dashboard. In addition, if you need any unique data management or analytical features included, then the development team can build and implement those for you as well.
This way, rather than spend hours analyzing the performance metrics, you will just need a glance at the analytical dashboard, and you’ll know everything you need. This can tremendously help you with decision-making and improve your company’s overall performance and reliability.
5. Increased security
Given how many cyberattacks happen each day, software security should be an absolute priority for you, especially since you are most likely storing plenty of sensitive data in your company. You simply can’t risk a data breach, as it can negatively impact your business performance, reputation and revenue as well.
The more applications you use in your organization, the harder it may be to ensure that your customer and employee data is secure though as the data is spread across multiple places.
When you choose a custom software solution, the development team will analyze your existing infrastructure and look for any potential security vulnerabilities. Then, they will select the best data protection protocols and technologies that can secure the software and data inside it. If you need any advanced security measures or want the software to be compliant with any energy industry standards or regulations, then going with a custom solution is usually the best choice as well.
6. Increased reliability
Last but not least, custom software can also boost your energy operations reliability in a few ways. The first one is that the software can monitor all of your renewable energy plants and infrastructure 24/7 and then alert you whenever they notice anything suspicious. That way, you can find out immediately whenever one of your equipment malfunctions – and resolve the problem before it causes downtime.
You can also use the custom software to track and manage maintenance needs, so your maintenance team knows which equipment requires their attention first and which is just fine. In this way, the software can prevent unplanned downtime and ensure optimal equipment performance at all times. To further enhance your equipment’s reliability, developers can also include features such as built-in redundancies in your new software.
Drawbacks of custom software development
We wouldn’t be honest here if we didn’t also mention the disadvantages of custom software development. Although there aren’t many, knowing what you need to be prepared for can help you decide whether custom development is for you or not really.
1. Custom development takes time
As we mentioned earlier, custom software development is unfortunately a pretty lengthy process. First, you will need to meet with the development team a few times so they can learn more about your goals and expectations for the new product. Preparing the custom software designs, wireframes, and an MVP version will also take some time (though at Codibly, we can boast that we can prepare a ready MVP in just three months).
The actual development and testing stage will only start once the developers finish the previous stage – and it might take even several months before you get a ready product. So if you are in a hurry, then custom development might not be the best option – simply because it takes time.
2. Custom software is expensive
Custom software solutions can get pretty expensive, that’s true. The price will depend on the size of your project, its requirements, technologies, and the size of the development team you need for the project. Plus, you’ll also have to add the cost of regular maintenance, updates, and eventual issues. Experienced development companies do know a few clever ways how to cut project costs to make it more budget-friendly, though.
So even if you are on a tight budget, they should be able to figure out a way in which you can get customized software that fits your business needs.
How can Codibly help with custom software development?
Having specialized software that will help you keep an eye on your equipment and make smarter business decisions could be a game changer for your renewable energy business. However, building such software requires a lot of renewable energy industry know-how, as well as excellent programming skills.
At Codibly, designing tailor-made platforms for the renewable energy industry is one of our specialties though, whether there’s a need for a wind farm management software or a Demand Response program, such as the one we created for Kiwi Power.
The company needed a custom software that would aggregate shared individual power reserves within the Demand Response program, smoothly connect with various individual energy systems and also be able to monitor how much energy is added to the grid. For those tasks, we created Kiwi’s Operations Management Platform that combines an operation center for management teams, demand response, a battery management system, and smart metering. The platform enabled Kiwi Power to become an international DR aggregator by allowing them to connect energy utilities from France, Germany, and Switzerland to their system while their customers can easily send surplus energy to the grid.
In the same way we helped Kiwi Power, we can help your business as well – so feel free to send us your brief if you have an idea for a custom software solution.
Let’s work together to turn your idea into a full-fledged product.
Getting a custom-made software solution for your brand is like getting tailored clothes. The software will cost you a bit more, but you’ll get software that looks, works, and feels exactly how you want it and helps you solve your unique problems. In addition, if you added together the subscription fees for each of the dozen tools you are using, the total cost would probably be pretty close to that of custom software.
So why spend money on several tools just to have the features you need if you could have all of them in one, perfectly fitted software? Of course, it will take some time for it to be built, but once you start using it, we bet you’ll quickly notice how much more effective your company has become.