Considering custom software development?

Start by understanding what type of custom software you want.

Knowing your options will help you brainstorm, plan your app, and get more accurate estimates from development agencies.

We’ll first share some advice on starting a custom web app development project, then list the top 22 types of custom software.

How Devize develops custom software 3x-5x faster

At Devize, we can develop custom software in weeks—not months.

We use a modern no-code platform to speed up development times, automating the repetitive tasks that keep other agencies spinning their wheels.

And we have a lean team that focuses just on building the core features you need.

The result?

A shortened custom software timeframe that lets you launch faster.

Best practices for custom software development

Before looking for a custom software development company, here’s what you should do:

Choose your features. Decide the most important features for your app. What matters most, and which are your biggest priorities?

Decide the level of complexity. There are several tiers for custom software. A minimum viable product (MVP) includes the bare minimum features. Enterprise software solutions (ESS) include much more complexity, designed for a major enterprise. And a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application will include all these features, plus functionality for billing and more.

Define your budget. The average custom software cost ranges from $50,000-$350,000. (Though at Devize, we can usually build those same projects for $15,000-$20,000.) Decide what your budget is before you start reaching out to companies.

Plan your platforms. Decide where you want your software to run.  Web apps—our preferred choice at Devize—work on all internet-connected devices, but it’s not the only option. You can also develop mobile applications, for devices running iOS or Android, or desktop applications, for Microsoft Windows or Apple macOS.

Pros and cons of custom software vs. off-the-shelf software

There are distinct differences between custom software and off-the-shelf solutions.

Custom software


  • Meets your specifications exactly

  • Can include features you won’t find with off-the-shelf options

  • Integrates seamlessly with your data sources


  • Higher upfront cost

  • Can be slow to develop

  • Maintenance may be difficult

Off-the-shelf software


  • Ready to go immediately

  • Lower upfront costs

  • Hosting, updates, and maintenance is handled for you


  • May be missing key features you need

  • Not tailored to your brand

  • Can look generic

  • May not integrate with key data or applications

1. Client portals and dashboards

Custom portals are one of the most common use cases for custom software. It’s one of the simplest ways to create a competitive advantage and gives an intuitive, branded way to present your internal data to stakeholders.

Possible features:

  • Personalized dashboard. Craft a customer experience designed to your specific needs, not a generic template.

  • Integrated communication channels. Include all your communication channels in a single place.

  • Advanced security protocols. Build in security rules designed to protect clients and yourself.

Industries: Education, financial services, real estate, human resources, non-profit

2. eCommerce software

Custom ecommerce software will let you set up an online store that follows your unique business requirements exactly. This is especially valuable if you’re selling one-of-a-kind products or want your store to stand out from generic eCommerce platforms like Shopify or Magento.

Possible features:

  • Custom product types. Create any type of product you like, with as much customization as you need.

  • Complete integrations. Seamlessly connect to other data, like customer information or inventory.

  • AI product recommendations. Leverage AI and internal data to supercharge product recommendations.

Industries: Retail, fashion and apparel, electronics, health and beauty, books and media

3. Enterprise resource planning (ERP)

A custom ERP system can help you better plan and manage your business processes, bringing down costs and improving your efficiency forecasting.

Possible features:

  • Advanced analytics. Get detailed metrics and forecasts based on proprietary data.

  • Custom business modules. Connect the most important workflows across all departments in your business.

  • Integrations with existing systems. Integrate ERP software with your most important data sources, even ones off-the-shelf software don’t support.

Industries: Manufacturing, distribution, logistics, retail

4. Content management system (CMS)

A custom content management system lets you manage, publish, and distribute content in unique ways. A custom software solution can include features major platforms like WordPress or Joomla won’t prioritize.

Possible features:

  • Extra extensibility. Leverage advanced integrations, unique data sources, and custom plugins.

  • Customizable content types. Don’t limit yourself to just blog posts or press releases. Include any type of content you want.

  • Workflow management. Keep up with planning, editing, and publishing in the same single platform.

Industries: Publishing, marketing, education, technical documentation

5. Project management software

Custom project management software can help you finish on time and under budget. Build workflows, assign roles, and create automations for your specific needs.

Possible features:

  • Automation for common workflows. Eliminate busywork by using AI automations for your most common tasks.

  • Advanced scalability. Overcome the limits of off-the-shelf solutions with features that help you scale.

  • Custom roles and permissions. Create granular permissions that perfectly match the roles in your organization.

Industries: Consulting, engineering, marketing, software and product development, event management

6. Messaging and communications software

A bespoke messaging or forum software product can help your team connect—whether across the office or across the world. Share data between team members or with outside clients and stakeholders.

Possible features:

  • Embedded media. Sync up the other platforms you use to let employees share audio, screen grabs, or live meetings.

  • Custom content moderation. Embed rules about what can and can’t be shared based on employee requirements.

  • Regulatory compliance. Abide by any legal requirements for your industry, from HIPAA to ISO 27001.

Industries: Healthcare, education, non-profits, remote teams

7. Customer relationship management (CRM)

Custom CRM software lets you personalized interactions based on specific business needs. You can engage customers in the way you want, outside the restrictions of generic off-the-shelf software.

Possible features:

  • Custom data fields. Collect and record the data that matters most to your business.

  • Workflow automation. Automate the tedious manual processes that you use in your business.

  • Tailored metrics. Build custom analytics models with forecasting built on your in-house knowledge.

Industries: B2B sales, real estate, financial services, nonprofits

8. Order management software (OMS)

Order management software can better help you accept, process, and fulfill customer orders. A custom software application can be tailored to meet the unique needs of your business and industry.

Possible features:

  • Dynamic pricing. Customize the pricing engine based on real-time factors like inventory levels and customer segmentation.

  • Integrated CRM. Improve order personalization by storing customer information in the same platform.

  • Third-party logistics (3PL) integration. Include custom integrations with 3PL providers.

Industries: Apparel and fashion, event planning, building materials, sporting goods

9. Supply chain management software

Deploying custom supply chain management software can help you streamline processes across your organization. Implementing modern predictive AI can help you mitigate risks.

Possible features:

  • Supplier performance tracking. Measure supplier performance based on delivery time, quality, responsiveness, and more.

  • IoT integrations. Build custom Internet of Things (IoT) integrations into the platform itself.

  • Demand forecasting. Use machine learning to predict and model demand and allocate resources accordingly.

Industries: Manufacturing, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, home goods, FMCG

10. Property management software (PMS)

Property management software is a common type of custom software development. Property managers can create portals that meet the precise needs of their ideal customers and better integrate with internal systems.

Possible features:

  • Tenant portals. Build custom portals for tenants to access payments, contracts, and pending requests.

  • Listing platform integration. Connect with major platforms like Zillow or

  • Automate maintenance workflows. Build custom engines to handle the busywork of managing maintenance requests.

Industries: Real estate, hospitality, HOAs, student housing, retail space management, senior living

11. Human resources management (HRM)

HR management software creates a single source of truth for your employee data. Custom application development can build other features that make your employee portals or backend data even more powerful and easy to use.

Possible features:

  • Internationalization. Abide by local laws across all the regions you have employees.

  • Integration with learning management systems (LMS). Provide training courses, certifications, and more directly in your HR software.

  • Automated employee onboarding. Set up employees seamlessly into your company, eliminating manual onboarding work.

Industries: Corporate, small businesses, remote teams, international teams

12. Operations management software

Custom operations management software can help you streamline operations and improve efficiency by integrating with your most important data sets and optimizing tasks based on your unique needs.

Possible features:

  • Regulatory compliance. Tailor all features to the regulatory environments that apply to your specific business.

  • Improved user experience. Make the most important features more user-friendly than any off-the-shelf solution, improving adoption rates and productivity.

  • Advanced automations. Customize automations to your business operations and improve efficiency.

Industries: Manufacturing, construction, healthcare, logistics, IT services

13. Financial management software

Custom finance software can help integrate accounting, billing, and invoicing in a single place that plays nice with the internal data that’s most important to you.

Possible features:

  • Multi-currency support. Manage several currencies across regions with custom exchange rates.

  • Precise tax calculation rules. Automate tax calculations based on jurisdictions, rates, exemptions, deductions, and more.

  • Advanced cost allocation. Improve expense allocation across departments for better accuracy and decision-making.

Industries: Professional services, small business, local utilities, SaaS

14. Business intelligence (BI) software

Custom BI software provides unique features you won’t find in an off-the-shelf product. Because the entire interface can be tailored to your business, you’ll gain better insights—even with the same data.

Possible features:

  • Customizable data visualization. Let users create custom dashboards built to their specific needs.

  • Tailored machine learning. Implement specialized machine learning algorithms for a domain, like churn prediction or anomaly detection.

  • ETL integrations. Combine data from Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) processes to seamlessly integrate from multiple sources.

Industries: Retail, finance and banking, education, government, energy and utilities

15. Customer service platforms

Your customer service platform can have the biggest impact on your company’s overall customer experience. Custom software development services can let you tailor each step to the experience you’d like to provide.

Possible features:

  • Customizable ticketing system. Tailor tickets, workflows, and automation rules to your business needs.

  • Integrate all communication channels. Combine all communication channels into a single place and improve efficiency.

  • Personalized customer profiles. Share customer information with reps during each conversation.

Industries: Technology, eCommerce, telecommunications, government and public sector, banking, IT

16. Marketing automation software

Many of the key tasks in marketing are easy to automate—if you have the right data. A custom implementation of marketing automation can integrate your most important customer data.

Possible features:

  • Lead scoring models. Deploy custom lead scoring models based on your ideal customer personas.

  • Dynamic content personalization. Deliver highly relevant, custom content to each marketing contact.

  • Customize multi-channel campaigns. Track any number of channels within each of your campaigns.

Industries: eCommerce, SaaS, hospitality, travel and tourism, retail, real estate

17. Supply chain management (SCM)

Supply chain management software helps you coordinate the entire supply chain process. Custom solutions can improve efficiency even more by letting you integrate with custom or proprietary data you wouldn’t like to share with third parties.

Possible features:

  • Real-time visibility. Integrate with real-time systems for valuable insights into movement of goods, inventory levels, and more.

  • Optimization algorithms. Use proprietary data to train learning models to optimize reorder points and safety stock policies.

  • IoT integrations. Integrate with Internet of Things (IoT) devices from your storage and providers.

Industries: Manufacturing, retail, automotive, construction, energy and utilities

18. Business process management (BPM)

Business process management is designed to help optimize efficiency. A bespoke solution can improve efficiency even further by letting you customize the entire solution to your exact needs.

Possible features:

  • Tailored user experience. Build intuitive custom portals for any number of roles across your organization.

  • Customizable forms and data fields. Don’t limit yourself to what’s provided off the shelf—include the data types and inputs you need.

  • Unique rules and logic engine. Customize rules to automate the most important parts of your business processes.

Industries: Finance and banking, healthcare, manufacturing, insurance, energy, transportation, logistics

19. Inventory management

Inventory management helps you understand current inventory levels and track movement. With custom software, you can build workflows and machine learning algorithms that optimize based on historical data.

Possible features:

  • Advanced forecasting. Design rules based on your internal datasets to better predict inventory needs across time.

  • Custom costing methods. Calculate the correct value of your inventory based on your unique models and needs.

  • Personalized access controls. Build advanced roles and permissions with as much granularity as you need.

Industries: Retail, wholesale distribution, manufacturing, eCommerce, construction, medical supplies

20. Bug tracking software

Let users report bugs they find in your software product, precisely how you want. Include screenshots of the web page or group bugs by common types of errors and share them with your development team.

Possible features:

  • Project management integration. Keep everything in one place—no need to switch between bug tracking and software management apps.

  • Automate error details. Automatically record additional data like logs, error codes, IP addresses, screenshots, and more.

  • AI grouping. Build AI functionality into your app to group similar problems and save development time.

Industries: Software development, web development, mobile app development

21. Scheduling and appointment software

Scheduling software can be used internally, typically for shift planning; or externally, usually to schedule client services. Custom software provides smart automations and integrates best with internal data.

Possible features:

  • Customizable calendar views. Provide much more detailed calendar views, including color-coding and time zone support.

  • Optimal availability rules. Create any rule you like for availability and implement them across systems.

  • Automatic shift scheduling. Automatically schedule shifts based on patterns, work hours, and staffing requirements.

Industries: Shift work, healthcare, counseling, personal training, tours, consulting

22. Order management software

Order management software helps organizations manage and fulfill orders. Custom features can automate common workflows and ensure each order meets proprietary requirements.

Possible features:

  • Advanced order workflows. Design custom order workflows to automate steps, approvals, and notifications.

  • Tailored pricing and discounts. Enable dynamic pricing based on customer segments, volume, or purchase history.

  • Predictive analytics. Train machine learning models on internal data to predict patterns.

Industries: Retail, eCommerce, wholesale distribution, apparel, manufacturing

How to choose the type of custom software

No matter what features you’re planning for your custom software, it probably fits in one or more of the above categories.

Look for the category with the most overlap with what you’re envisioning, and don’t be afraid to explain you’re looking for something that pulls from more than one category. (For example, “project management software with an integrated CRM.”)

Knowing those details will get you on your way to choosing the right provider.

And if you’re looking for a team that can develop 3x-5x faster than the rest, well—you know how to get in touch.