5 Cases Where Custom Software Is The Better Choice for Government Agencies

While commercial off-the-shelf software can be an affordable solution for solving simple problems, few of the challenges government agencies face can be classified as simple. The complexity of the regulatory environment, data architecture, and interoperability make custom software solutions a more effective choice for government agencies.

When you must comply with a complex regulatory environment

In his 2017 testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, James “Bo” Reese said, “State CIOs invest an inordinate amount of time identifying duplicative regulatory mandates or their differences, participating in federal audits, and responding to inconsistent audit findings. These challenges in and of themselves are not unmanageable; the real issue is that they can and have impeded efforts of state CIOs to introduce efficiencies and generate savings for taxpayers.”

State and local agencies are burdened by complex and often redundant federal security regulations. State CIOs must comply with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 1075, FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Security Policy (FBI-CJIS), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to name just a few.

Custom software can be built to streamline these efforts through tailored algorithms that ensure compliance with the requirements of all regulatory agencies. By automating compliance, state CIOs win back efficiencies and cost savings.

When you want to streamline operations

Commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) is designed to offer the greatest amount of functionality to the largest number of users for the least amount of money. The generic nature of this software requires users to either compromise on their requirements, complicate their systems with add-ons and fixes, or reorganize their processes to fit within the parameters of the software. Along the way, the cost-effectiveness of the COTS is lost and few advantages are gained.

When agencies invest in custom software, developers are able to build a precision instrument that meets all requirements without the bloat of extraneous code. In many cases, the mere act of describing the requirements helps agencies refine their processes, creating improved efficiencies. In this way, building custom software not only facilitates technical effectiveness but also organizational proficiency.

When you must coordinate data among several agencies

To function efficiently, government agencies must be able to coordinate with one another, yet off-the-shelf software and legacy platforms can impede coordination. Different agencies and offices may rely on different software, creating integration issues. The need for various user security permissions can create complications and security risks for generic software platforms.

When the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office came to Antares, they were burdened with outdated technology that sabotages collaboration and inter-agency data management. To modernize and streamline collaboration, the Antares team created a web-based application and supporting database accessible from the Sheriff’s internal network and capable of operating in three departments: bailiffs, jail and work release.

This custom solution empowered key users to collaborate more effectively. With the new software, trusted users across the three departments can easily create and supplement log book entries, search the log book, generate reports, and manage administrative functions. User security levels, easy data entry screens and specific reporting functionality further enhance operations.

When you need to preserve workflow compatibility

Commercial off-the-shelf software isn’t built with your agency’s requirements in mind, so it may require your office to change the way it operates, creating resistance and frustration among personnel. In other cases, it’s necessary to entirely reconfigure commercial software to be compatible with an existing workflow, which renders software vulnerable to security risks when updates are issued.

Custom software allows agencies to engineer a solution that fits their processes and requirements perfectly, preserving workflow compatibility and streamlining operations. No compromises are necessary, ensuring a secure working environment even as the digital landscape changes.

When you need to respond swiftly to changing circumstances

It’s no exaggeration to say that every department in modern government is a tech department. Every employee is, to a greater or lesser degree, a member of IT. Technology is used at every level of government to expedite administrative tasks, and all of these tasks, tools, and technicians are subject to the constantly shifting landscape of technology – from secretaries to senators.

Requirements are in a state of perpetual evolution as new technologies change the way government agencies address responsibilities. Cumbersome commercial software is ill-equipped to adapt and adjust to these changes with agility.

Software is constantly being updated, and those continuous changes can create a challenge for agencies relying on commercial off-the-shelf software. Carefully-conducted adaptations are quickly undermined by one update to the software.

Using agile methodology, Antares creates custom software solutions that empower government agencies to remain responsive to changing circumstances. Our extensive experience with a diverse operating environments and business sectors equips us to build the most appropriate information technology solutions for your needs. Antares has a proven track record of developing custom software solutions for corporate, industrial, small business and government clients. Contact our technical team today to learn more about how Antares can help you.