Individual software is tailored to the specific requirements of a customer or a narrow customer base. The development of an individual program is required if no standard program is available for the data processing of the task. The emergence of an individual software solution regularly results from an order relationship, unless sound programming knowledge is available to the user. The program is coordinated according to the specifications of the client to its operational conditions and does not pursue the goal of universal usability. In many cases, the software manufacturer is also explicitly prohibited from using the individually developed software for other projects or customers. When acquiring individual software,
the source code is generally also made available to the user so that changes or adjustments to the applications can be made.
Delineation problems between standard and individual software occur in particular with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.
which is structured in a mod- erately modular way and handles integrated information processing for the entire company. The usually very extensive adaptation work of the ERP software to the company-specific circumstances speak for a classification as individual software. However, the user of ERP software is only in exceptional cases (one to three percent of cases) transferred the source code. In practice, there has been a tendency since the mid-1980s for large companies to acquire and customize standard software to reduce development risks. In addition to the conventional development of company-specific EDP solutions, the group of individual software may also include Internet sites in the form of websites which the user uses as an
internal (intranet) or external (extranet) information platform. The peculiarities of an Internet presence as a manifestation of the individual software are discussed separately below.
Internet appearance as a special manifestation of the individual software The Internet has become a significant factor in the economic development in the nineties and is now considered in the operational planning of almost every company. The website describes the entirety of the Internet presence of a company, which consists of individual websites zusammen. In this process, the websites of companies develop from originally pure information transfer to marketing and sales instruments that are often very
elaborately constructed. Correspondingly high costs arise in connection with the creation of a contemporary internal presence. The assignment to the individual software is obvious, since the nature of an Internet presence describes the individual representation of a company on the World Wide Web and the corresponding information transfer is based on software. The classification of websites under electronic data collections, which are classified as material objects, is in any case inadequate: The internal appearance of a company usually has a complex internal structure, numerous design elements and dynamic content, which preclude an equation with mere data collections.
Also, the combination of an Internet presence with the web server, which serves as the material basis of the intangible content, no classification can be derived as a material object, since the server as a hardware test share represents an independent valuation unit. The classification of a website as a material object is therefore not considered. However, this does not automatically lead to the assignment of Internet pages to software, since an Internet presence often presents artistic or creative content that uses only a data technology infrastructure. Another argument in favor of such an assignment is that websites generally do not have the functionality and problem orientation inherent in conventional application software. As a result, it can be stated that Internet presences constitute an intangible good, but that they have an independent character with regard to their functions and development, which can at best be counted as software in the broader sense.
Special features of software development In addition to the variety of manifestations, the way in which they are created is of particular importance for the accounting treatment of software. In particular, the
typical development risks, the typical cost trend and the duration of development play a central role.
Software development (also known as software engineering) describes the means and methods for engineer- ing software. The development process of software is outlined in the literature with the aid of models. Two ideal models of software development, the software life cycle model and the spiral model, have become established.