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Custom SYSTEMS & BESPOKE Database Development

If your current data management systems and processes are causing stress then you have come to the right place. We specialise in:

  • Bespoke and tailored database design & custom systems development
  • Migration from Access databases/Excel spreadsheets
  • Web apps
  • Mobile apps
  • Software systems analysis
  • Information architecture design, data management & systems integration
  • Data workflow architecture
  • Advanced data reporting (output in various formats)
  • PHP, Oracle, SOAP, SuiteCRM, Angular, Linux, MariaDB, Ajax & XML coding
  • CRM, CMS and eCommerce Integration
  • Cloud data storage options
  • Disaster recovery strategy & deployment

What is custom software development? Bespoke software development is a custom, tailor-made solution that meets the specific needs of a client, and in many cases, it can more than pay for itself in the short term without the need for recurring and expensive software licensing fees.

Each organisation is different and will therefore have different data processes and reporting requirements. In comparison with outdated legacy systems, custom software is purposefully designed to work efficiently and effectively with your requirements compared with an off-the-shelf software solution. When it comes to hosting and backup/disaster recovery protocols for your custom database, we will always recommend appropriate solutions that fit your current infrastructure and processes.

Bespoke Software vs Off the Shelf Software


The cost of bespoke software is much less than you may think compared to off-the-shelf databases like Access. Initially, some off-the-shelf solutions may appear to be cheaper, however, they do not offer the flexibility to customise them to your exact data processing needs. The reality is that it will potentially cost a lot more to customise an off-the-shelf system which may still not be fully fit for purpose despite the extra costs compared to what bespoke software development offers.

There are other benefits too. A bespoke software solution will be much easier to maintain and keep in line with any changes to current or future business processes, compared to off-the-shelf software which will incur licensing fees and hefty customisation costs as your processes change and expand. Moving from a paper-based/spreadsheet-based system may sound daunting but we are here to explain everything involved in the migration and will assist in every stage to make the transition as seamless as possible for you and your team.

Our Custom Applications


We have worked on many bespoke systems development projects for over 23 years. During this time we have seen vast changes in software architecture, cloud data storage and database capabilities across different platforms and devices including mobile apps. Custom systems development is much more robust when it comes to scalability and future-proofing your database systems.

We develop applications using our very own custom-coded development platform using the very latest PHP coding practices that provide the customisation features and flexibility required to build clients robust, secure, and modern database and mobile applications with real-time reporting and advanced data analysis and reporting tools.

The Development Process

Step 1: Identify current issues and data/process blockages
Numerous spreadsheets shared across staff, repetitive manual paper/email processes, data capture errors, process repetition, duplication of data capture, existing outdated systems causing low staff morale etc. We will work with you to identify your requirements through continual discussions, workshops/business process analysis with key team members and personnel.

Step 2: Creation of technical specification
Creation and distribution of bespoke technical specifications to the project team, including disaster recovery processes and protocols. Sign off of specifications and timescales by the client.

Step 3: Systems development and launch
Development of the custom-coded bespoke database system, the phased release of modules to the project team for testing, and final signoff upon completion.

We are here to help your business move forward

We are based in Grantham, Lincolnshire, UK, but distance is not an issue for us as we have clients all across England and Scotland, and we have also worked with several international clients, so time zones are not a problem for us either. Our core areas of expertise are in:

  • Bespoke database design & custom systems development
  • Web apps
  • Mobile apps
  • Software systems analysis
  • Information architecture design, data management & systems integration
  • Data workflow architecture
  • Advanced data reporting (output in various formats)
  • PHP, Oracle, Linux, Angular, MariaDB, SOAP, SugarCRM, SuiteCRM, Ajax & XML coding
  • CMS and eCommerce Integration
  • Cloud data storage options
  • Disaster recovery strategy & deployment

Examples of our Custom Systems Applications

Client: Working Options in Education

Nature of work: Customised Customer Relationship Management System

Working Options is a charitable organisation that organises and host a series of various workshops for young people (14-18) to help prepare them for entrance into the workplace. This involves having regular (and recurring) events at schools and colleges, that they were managing with a series of spreadsheets, PowerPoint documents and numerous hours of manual calculation. To complicate matters even further all of their staff were home-based and therefore they had no office within which to place a more traditional solution (an access database that they had been offered elsewhere).

After a series of meetings with staff, we implemented the installation of SuiteCRM for them, with a number of bespoke modules to take away the pain of manual processing. Hosting it on our secure server network means that they can access the system from wherever they are. Based on this we configured and customised the software for our client to include:

  • A central and bespoke database of Schools, Colleges and partners;
  • A central database of contacts at the above institutions;
  • Workflow process to remind staff of key tasks (due to schedule next event, tasks for in-progress events etc.);
  • Expanded events details to track specific key tasks and indicators around the events;
  • An additional module to store and process event feedback data;
  • An additional module to auto-generate pre-event worksheets for attendees;
  • An additional module to auto-generate post-event PowerPoint documents sent out to institutions and volunteers;
  • Various reports built either in the standard reporting tool or as a custom dashlet;
  • Implementation of Google Maps Integration to allow easy viewing of volunteers near to events.

SuiteCRM is an open-source and highly customisable Customer Relationship Management system. It allows you to create simple client records, up to workflow-driven custom database systems. It has a healthy community and client base with a series of commercial modules that allow you to integrate with the major online services that businesses require.

“Would highly recommend working with IceStar Media. Mark is reliable, friendly and professional and works with people with little IT knowledge and experience really well! Mark has been brilliant to work with on setting up and maintaining our CRM system.”

Lauren Monk: Working Options

Client: SBD Automotive

Custom databases

Nature of work: Bespoke Database Development

SBD (Secure By Design) is a world-leading knowledge partner to the global automotive industry, providing actionable insight and strategic support in the development of more connected, safe and secure vehicles. From tracking industry trends to strategic support for product development, SBD has nearly 20 years of experience working with world-class companies in the automotive and associated industries.

We built SBD a bespoke CRM system to not only store and manage their data but enable the re-use of all of their research data.  This bespoke database provides the ability for SBD to create, generate and update the reports that get provided to their customers, utilising the research data stored within.

“I had the pleasure of working with IceStar Media and Mark Bond in particular on an extended and complex database project for an SME in the UK. As is often the case with such projects there were a number of twists and turns but IceStar’s unerring commitment and focus ensured everything remained on track and on time. I consider myself to have a reasonably strong technical understanding but I am not a coder and therefore always appreciated Mark’s patient and readily comprehensible explanations about certain in-depth concepts that I found hard to grasp initially. What I also appreciated and something that was particularly valuable to our project, the development of a brand new product, was that Mark was always willing to take on board outside-the-box suggestions to newly discovered obstacles or challenges and after mixing them with his considerable knowledge and experience would often generate innovative and elegant solutions that not only solved the original problem but also offered other bonus benefits to the product as a whole as well. In terms of general professionalism like turning up on time for meetings or being available on Skype for support or progress updates (unfortunately, not something that can be taken for granted) IceStar were beyond reproach. Whether you are based in the UK, New Zealand or anywhere in between, I wholeheartedly recommend IceStar Media for your next software development project.”

Hugh Howard: SBD

Client: Deep Water Blue Ltd.

Deep Water Blue

Nature of work: Bespoke Database Application & Web App

As specialist steam consultants, Deep Water Blue commissioned us to develop a web portal (vSteam), a unique data management and maintenance program built upon our core development system, developed in-house by our development team. The web portal allows Deep Water Blue’s engineers to record how and when “actions” have been taken to improve system performance and control risk.  

Originally developed for use with steam systems the vSteam® system now extends to any type of water treatment system from Cooling Towers to heating systems and chilled water. It can further be adapted to meet the requirements of any water-based system requiring data capture, collation and interpretation.

It is a trademarked and unique, easy-to-use training systeminteractive control panel and log-book that:

  • Saves time
  • Clearly identifies actions using Deep Water Blue’s ColourCode© system
  • Allows shared access for comments and technical support
  • Offers “level one” technical support by interactive dialogue boxes
  • Allows recording of not only test results but also photographic records, scans, sound files and basically any type of system file relevant to water treatment control
  • Allows engineer worksheets to be created and printed off, to be taken to the point of use and then returned to the person in charge, once the job has been completed
  • Allows compliance with HSG274/INDG436 and BG04
  • Makes things easy!

With the vSteam®application, engineers enter data into pre-designed forms, ensuring their records remain up-to-date. All users enabled by the client on the system are then notified of any data added or comments made on that data or the system performance in general. Engineers can download reports and graphs to show trends in performance. Issues are highlighted automatically in red or amber, with recommendations for remedial action. Once the action has taken place, this is also recorded in the log and enabled users are immediately notified, keeping all key personnel right up to date.

Client: Prospects Learning Services Ltd.

Nature of work: Bespoke Database Application (School Inspection Reporting System) & IT Consultancy

We were commissioned to work with one of the UK's leading School Inspection providers to discuss the development of a bespoke online school inspection and data management system. The project brief focused on the capture, tracking and reporting of data collected during the various stages of the school inspection cycle. During the initial fact-finding and planning phases of the project, we worked closely with the senior management team in order to understand their business, document all of their requirements and understand their internal processes. We then prepared a detailed project plan outlining all expected outcomes, costs, deliverables, user training and system support. Built on our core Osiris platform, the bespoke database management system was developed and built over a 12-month period with regular meetings and remote discussions taking place to ensure the project was on schedule, to specification and to budget.

The inspection management system increased the efficiency of the entire inspection management process and reduced the massive amounts of manual administration required to manage the previous paper-based legacy system. On-going process improvements included access to remote users throughout the United Kingdom, disaster recovery processes, system backup procedures, security protocols, user authentication for remote access and time-saving solutions and functionality to further improve the efficiency of other business-critical areas of the organisation. Project managed from start to finish, the bespoke inspection management system was accessed daily by hundreds of School inspectors and education consultants throughout the South East of England.  The cutting-edge system supplied daily data feeds to the Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) central database and significantly improved the efficiency of the company's data capture, retrieval, storage and synchronization.

 “IceStar Media devised a superb system that underpinned the efficient and effective administration of a large amount of data, as well as communications, among staff that needed to access it at different levels.”

K Beck: Prospects

Complete Peace of Mind

We work with all types of small and medium-sized businesses, from accountants, financial advisors, waste water treatment specialists, training providers, to charities, estate agents, clothes shops, gift shops, florists, pet shops, schools, and education centres.

1
Free Consultation
We do not charge for consultation meetings and we will happily review your project requirements for free and we won't bamboozle you with jargon.
2
Tailored Quotes
Each business is different and will naturally have a different set of requirements. We will provide you with a clear and transparent breakdown of costs and we offer flexible monthly payment plans to spread the cost of your custom solution.
3
Complete Package
From fact finding meetings to compiling system specifications, research into your business processes, domain name and hosting management and on-going maintenance and support, we will take care of everything for you under one roof.
4
Let's Go!
As soon as your system specification, timescales and costs have been approved and signed off, work will commence. We are very efficient and will keep you regularly updated on the progress of your system and provide access to a live demo system.

Why Choose IceStar Media?

We will make your website and online systems “do more” and we are committed to doing much more to achieve the best results for our clients. Read all of our 5 star reviews on TrustPilot.