As a business starts to grow, it’s natural to think of ways to boost processes and productivity, and increase profits. In each aspect of this, tech development plays a major role, thus it comes as no surprise that tech managers have to decide what’s best for their brands; ready-made software or custom software.
Any type of software for an organization, a tailored one from a custom software development company or an off-the-shelf solution they could both accomplish the automation requirements of an organization. A lot of SMEs may be hesitant on making investments in a customized solution and often argue about their needs being limited to demand tailored software. However, the fact is that a customized solution could accomplish benefits much more conveniently, and at the same time, could handle glitches that are bound to surface.
Highlights of Contents
Off-the-Shelf versus Custom Software: Making the Right Business Choice
1. Easier to Implement
By the day, coding is getting easier. The days are gone when programmers spend weeks writing code lines, even in their sleep. Coding at present is even taught in high school, and the open-source proliferation means there are code snippets that are available readily for just about any functionality.
The coding ease however doesn’t mean that development is a piece of cake. It’s but one aspect of the process of development overall. While developing a tailored solution theoretically may seem a manageable and attractive proposition regardless of the high-level skills needed, on the ground, organizations could find such tasks to be a distraction from their main focus.
The organization, with a packaged solution, could learn from others’ mistakes. The main focus of developers of custom software is the software itself, and they integrate agile as well as other best practices. Moreover, they keep abreast of the evolving technology to stay ahead of the game. Buying ready-made software, however, is also not as easy. The process of procurement is elaborate, and the process of the source-to-contract could raise certain issues.
2. The Cost Factor
Typically, an off-the-shelf product would be priced moderately compared to a custom product. A custom product, on the other hand, is developed specifically for a client, and thus, all the costs of development would be borne by that individual client. Hence, when taking into account the costs, it may seem that a ready-made solution is the right way to go.
A lot of organizations underestimate the resources and time required in custom software development. The team of developers should take into account, not only the initial design, test, build, and costs of implementation, but the lifetime cost required for support as well, patches, headcount improvement, and maintenance in general. Even when an organization has the budget for in-house development, they still have to consider the skilled in-house team’s availability, or access to such a team via outsourcing.
3. Deep Customization Need
As a rule of thumb, in-house software development is a good idea if the solution requires comprehensive customization. Companies that look to develop basic and generic solutions to support common functions, such as file sharing, discussion forums, emails, are ‘reinventing the wheel’. It’s not making sense to develop software in-house when giants in the industry, like Microsoft and Google, for instance, offer scalable, secure, and advanced solutions.
Nevertheless, when an off-the-shelf solution isn’t modular or mature enough, it could clog systems with unrequired options even when fitting the needs of the organization well. In these instances, building a tailored software could get rid of excess and ensure a software that’s bloat-free, optimized to the exact business needs.
4. Nature of the Organization
Notwithstanding the technical factors and benefits, the organization’s nature could have big say on whether to go for developing a tailored solution or buying a ready-made software as well. Smaller businesses do not usually have the resources, budget, and time to build tailored software.
As such, off-the-shelf software probably would fit their needs. At the same time, however, the extra investment and effort in the development of a tailored solution could be worth its while, if the business needs to expand its footprints. An off-the-shelf solution is not likely to offer such scalability without duplicating the investment.
Off-the-shelf products update regularly, which may not be all that heavy on the budget. Moreover, if you go for a quality product, you could also enjoy smooth customer support. Nevertheless, there may be times that they may not be updated for a while, due to which you could end up working with outdated products that cause a negative effect on your brand.
With a tailored solution, you have the freedom of making whatever changes you may want, whenever. Always, you are independent when it comes to the decisions you take for your software. You need not wait for new introductions and releases, to add features to your solution.
Whether it’s an update or changes you have to do to include new operations and tasks, you could get them done anytime by experts in custom application development.
6. The Issue You’re Trying to Fix
Determine if the issue you’re trying to fix is common or very unique. If it’s a common scenario, you may have success in using an off-the-shelf software; otherwise, you would likely have a hard time trying to find the right packaged software solution. Almost every organization has something unique, whether it’s the tech stack, processes, and workflows.
If you’re a small store without plenty of moving parts, then an out-of-the-box software probably would cover enough ground to suit your purposes. Nonetheless, as your business scales, you may begin to experience growing pains that will have you looking towards a custom software solution.
Why Opt for Custom Software Development? 10 Key Reasons
The evolving customer needs and preferences, and the emerging markets put pressure on the organizations to take the help of technologies to stay ahead of the competition. Check out the five key reasons why businesses should opt for a custom software solution.
1. Scarcity of Future-Ready Software
As your business grows, investing in an off-the-shelf solution means restricting your growing business to limited functionalities. With a customized solution, you get scalability options, meaning that the capabilities and functions of your software as your business grows and expands.
The market has a big scarcity of future-ready, scalable software products that could be scaled in accordance with the individual requirements of a customer.
2. Lack of Databases and Single Software to Accomplish Business-Critical Tasks
Organizations that use packaged software has the main disadvantage of not doing all the tasks on the same software. They use several kinds of software to do a huge range of tasks that could cause security and engagement issues. The big effect of using different software and databases is that they couldn’t generate insight into the company operations.
3. Personalization Pros
Personalization, the key benefit of investing in proprietary software systems. A reliable custom software developer could create software apps that are specific to the business requirements. The app could be customized strictly to a set of processes adhered to by the enterprise, in which business leaders could be given full access and control.
4. App Security
Cyberspace has a threat environment that’s complex and app security is a huge concern for modern organizations, whatever the size. An internet app is exposed to constant breaches in security. While every organization takes measures of safeguarding their software products from hackers, the present scenario still is worse.
By engaging with a reputable service provider, businesses could take added measures to prevent data from hackers as well as disgruntled staff.
5. Capability for Integration
A custom software development company provides an array of options to integrate various kinds of APIs. Most packaged software solutions aren’t compatible with other programs, and thus integrating another solution to boost its capabilities isn’t possible. It’s for this reason that a lot of organizations opt for custom software apps over ready-made or canned software.
While custom software could mean a big upfront investment, the benefits however are enough to prove that definitely, it’s not a needless requirement. Additionally, it may prove to be an intelligent investment in the long run as it starts reaping benefits. You can for instance save on changing from software to software.
Moreover, you may have to pay hefty monthly or yearly fees to use off-the-shelf software. Consider a scenario where you have no choice but to pay for the features of particular ready-made software that you don’t really need? A custom solution is tailored exclusively for your business requirements, with only the features required so you need not spend unnecessarily.
In the overall software development industry, custom software development services are a prospering segment, and gaining importance globally. Companies, small, medium, and large, and startups as well, are not hesitant on allocating budgets towards it.
7. More Security
Hackers and others with bad intentions target software systems usually, which are being used by a group of companies. Thus, when cybercriminals target commercial software solutions, they would show less interest in targeting custom software that’s exclusively designed for your organization. These custom solutions developed from scratch further are truly hard to infiltrate.
The risks are lowered further if you go for an expert development provider that maintains a good record of secure app development. They know how to add extra security layers via encryption as well as other measures that would be specifically deployed, catering to your business requirements and the required cover of security.
8. Easy Scalability
A major roadblock in using a packaged software effectively is that it couldn’t be scaled in accordance to your needs. You need to wait for the software developer behind it to release new upgrades and versions. The upgrades, furthermore, could not bring in the desired features for your business.
Since a custom software is built for certain businesses rather than a wide range, it could integrate easily with business and scale as the brand grows. Also, brands could anticipate their needs better and communicate them to the service provider they’re working with. A tailored software designed exclusively for your company effectively deals with this concern.
At the start, the solution could have limited functionality and features, but it could simultaneously grow as your business needs and size scale. It’s a perfect fit for your organization.
9. Tailored Software could be Maintained as Long as You Need
Another huge difference between a custom and off-the-shelf software is that in a custom solution there’s no limit to how long it will be maintained. This is not the case with a ready-made, commercial software. This comes down to the software’s ownership.
Since your brand doesn’t own an off-the-shelf solution, but rent in only from the company making it, that company then has the final say. This puts the company using a commercial software at a great disadvantage. If the company that developed it basically decides to stop building and supporting the solution, there’s nothing much you could do about it.
If this occurs, your only choice is to switch to another solution and that alone takes money and time. On the other hand, using a bespoke solution allows you to contact the developer easily and ask for a specific modification and they’ll get on it. This could go as long as you want to use the solution and you’re not tied down to licenses.
10. One Software for Various Business Processes
A business organization may require a software app for various tasks, including office management, customer management, finance management, and so on. For this, it may have to turn to various vendors that offer individual solutions for each of the tasks and processes.
Thus, the company ends up making things complex with various software that runs on the premises.
Instead of adjusting to this scenario, you could consult an expert custom software developer that could integrate the various features in a single package to minimize complexity. Meaning that you may have software tailored to seamlessly meet various organizational tasks.
Modern organizations are commonly adopting custom software not just to reduce costs, but to boost their operations and employee productivity as well. Nevertheless, when opting for a tailored solution, you should choose a reliable vendor to realize maximum benefits from the endeavor.