Tips for Making the Decision Between Custom & Off-the-Shelf Software
The eternal dilemma facing business leaders is whether to build custom software or to adopt an off-the shelf application and mould it to fit their business needs later. This is a critical decision as the success of your project would totally depend on what approach you choose. Determining the right solutions approach is a difficult task and would depend on various factors like business processes, strategic goals, required systems support, project and business validation and more. We have outlined the major points to help you make the right decision on your next project!
Buying an Off-the-Shelf Software
- Off-the-shelf solutions are cheaper as compared to custom built solutions. If cost is the key deciding factor, then sticking with canned solutions can make much more financial sense.
- Some companies even offer software for trial for a limited period of time to help you test whether it fits your business model and work flow.
- Off-the-shelf software generally contains many features as it is made keeping in mind the requirements of all the businesses as a whole.
- If you have time-constraint and have dependency on the software, going for a canned solution is the best bet.
- Off-the-shelf software has already been tried and tested; you can take reviews from other businesses. The software also undergoes many upgrades and improvements, thus providing better results.
- There are some businesses where building an amazing technology wouldn’t help them to get any competitive advantage or enable them to provide better products or services and make consumers choose them. In that case, it becomes useless to spend more on custom software.
- Off-the-shelf software is quicker to deploy; upgrades are provided at a reduced cost and is backed by strong user community.
- In case it is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), there is no requirement of installation of any hardware or software.
Building Custom Software
- Off-the-shelf software generally addresses many of the needs of most businesses. If you have specialized needs, custom software is a better option.
- Custom Software is a glove fit for you specific needs and thus ensures better results.
- Bespoke Software is flexible unlike canned solutions, allowing businesses to modify its functionality in a meaningful way.
- You can get on-going support from the software development company, as the developers themselves build the software and therefore are well aware about the features and functionality. They are available for you at any point of time, whenever you get stuck.
- You have complete control over the development process, customization and functionality of the solution, allowing you to include everything you need and exclude things that you don’t.
- Tailor-made software is scalable, allowing you to change and grow, from a small-sized business.
- No doubt, the upfront cost of the best-fit solution is greater than a canned solution, but it proves to be less expensive in the long term due to improved efficiency and reduced or no license and upgrade fees.
- Custom solution helps you to gain a competitive edge through its exclusive and unique features.
- Bespoke software can be built to integrate with your existing systems and wider APIs, thus ensuring efficient business processes.