The eternal question of build vs buy continues to trouble the enterprises looking for software solutions. Off the shelf software is the one that is ready to use as soon as installed on a computer or device. On the other hand, custom software is built as per specific requirements.
Differentiation between these two options can be done on the basis of performance, functionalities and user friendliness. Before you opt for one, there are a few questions you need answered. Let’s have a look at some of them!
Size of your potential User Base
Most of the existing software solutions are licensed on per user basis. So, if you have a lot of users who will access the tool, the costs can drastically increase. If a small team is going to use the tool, then the expenditure seems sensible.
Moreover, if you are opting for custom software development for a large user base, choosing an open source technology turns out to be more cost efficient as you don’t need to pay for licensing and other such costs.
Your Unique Needs
Although there are thousands of off-the-shelf software tools available, they may not fit in to your requirements for many reasons. You can always have a look at the available software solutions in the market and if nothing fits in your needs, it’s time to opt for custom app development.
Many successful apps in the market today were born because their founders insisted on creating something better than anything that existed.
Long Term Goals for the Application
If you plan to use the application only within your company, then the available solution might suit you just fine. But if you are planning for a software tool that can be offered to your customers, a custom software solution could be an integral part of your business growth plan.
When you choose licensing a software, you are only borrowing the right to use it. You become vulnerable to any changes in business model, integrations or pricing that may occur over time. On the contrary, if you choose custom software development, it can be incorporated in any plans for your company’s growth.
Now, that you are clear about the questions you need to ask before choosing a software development option, here is a vivid comparison between the two for you to take an informed decision:
The first difference between two formats is that off the shelf products are developed for a broad range of customers with a standard design and framework which is pre-decided. There is a risk that it might not cater to all your individual requirements.
Whereas a custom application will efficaciously build a framework that you require. One that will internalize your current processes. You won’t need to change processes and it would be fast and easy to acquaint with the system workings. Moreover, it will also be easier to ensure a high level of performance in future as well.
The very basic foundation of a custom software is that it is designed to fit in your business requirements
It can be more cost efficient in the long run as you will be saving on time, cost and efforts of training your employees. As the software as developed as per your guidelines, it is easier to blend it in your current business structure. Most of the custom software developers work on a contractual setup, thus, they are good at rendering flawless maintenance as and when your business increases in size.
Off the shelf solutions turn out to be either very economical or very expensive. They are developed on the concept of one size fits all.
The chances are that the cheaper solutions miss out on fundamental software packages that are a necessity for your business and might incur you a heavier cost in the long run. Furthermore, it is more vulnerable to security threats due to common vulnerabilities that exist in an off the shelf software.
Custom software solutions significantly add to software safety and protect the business against external threats.
Availability of maintenance is another point of comparison in this case. In the case of customized applications development, continuous maintenance is available while limited maintenance is available for off the shelf.
Due to it’s limited maintenance, there is a certain risk involved with off-the-shelf software. It may leave you at mercy of the provider company, owing to their availability in case something goes wrong. If they suddenly decide to drop or shut down the app, you will be clueless and will have to invest more in another software package.
Such a situation does not arise in the case of custom software as the developers tailor the program according to the vendor’s hardware and hardware’s capabilities. A custom made software is a more cost effective option in the long run as you won’t have to spend unnecessarily on additional hardware.
In the current times, data analytics is a valuable source of competitive advantage. Businesses need to ensure seamless integration of the software with other systems such as the back office and finance systems. Representatives of the business that face the customer need complete access to the system without any obstruction of data silos, for which seamless integration is inevitable.
Extra time and money invested in developing a custom software will be worth the while, taking into consideration the benefits of seamless integration.
Developers will consider the existing systems while preparing a blueprint for the software development project and ensure the new software functions smoothly in the existing IT system.
Off the shelf products have regular updates, that might not be heavy on expenditure. Also, if you opt for a quality product, flawless customer support is an add on. But there are also times when they are not updated for a long time period, due to which you might end up working with an outdated product resulting in a negative impact on your business.
Whereas in the case of custom software solutions, you have the freedom to make changes whenever you want. You are independent regarding software decisions. Adding features to your software does not require you to wait for new releases. At any point of time you can ask the custom software experts to upgrade the software or make any new changes including new tasks and operations.
The Final Word
Choosing between a custom software and a pre-packaged solution can have consequences that will be felt in the long run. It’s inevitable that you take this decision keeping in mind the long term requirements. Short term pain often leads to long term gain, however the opposite can also be true.
Custom software development fits the bill for you? Visit www.kodytechnolab.com to talk to custom software experts!