Off-the-shelf vs Custom Software: What Solution to Choose for Your Business

HomeNewsOff-the-shelf vs Custom Software: What Solution to Choose for Your Business

In 2019 more and more tasks in everyday life and in business are being solved with the help of technology. While at home a Wi-Fi kettle begins to heat water with a smartphone signal, in manufacturing chatbots transmit data from sensors to employees, and CRM systems remind you to call a client on time.

At a time when messaging programs, CRM and ERP solutions, and mobile applications have become popular tools, even the most conservative companies have the following goals:

  • Automate routine operations;
  • Transfer offline processes online;
  • Build convenient communication with consumers and within the company;
  • Establish effective accounting and process control;
  • Modernize services;
  • Scale up.

While looking for software that could help to achieve these goals, companies consider various options.

Their choices are determined by a number of criteria:

  • Cost;
  • Functionality;
  • Deadlines;
  • Growth potential;
  • Usability.

Off-the-Shelf Software in comparison with Custom Software

Off-the-shelf Software

Why “reinvent the wheel” if you can take advantage of the accumulated experience packaged in a ready-made product.

Traditional off-the-shelf software means bundled solutions that are developed for mass use. After the purchase, the software has to be installed on the computer. For example: office suite packages, email clients, and warehouse or accounting software.

With the development of cloud technologies, SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platforms have become a popular option of turnkey solutions. SaaS is software that doesn’t need to be installed on a computer – it is available online, from various devices. A company doesn’t buy software, but pays a monthly subscription fee and receives account access. For example: CRM and EPR solutions, programs for project work, marketing tools.

Advantages

A ready-made solution costs significantly less than development from scratch and it can be easily and quickly configured.

This software was developed and then tested by many users so it contains guaranteed solutions that work for a specific field of business. You just need to choose the necessary services from the available set.

Starting to work with ready-made software, you know what to expect—there are free demos and reviews from other users.

Disadvantages

The main disadvantage of off-the-shelf software is that it has a limited set of functions and design settings. Depending on the needs of your business, this may limit you in a competitive market.

There are also technical disadvantages: dependence on the service provider and the quality of its work, limited control over the company’s data, limited number of users.

Custom Software

Custom, or bespoke software, is a solution developed specifically for the individual needs of a company. In most cases, companies outsource software development to an IT company, where a group of specialists works on the project; business analysts, developers, testers. Such software is also called “tailor-made”, being compared to a tailored suit. It is created taking into account the legal aspects of the company, its marketing, and business logic.

Most companies invest in their own software at the business’s later stages, when business processes have already formed, and when cost stops being a priority. At that point additional features and scalability make it so that it becomes more profitable to develop software from scratch than to customize a ready-made option for your business.

Advantages

The key reasons to choose custom software are the flexibility it gives, the ability to adjust to all the needs of the company, add the necessary functions, and stand out from competitors.

When using your own IT solutions, there is no limit on the number of users.

In the long term, the cost of individual development may even be lower than of the ready-made software. Using bespoke software you don’t have to pay for the unnecessary functions and can add only the features you need.

Disadvantages

Developing your own software is a resource-intensive process. Companies are limited by factors such as high startup cost, the difficulty of choosing a contractor, the duration of development and implementation, the high cost of errors in the design stage, and the need of a full-time or remote IT team support.

In conclusion

Off-the-shelf software is important for new businesses, start-ups, and conservative companies that are just beginning to switch to a digital model. Investing in your own product is risky while business processes are still being formed. The ready-made option, as a rule, allows a company to cover all the basic needs in a specific field, automate routine operations, and at the same time save on resources. This option is also attractive because it can be quickly and easily configured even without the help of IT specialists.

Bespoke software development is suitable for mature companies that already have set business processes. The features of ready-made software might not be enough. Custom-developed software becomes a part of the company’s competitiveness, and its investments. It allows you to successfully scale and grow your business.

What are the signs that your business needs custom software development?

  1. The accordance of the software to the individual features of your business comes to the fore.
  2. Your current software is not sufficient. Your IT infrastructure needs to be updated.
  3. You continue to spend time on manual processes instead of automating them.
  4. You feel that technology has left you behind and there are no suitable turnkey solutions in your industry.
  5. To cover all the business functions, you use several ready-made software programs.
  6. You are planning to scale up your business.

Check out our Portfolio for examples of our work. We have experience developing software for various fields: manufacturing and industrial automation, medical and transport companies, and the hospitality industry. If you are considering investing in software development for your business just drop us a line.

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