Build or Buy: Custom or Off-the-Shelf Software?
Exploring whether out-of-the-box or custom software is right for your business
Choosing the right software for your business can be a daunting task. A great deal of time and money is spent learning to use and implementing software that will be used by your company. A lot of time and consideration needs to be put into choosing the right software. One of the first points to consider when picking software is whether to buy out-of-the-box software or have a developer build software to fit your business’s specific needs. In some cases, out-of-the-box software can be a better fit while in others, custom development is the best option.
Out-of-the-Box Software Pros
Out-of-the-box software, also called off-the-shelf, refers to software that is ready-made for the general public. One of the positives of out-of-the- box software is that it comes ready to install. The makers of the software are constantly improving upon it so updates thay may include improvements can be made available. There are also customer support lines and online forums dedicated to helping their customers with an issues or questions they have. The software may even help improve your business processes by making you work the way they have deemed beneficial for the most people.
Out-of-the-Box Software Cons
Buying software that isn’t designed specifically for your business can also have some downsides. Changing your business processes to the way the software has you do them may be bad for your business. Some features that you want may not be included in the off the shelf software. The cost of the software can quickly rise if you have to pay per user and you have hundreds of users. Out of the box software may never fit your exact needs even with some modifications to it.
Custom Development Pros
Developing, or having someone develop, your own custom software can greatly help your business. It can be made to perform your business processes exactly how you want them done, and can be customized to included exactly what you want or need out of that software. Custom developers can build with your business and employees in mind, not just the general software user. This feature also highlights the need to have carefully considered and laid out requirements for any development project. Be sure your requirements have been clearly laid out and understood by the developer before the project begins, because errors will cost time, and time is money, especially in the development world.
You can work with a development company that will expect the project to evolve as portions of the software are delivered, allowing you to discover new wants and needs as the project progresses. Once delivered, the software is more flexible because you have direct access to the developers; changes can be made and features can be added easier than with out-of-the-box software.
Custom Development Cons
While custom development sounds like a clear winner, there are also some challenges to keep in mind. Custom software can be costly, depending on the developer and the time spent on the project. The customer support can also vary greatly depending on who you have develop the software. Custom software can also take quite a bit of time to develop and implement the software compared to off the shelf software.
What’s Right for Your Business?
What it all comes down to is the needs of your business. Some out-of-the-box software, such as accounting tools, are generic enough that they could easily be used for almost any type of business without the need for a custom solution. However, sometimes a company needs software to handle business processes that may be unique to the company. It is up to you to decide whether an out-of-the-box software can be customized enough to work for your business or if you need a truly customized solution.
Clarity Can Help
Clarity has worked for nearly a decade to provide companies with custom developed software for the right price. We are focused on our clients and their needs when designing software to help their business. Our team at Clarity is also highly experienced at customizing out of the box software to help suit businesses’ needs. To find out more about how Clarity can help your business choose the right software to help your company succeed, call or click to contact us today!