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Published June 23rd, 2017 by

What Is Better: Off The Shelf Or Custom Software Development


If you need to create an effective software solution to a business problem, then have two choices. 1) Buy “off the shelf” system that is promptly available and can be implemented, or 2) go for a custom software development solution built around the company specific requirements. So, how do we compare Custom Application Development Vs Off the Shelf Solutions? Confused! Don’t Worry. We have explained everything in this post about why invest in custom software, is pros and benefits of Off the Shelf Solutions and its pros and cons.

Why Consider Investing In Custom Software?

Building custom software is expensive, but ROI (return on investment) can be well worth it. The cost depends on Software Size, Creative Design, Software Complexity, Migration of Existing Data, and so on. Remember, these tasks related to custom software may initially make an Off the Shelf solution seem like the smarter idea, but there are plenty of reasons to reconsider, such as:

The key benefit of a custom software is that you get to create exactly what you are looking for. Your business, your employees/workers, solutions and its processes are unique. But the challenge with buying an existing product is that you want your product to fit your company, not the other way around. Off-the-shelf software generally addresses many of the needs of most companies, but for but the differences may need you to create workarounds, change your processes, buy/build additional products to fill the gaps. If any organization has specialized needs, then custom software is better for them. Every software or development work primarly developed to imporve user experince  and there is an intresting infographic by Nail patel who smartly explain effect of customer experience on your business   –

the,Other reason why invest in a custom application is Off-the-shelf software are rigid. The majority of off-the-shelf software will not let you change its functionality in a great way. Apart from this, it will be not easy for you to add or subtract built-in features, leading to either few or too many functions for your company. Besides, the Off-the-shelf software may not be good with other programs. Your business might depend on Software “A “ to complete one task and Software “B” to do the second task. If the two projects don’t communicate effectively, then they may hinder your productivity. On the other hand, if you build your own software, then you can coordinate with a more wider set of APIs from different software and data partners. When you build a custom software product, you are in control of the ownership, future enhancements, support and releases of the software.

Custom Software Can Scale Your Company

If your business is a dynamic and developing organization, then it makes senses for your software to adjust and grow with your organization too, and not stay static. If your company growing at a fast rate, then a custom software can help make your business more scalable:

  • Competitive Advantage

You can garner a competitive benefit relative to your competitors by designing your own application that is ideally suited for your business operations. This advantage grows as you invest more in your proprietary systems. A custom development software allows your business to match the software to the vision from the beginning, which can prove far more cost effective and let the business to move forward faster.

  • Increased Productivity

When it comes to the productivity of a business, pre-programmed software fails because every business needs to perform a different set of tasks, every group of employees/ workers has an individual working style and the learning curve for off the shelf software can be intense as well as take time away from regular tasks. But, having custom software works in the way your company needs it to work and helps increase both productivity and effectiveness. As a result, it creates less stressed and happier employees and happier employees can give their 100 percent in work, further increasing productivity and effectiveness of your company.

Off the Shelf Software

They can be either free and cheap depending on what you have selected. But, what you need to be aware of is that with most of the pre-programmed software will come with ongoing fees, upgrade costs and licensing costs. You have no control over the source code of the software and sometimes not be 100% compatible with your needs. In case if you must go with it, then ensure it is powerful enough to fulfill the needs of the project.

Why Should You Consider Using Pre-Programmed Software?

Sticking with Off the Shelf solutions may be the more sensible option under certain circumstances.

  • Small Budget

One of the most logical reasons for a business to avoid choosing a custom solution is the costs that are associated with building custom software. Pre-Programmed solutions are inexpensive and so can make much more financial sense for your company with a limited budget.

  • Lack of Time

Keep in mind that building copyrighted software takes a big amount of time to complete successfully. If you do not have this time, then you should not immediately pursue it. Off the shelf software is already available as well. If you have a common business, there are canned software solutions available that are already proven to be effective for your business.

Off the Shelf CONS include slow to adapt or change to industry needs, no one cares about your feature requests, higher customization fees, may require you to change your process to fit the software, may be too features that the company never requires and uses, your competitor probably uses the same software, so you stand to gain no competitive advantage from using it.

Running a business needs taking critical and tough decisions. Investing in off the shelf solution that is accessible effortlessly and inexpensive may cost you in the medium term driving you to invest a big amount of money again in creating a customized software solution if not well thought out. Off the shelf and custom software have their benefits and disadvantages and you may have to take a call, depending on what the conditions of your business dictate.

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Vikas Arora

Digital Marketer at JanBask LLC
Vikas Arora is a search marketing expert and Digital strategist for JanBask Training. Vikas has been practicing digital marketing for seven years and has built a track record of getting websites ranked in the top in even the most competitive environment.
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