Making a decision on whether to invest in custom software development or in an off the shelf software solution can be a daunting prospect for many companies. All the more so if the requirements of the said software are for mission-critical or process improvements, involving a substantial amount of investment. Such considerations and the unfamiliarity many have with custom software solutions encourages the easy purchase of off the shelf software products which in most cases do not fit the full scope of requirements.
Off the shelf software solutions are created to fulfil the general purposes a company such as yours might have and offers little customisation. What we know in our 7 years of software development , however, is that each company is unique and require software solutions that fit it, and not force the company to fit itself to the off the shelf software that was purchased. Your software solution should fulfil your needs and this is only possible if it is developed from the ground up, in consultation with the end users. Such an approach ensures that the end users do not have to compromise and the final product is in line with a company’s business needs.
Custom software development might sound like a lot of work and it could be if you pick the wrong software development partner. Theright software partner, however, should be able tounderstand your needs, scope your requirements and provide you with the benefitsthat are inherent to customized software.
1. You own the source code
Custom software development makes products for you, based on your requirements, thereby making you its owner. All code and materials related to your product will be provided to you by the developers, so that you may exercise your ownership over it. This, however, is not the case with off the shelf software solution providers who retain its ownership, with your business incurring a monthly fee for its usage. The support is also not as comprehensive as you find with the developers who designed your software from scratch.
Another factor you have to consider here is custom software development’s ability to let you dictate what you want to be developed. This freedom would allow you to integrate multiple business requirements into your product instead of compromising and/or using multiple off the shelf products. This would increase the uptake of your product with customers, employees and reduce churn rates.
2. The end product is unique
No business is the same which is why off the shelf software that takesa one size fits all approach, a bad idea.Custom software development is done after analysing your need for it, business processes, people and expectations. Such software has a higher chance of fitting seamlessly to your business than off the shelf software that is more rigid and offers little to no customisation.
3. Better long term return on investment
The biggest argument against custom software development is the costsinvolved in it. What you have to remember, however, is that custom software is designed and developed with your specific needs in mind, which is why it might tend to be costlier than off the shelf products, whose costs are recouped through its licensing to many clients. It’s important to remember that developing your own software is a one-time investment in your business and will have you saving money from the process efficiencies achieved through it. Custom software that fits a company’s needs makes it leaner and more prone to shave unnecessary expenses. An off the shelf software solution, on the other hand, will have you spending more money on training and alternate tools to fill the rest of your software requirements in addition to the cost of licensing.
Another factor you have to take into account is the rapid rate of progress in the software development industry.Native software development is now being overtaken by hybrid software platforms due to the cost efficiencies they grant. The design of the software is also made cheaper and faster thanks to lean UX principlesthat are fast becoming a norm.
It’s important to take hidden costs into account when using off the shelf software solutions. Custom software development leaves no space for hidden costs or markups as you receive exactly what you pay for.
4. Provides full control of the development process
The software house you are opting for should give you periodical updates and demos of the product as it is being built. This gives you a holistic view of where your money is being spent, what is being developed,testedand full control over the process.
Such insight into the software development process will allow you to identify and resolve problems before they materialise in the finished product.
5. Able to scale with your business needs
The software made for you by developers you hired will have an innate understanding of how they can scale it to more users or with more features. This is important as your software should fit the updated needs of you, your customers and the business environment you operate in.
This, however, is not the same with off the shelf software solutions who are more rigid in their scalability. Such software solutions have limits to how they could be scaled and could have you spending more for a higher tier license, that still does not fit all your requirements.
6. Stronger security protocols
Custom software isdeveloped as per the latest industry standards and is updated with security protocols that match it . The developers who created your software from scratch are also very knowledgeable about security breaches and will be in a better position to assist you with issues as they happen and protect sensitive information.
Off the shelf software is a more risky proposition as they use technology and security protocols that are bound to be common knowledge and more attractive to a malicious attacker who will get more rewards for his effort.
7. You have full access to a support team
The support you can expect from a team that did the developing of your product is much higher than from a software vendor who has many clients who license its software. With custom software development, there is no need to wait for a security patch or any other updateas you would have to with off the shelf software solutions. Developing your software from scratch also gives you access to regular maintenance as and when you want without disrupting the business process.
8. You have many software developers to choose from
Opting for custom software development lets youpick a software developerthat fits your business. These developers should be able to ask you the right questions to help scope the exact requirements you need from your end software product. You can then decide on what should be included in the minimum viable product (MVP) and build on it iteratively.
Off the shelf solutions do not offer this flexibility and can have you paying for pre-loaded features you do not require. Your options for picking an off the shelf software solution provider can also lessen if the industry you operate in, is not as popular or as saturated.
We understand that opting for custom software development can be a new experience, which is why we at Mood Up focus on educating our partners on the process and get themactively involvedduring design and development. Such a partnership enables us to deliver above and beyond the software development our partners seek of us and maintain a shared growth mindset in the years to come.