One of the most important aspects to consider when digitalizing a growing business is the selection of relevant software. As a business owner, you have to decide whether to build customized software or buy an off-the-shelf option.
No doubt, there are pros and cons of each option, yet making the right choice can prove to be hugely beneficial for the growth of a business. To assist you in making a decision, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both of these options.
Pros of Custom Built Software
If you are in a position to build custom software for your business, it may prove to be highly beneficial. Below are the most significant advantages of building custom software.
Offers you Ownership
Custom software gives you ownership, which means you can either change or modify it to meet your needs. Furthermore, you don’t have to face any licensing constraints or restrictions when applying changes.
Promises a Competitive Edge Over Others
Custom software can ensure a competitive edge over other competitors. With off-the-shelf software, there is always someone else among your competitors who is using the same software.
As a result, other businesses might also use the same features as you do. On the contrary, custom software gives you an edge over others by offering the best possible connectivity, efficiency, and scalability, all custom designed for your company.
Wide Range of Customization Options
This is the most prominent feature associated with custom software. The customization option ensures complete control over all the features and settings of the software. This means you don’t have to buy separate applications for each task.
Moreover, you can easily upgrade your custom application software by improving its efficiency with the changing needs of your growing business.
No Need to Configure
Usually, custom application software is specifically engineered for a particular business. This way you don’t have to configure them to match your business needs.
Cons of Custom Software
Apart from offering a wide range of benefits, custom application software can also have some downsides. Some of the most prominent ones are discussed below.
Can Be Expensive: Custom software requires some upfront expenses. It generally costs you more to build application software than buying an off-the-shelf product. This aspect may turn out to be a deal-breaker. Normally, it takes more than a year to gain the ROI on such an investment.
Need Sufficient Time to Build: Generally, custom software requires more time to build. Although you can achieve some initial help through an agile development process, a fully customized product usually can’t be finished within a few months.
Might End Up Building the Wrong Application: A wide range of businesses don’t mind investing some additional amount of their capital for developing a customized application. However, there isn’t a guarantee that the final product will be what you planned for. There is a chance that you may end up building the wrong software.
Pros of Off-The-Shelf Software
If you are not sure whether to choose off-the-shelf software, here are some of the advantages associated with this option. This may assist you while making up your mind.
Easy to Implement
This is one of the most advantageous aspects associated with off-the-shelf software. This kind of software is easy to implement, which suggests you need relatively less time and effort while completing such a process.
Most of these options are available immediately and take less than the expected time to configure. If your business is in need of an urgent solution, this is the option to rely on.
Cheaper than Customized Software
This kind of software is relatively inexpensive, which requires minimum upfront cost. Moreover, this type of application software also helps to recur the license fee. If you have recently established your business, using off-the-shelf application software would be a viable choice.
Offers a Wide Array of Ongoing Enhancements
With this type of application, you can introduce regular improvements to meet the needs of your business. You can test the new features offered by the vendor and provide feedback for some problematic elements that bother you.
Provision of Integrations and Add-ons
Most of the software solutions provide integrations and add-ons to extend its usability and functionality. The add-on and integrations can allow you to use some additional features without changing the application software.
Cons of Off-The-Shelf Software
Apart from offering a variety of features like cheaper upfront expenses and quick implementation, this option also has some drawbacks.
Some of the most prominent ones are explained below.
Failure to Offer Custom and Compatible Integrations: Sometime, off-the-shelf software might not be compatible with some other software and processes used by your organization. This option may not be suitable for the future needs of your business. As a result, you may have to build some custom solutions or integrations to overcome some issues.
Less Impressive and Slower Enhancements: Although a wide array of off-the-shelf software offers access to the latest features, the timeline could be much slower or faulty. This may also fail to offer similar priorities that suit your business.
Offers Limited Functionality: This is one of the most significant drawbacks of buying off-the-shelf software. The limited functionality of this product would make it possible for a business to accomplish the most relevant goals. In many cases, you won’t be able to enhance the functionality of such software through integrations of add-ons. Moreover, it may prove to be not appropriate for some companies.
We hope that the pros and cons listed above helps you see the differences between off-the-shelf and customized software, and also help you to understand which one is the best option for your business.
If your budget is tight and you don’t need customized controls, it would be better to go for off-the-shelf software. On the contrary, if you are more concerned about the functionality and performance of the software solution, custom build software is the option to choose.