The decision to buy an off-the-shelf solution or build a custom solution is one that every business must make. It’s a difficult choice, as there are many pros and cons of building custom software. To help you make the best decision for your business, we’ll a look at both software acquisition approaches.
Purchasing Off-The-Shelf Software
When it comes to purchasing software, there are several advantages to consider. First and foremost, buying commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software is upfront cost savings – both in terms of time and money. When you purchase a pre-built software solution, it’s often much faster (and cheaper) than attempting to build something from scratch.
Additionally, a large user base means that the COTS has likely been tested by thousands of people. This limits the possibility of bugs or glitches before you incorporate the software into your workflow. This means less risk on your part, and fewer headaches down the road due to compatibility issues or other problems with an untested system.
Of course, there are also downsides: namely, lack of customization options and potential vendor lock-in issues. These could be especially problematic if they decide to stop supporting their product, or get acquired by another company. Additionally, since pre-made solutions need to cater for a wide range of customers they may not always provide intuitive user interfaces or enable personalization options. This can leave users confused, or force business to change their processes to match the software.
Lastly, if the “out-of-the box” solution doesn’t quite meet all your needs, it tends to be difficult – or impossible – for it do so without significant customization. Theses customizations can be expensive and unstable, negating the cost savings from buying pre-made solutions.
Building Custom Software
One major advantage associated with building custom software is having total control over the product. Businesses can ensure that the system meets all their needs, without the limitations of “off the shelf” products. This allows for greater internal adoption and implementation as it lets the software conform to the business, rather than the business conforming to the software.
Additionally, custom software allows for greater flexibility and scalability. Since the code for these applications is proprietary, companies may find themselves with a competitive advantage against those using shelf systems. Custom software allows companies to respond to user feedback quickly by developing better tailored versions to improve user experience.
Lastly, as businesses grow the shortcomings of a one-size-fits-all approach are magnified. Inefficient processes amount to hundreds of lost hours throughout the year. All while recurring expenses rise due to increased users or added features. Since businesses are stuck “renting” technology, they are unable to reap the benefits of owning their technology. In many cases, medium-size businesses are able to see positive ROI in as little as three years by developing their own custom software solutions.
The needs of every business are different. Understanding the pros and cons of each software solution alongside the specific profile of your business is critical to making the right decision. At Sigao, we invite you to do the research with us. We’re happy to help you assess the software needs for your company.
To find out more, schedule a discovery meeting today!