Let’s be practical here. Despite all the advantages of custom software development we’re about to discuss, it’s NOT the best option for all companies out there.
In some cases, off-the-shelf softwares still rule the mass business world
Sometimes, just a few ready-to-use commercial apps (or off-the-shelf softwares) are enough to satisfy your business’s daily operation needs. Especially when you’re in a mass market, your products don’t have much uniqueness requiring specific methods to handle regularly. Then off-the-shelf software is the practical choice for both convenience and efficiency.
For example, a coffee shop, a hair salon, and a clothing store can still use the same kind of cashier software (also known as Point of Sales, or POS, software). It’s a similar tool helping business owners keep track of the inventory and transactions in a simple and error-proof way.
Also, take Hubspot, or Semrush for instance. These are two SaaS (software-as-a-service) giants in the Sales & Marketing field. Because no matter what sector your business focuses on, doing Sales & Marketing is a must to get brand awareness and build good relationships with customers. So, by providing a collection of professional tools that helps sales specialists do their daily tasks more flowingly and achieve higher productivity, Hubspot scores big time (revenue in 2021 only was up to 1.3 billion US dollars). Similarly, Semrush with over 12 years of taking care of valuable data has made over 10 million professional marketers all over the world become its users.
In a few words, congratulations if you can find satisfying solutions in such excellent commercial softwares. You have saved much time and money in comparison with hiring someone to make exclusive ones just for you.
You just need to make sure off-the-shelf software is your best fit
Lower budget: Pre-built softwares are usually lower priced because the development costs are split among many users that purchase the same software license.
Quicker implementation: All you have to do is buy and install the software. Then make the best use of it right away with no waiting, testing, or delay.
Basic needs: As we discussed, not all companies have a highly specialized demand to use custom software. That is when harnessing the best out of good stuff available in the public market is a more efficient choice.
Unsure requirements: In the early stage of starting up your company, you may still be very vague and struggling between what you want for the long term and what is practical for the short run. Therefore, just go for an off-the-shelf program to explore your requirements before committing to a costly bespoke software.
Community helps: You will usually find an active community helping and supporting each other when using the same software with thousands of other users.
Yet, custom software development has undeniable advantages. Welcome to the next level of the business game!
Going for custom software development is usually a pricier and more time-consuming choice. But, in return, the development team will gather requirements and offer you a made-to-order software encompassing every issue you’d like to settle.
Even more, software engineering experts will suggest at least several possible approaches to help you make things work. Then, there’s no need for you to try fitting in someone’s pre-formed methods.
In reality, the most common custom software examples are ERP (enterprise resource planning) platform and CRM (customer relationship management) system.
The key question is: Are the benefits of custom options well worth your extra investment?
4 advantages of custom software development to take into consideration
With a pre-packaged suite, you have to accept all the features even if some of them are not fully compatible. Then it comes to the time when you may feel like maneuvering to a different set of features. Then, you will have to seek out another supplementary program.
Meanwhile, custom software allows you much more flexibility. Upon discussion with your trusted developers, you can choose and pay only for the specifications that you want. Especially when using the Agile software development methodology, there are more open possibilities for you to keep thinking and digging deeper into the practical field to get more customization during the build process.
Ownership and competitive strength
It’s a different story when your business has a higher chance to be outstanding by following a Blue Ocean strategy or serving a niche market. But what if you want to stand apart from your competitors in a mass-market? Consider generating unique services or functionalities that your competitors don’t, or can’t offer!
This way, generic solutions offered by off-the-shelf softwares that everyone else can access is not enough to create a “secret weapon”. So, try to put serious investment into custom softwares. They not only become your own valuable assets but also may bring you the rewards that you deserve eventually.
Easy modification and integration
We’re living and thriving in the age of specialization, big data, and cloud computing. As a result, widely commercialized softwares undoubtedly work well in integration with other digital tools you may be using.
However, if your corporation has an internal IT ecosystem, custom software is an easier choice to make things best aligned.
Growth and Scalability
With a scalable system, you don’t need redesigning to maintain effective performance over a sharp increase in workload.
Though pre-built softwares also have upgrade options (commonly from 3 to 5) for different business sizes or growth states, custom ones are limitless in this capability. While accommodating your current demands, custom software still be able to preempt your future needs for expansion and growth, without any unnecessary complexity.
Making the decision between custom software development and off-the-shelf solution is crucial, but there’s no exact application to everyone’s cases. Business is a rational world, yet full of personal experiments and creativity. So, don’t fix certain things in your mind to narrow down your path. Like, a brand-new company doesn’t always have to go for mass-produced softwares just to save budget.
Just say, if your visions are very clear, your action plans are very detailed onwards, and your financial point of departure is strong enough, you may want to take bold steps to the future by investing in custom softwares which are exclusively made for you.