The quintessential question for any company on the market for a software whether to use an off the shelf arrangement or a custom designed solution. The question can be daunting, but there are several things that you can keep in mind so that you can find out for yourself which option is best for your business.
Pros and Cons of Off the Shelf
The main advantage for off the shelf software is cost. Since the software is going to be used by thousands or hundreds of thousands of people, the cost of development is a lot less than software tailored to one customer. There are also lower training costs since your staff, especially in IT, might already be familiar with it. If your staff aren’t already familiar with the software, there will probably be helpful articles and online communities with advice for using it.
Another advantage is being time effective. You don’t have to wait for it to be made because it’s already been made. It will also come to you with lots of different functions, as it will be made to fulfill as many of the individual needs of the large number of users as possible. Even if it doesn’t fulfill all of your needs, there’s always the possibility of an upgrade. The vendor will continue to develop the software, and you will probably get the new version for free or at a reduced cost, whereas an update for custom made software may cost more.
However, off the shelf software also has some disadvantages. You may have to compromise, as only a tailor made software solution can ensure that you can do everything you want exactly the way you want. Any updates of on the shelf software will anticipate the needs of some of the users, but not all of them. The software may also be too functional, it may do more than you need and therefore be more difficult to learn and complicated to use. As one voice in a crowd, you will not always get the updates you want, or the features you need.
Pros and Cons of Bespoke Software
Bespoke software, made by a developer for you specifically, also has several advantages. Most notably, the software is tailored to your needs. It works the way you want it to work and produces results the that you want to get. You can also have the software designed so that it evolves over time to fit your changing circumstances. For example, you can make a custom designed website more flexible and open to redesign if you predict needing to change your website in the future.
Also, you own the intellectual property to the software, meaning that you aren’t tied to a particular vendor. If you use off the shelf software and the vendor disappears, then you’ll have to buy another piece of software. You don’t have to worry about this happening when you have your own piece of software made. You also have a competitive advantage. When you own your own piece of software, you have something that no other competitor has. You have a unique selling point that you can offer customers. Whatsmore, while bespoke software might be a bit more expensive, at least you don’t have to take into account per-user fees. If your company expands, you don’t have to pay more to use the software.
The disadvantages of bespoke software are fairly obvious. It takes longer to make custom designed software and development costs are higher. Whether it’s worth the extra money and time to have software crafted to meet your company’s needs is something you’ll have to decide for yourself.
There is also a third solution: have software that’s partially off the shelf, and partially custom made. A hybrid. You can have this done either by the original developers of the off the shelf software, or by a third party. This can give you the best of both worlds: reduced money and time expense, with a software solution better suited to you. Either way, if you’re interested in fully or partially bespoke software for your business, Wirebox has many years of experience working with company to design the solution that’s right for them. We look forward to hearing from you.