Off the Shelf vs Custom Application Development

The question whether enterprises go for an Off-the-shelf software or a Custom-built is tough to answer.

Let’s first get to know what the terms mean and what should you choose for your business?

Off-the-shelf software is ready-to-use once they are installed on a computer or device. Whereas, Custom software, as the name suggests, is developed according to specific requirements and specifications of a company or organization.

There is a huge gap between these two technologies in terms of performance, functionalities, and usability. Let’s look at some:

Basic Terms to help you around:
1) Cost: An off-the-shelf product typically is reasonably priced as compared to a custom developed product. The obvious reason being is that of the cost involved in developing an off-the-shelf product is distributed among a large number of buyers, thus pricing is spread across several licenses to be sold. On the other hand, a tailored product, is specifically developed for a client, and as a result, all the development expenses will be borne by that individual client alone.
Therefore, if we consider the cost, it might seem that an off-the-shelf product is the best option.
2) Implementation: Theoretically, developing a custom software does requires a high level of skills and in reality, enterprises could find such developmental tasks to be a distraction from their core focus. The internal IT resources may already be engaged in routine maintenance activities, and development works could pose a drag on their efficiency. With custom software, the enterprises, sometimes have to bear the brunt of all the drawbacks until the glitches are ironed out, and the software finally matures. With off-the-shelf software, the enterprise can learn from the mistakes of others.
The core focus of the developers of off-the-shelf software is the software itself, and they incorporate agile and other best practices. They also keep abreast with changing technology to remain ahead of the game. Therefore, before it’s released to market, the software will be tried and tested extensively, and glitches ironed out.
However, purchasing software ‘off-the-shelf’ is not as easy as it sounds. The acquisition process is elaborate, with the source-to-contract process raising specific challenges. The in-house team would still have to perform the requirement gathering exercise, to find a suitable product.
3) Customization Developing the software in-house is a good idea if the software requires extensive customization. Every business has some tasks which are like ‘reinventing the wheel’. It is, however, deemed reckless to develop software in-house when industry majors such as Google, Microsoft, and others offer advanced, scalable and secure solutions, customizable with the enterprise name.
Additionally, enterprises seeking a non-specific software package, they would do well if they pick up any of the ready-made ones available in the market. However, the devil lies in the details.
In such situations, creating a custom software can eliminate the excess and ensure bloat-free software, optimized to the exact needs of the business.
4) Upgrades: Off-the-shelf products gets updates on a regular basis and might be at no additional cost, especially, if you go keep them updated as per their hardware suggestions. One might as well enjoy a flawless customer support. But sometimes, updates may not be pushed for a long period of time, due to which you might end up working with an outdated product causing a negative impact on your business.
However, with custom software solutions, you have the freedom to make whatever changes you want, whenever you want. You are always independent regarding the decisions you take for the software. You don’t have to wait for new releases and introductions, to add features in the software. Whatever it is – an upgrade or changes to include new tasks and operations, you can get them done by custom software experts at any time.
5) Scalability: Scalability is one of the most important factors to consider while choosing a technology for your business. The software should be adaptable enough to accommodate your present requirements as well as make room for future additions. As your business grows, you might have to add and remove some features and maybe even departments to the software you use. Hence, it is always better to get your software built in a scalable way.
Off-the-shelf solutions do not have this facility.
To conclude, there is no winner in the build versus buy dilemma. The best option depends on the situation. However, making the wrong decision can be costly. It is hence very crucial that the enterprises carefully evaluate the pros and cons of both options, before taking the final call. When making the trade-off, the primary concern should be the on the efficiency with which the software allows them to serve their customers and other stakeholders in the most effective manner.
We at Techiescube can build you a custom software which will add an edge to your business.
Get in touch with TechiesCube and let us be your Unfair Advantage and be ready to reap huge harvests in your biz.

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