At first look, there are 2 inherent off the shelf software advantages over custom solutions: they are cheaper and instantly downloadable. But is that always true? In this post we will review the advantages of bespoke software (or customized software) over off the shelf products, even if that product costs less and is available right away.
For your needs, custom-written software costs less.
If your company does not require all the features that a bloated, generic software product includes, you don’t want to have to pay for what you won’t need.
You have no time constraints.
If you have a distant deadline for when your software solution is needed, custom-written software is better. But you’d be surprised, even software products can take months, or years, to configure, install and deploy across the enterprise. Therefore, this may not be as big a factor as it seems.
The solution is core to your business.
If you are a large manufacturing company, creating custom software solutions to automatically generate structural engineering drawings increases intellectual property and organizational knowledge.
Your problem is specialized or complex.
Custom application development services will benefit you if your business process is very specific, with a lot of complex scenarios that only affect you and your clients (and not your competitors). A common example of complexity is when the custom-written software must integrate with your pre-existing applications.
You seek a competitive advantage.
Custom-written software can go above and beyond what off the shelf software products can deliver. If your competitors are all using a standard product, a custom solution can deliver additional value that would give your business an edge.
You crave agility.
You can leverage an agile software development model by building a custom solution instead of purchasing a product. When you identify new and bigger opportunities, you can just have it changed. You don’t have to wait for the product company to implement your need.
From a high-level perspective, the goal of any software expenditure is to generate Return on Investment (ROI) by saving money, opening new markets, or providing competitive advantage. Just keep in mind that a cheaper price tag and an available product does not necessarily produce the biggest return, if any at all.