Buying off-the-shelf business software is tempting – it’s accessible, quick and, on the face of it, relatively cheap. In reality, off-the-shelf software can actually cost your business more in the long run and even harm your growth potential. If properly specified and developed, custom software delivers far better value for money, along with many other tangible business benefits.
What is custom software development?
Pretty self-explanatory, but let’s get it covered. Custom software development is the process of designing, building and deploying software to meet the specific needs of a business or individual. As you’d expect, upfront costs are typically higher than buying an off-the-shelf solution, but the payoff can be well worth the investment.
Here’s our top 5 reasons that custom software makes sense for your business…
1. It can be customised to fit your business
Every business is unique, including yours, but off-the-shelf software fails to account for this. Its ‘one size fits all’ approach supports mass-market production, while delivering a mass of functionality you will never need. What’s worse, some features you do need won’t be there, meaning you have to adapt your business to fit. Conversely, custom software is designed for your specific purposes, and built around your business, processes and operational needs. So it does precisely what you want.
2. It allows you to integrate your existing software
According to McAfee, on average, the largest enterprises use 788 custom apps. Yep, you heard right. While your count is likely much lower, you face the same challenges – namely, making your apps work in harmony, across all your functional teams. This presents issues for off-the-shelf software, typically with limited in-built integrations and poor compatibility with other apps and platforms. With custom software, integrations can be baked-in from the start, so everything works seamlessly.
3. It can grow and evolve with your business
As your business grows, so do your software needs. Off-the-shelf software can evolve too, but usually not how you want it to. Custom software can be infinitely adapted to match your changing needs. Sure, there’s a cost attached, but your starting point is so much better than with rigid off-the-shelf solutions. You can set the exact development direction, determine specific priorities, focus on most-needed features, and mould the solution to fit. So when your business evolves, your software evolves with it.
4. It gives you freedom, flexibility and control
Off-the-shelf software is restrictive. At best, you’re at the mercy of developers who may not share your vision for what the software could and should do. At worst, you’ll be stuck with a clunky legacy product that simply doesn’t deliver – then you’re back to square one. Going custom allows you to avoid these headaches. Building your own software means the code is yours (but check the small print) giving you the freedom and flexibility to endlessly adapt it to your needs. You also have independence from the software developer, meaning you can switch to another supplier or bring it in-house as required.
5. It saves you time, money and headaches
Although custom software may seem like the more time-consuming and expensive option, it can actually save you time and money long-term, while bypassing many pitfalls that plague off-the-shelf products. You’ll limit the need for additional hardware, often required to run off-the-shelf software, as your existing capabilities can be accounted for in a custom build. Additionally, you’ll avoid hefty subscription and licensing costs, forced upgrades and support fees. While custom developers typically offer ongoing maintenance and support packages, these should be transparent and negotiated upfront. Ultimately, you get exactly what you need and remain in control throughout the development process and beyond.
Whatever route you take, investing in software is a key business decision, often with long-lasting implications for your organisation. So it’s important to get it right. If you’d like to discuss your software needs, or have a project you need help with, do get in touch or click below to find out more.
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