Custom Software: Does Buying Off-the-Shelf Software Save Money for Your Business?
June 15, 2015
Custom Software Vs. Off-the-Shelf Software: Which is right for my business?
When it comes to making a decision about purchasing software, you are faced with a wide array of decisions, such as picking a vendor, a platform, and so on. If the problem you are trying to solve, or business process you are modeling is reasonably complex, then you may be looking at a custom software solution. Or, you may be weighing the option of purchasing a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution and customizing it to fit your company’s needs.
Sadly, an off-the-shelf solution is often too much or too little. Because they are created to fit the basic needs of everyone in the target market, the COTS you find may lack some features you wish you had, or you may be stuck paying for features you don’t need. Even if it can be made to fit, the costs to customize and configure from off-the-shelf can be high.
A custom solution offers the benefit of being tailored to fit just your needs – no more, no less. It can reduce training time, and will speed up deployment and adoption by your users by replicating a familiar process. It can fill a niche and model your business flow, instead of forcing you to change processes you already depend on.
Custom Software Benefits
Custom software allows you to decide exactly what you need, helps you pay only for the features you want, and gives you the ability to shape the product along the roads on which you want to take your business. A custom app allows you to update and expand functionality as needed, instead of having to wait for a new release or feature set. In addition, you can pull data from multiple internal and external sources to create a dynamic system to enhance your business intelligence.
Consumers often do well with off-the-shelf software because the pros of COTS cover the basic needs of the average consumer. That’s great news for people who manage their personal finances, communication, and so forth at home!
Businesses, though, often need software to fit them a bit more smoothly. Custom software brings that extra flexibility, productivity, and fluidity–without any expensive extra bells and whistles.
The Final Verdict
So how do you choose what type of software to use? It really boils down to the goals and needs of your company. The majority of companies save more time and money in the long run when they choose to go with software that is customized to their teams’ various goals and needs.
We had to evaluate the question for our own company as well. And now? The team here even makes custom software for our employees’ internal needs. Whether it’s something as simple as creating our own interface for the story writer to easily input dialogue for our upcoming mobile game, or just speeding up and simplifying daily processes that would usually have taken our engineers extra time, we choose the features we want for our team members. We’ve found it saves us time and money, as well as offering us the opportunity for flexibility and growth.
Custom software? We’re all for it, as long as it’s the right move for your company and can done within your budget. That’s why we offer custom software; our personal experience has shown our team that it generally works more efficiently for a company than off-the-shelf software does.
Examine the needs of your employees and the goals of your company. Learn more about the commercial off-the-shelf software you’re looking into, and talk to a good custom software company, one that will get the job done as if they’re part of your team. Weigh the options you’ve found. Then all you need to do is choose which software is more economical, efficient, and beneficial for your company in the long-term.
Happy hunting! Comment to let us know whether you end up choosing commercial off-the-shelf software or custom software, and how the decision affects your company.
Gray Anthony, Software Engineer
At Cii Technology Solutions, we use a collaborative development process which values your input and tries to help you see new benefits that technology can bring to your business. Our software design experts work with you to streamline processes, eliminate waste, and improve productivity by delivering a true custom software solution.