Let’s imagine you are a small, medium, or even a large business. And, there’s a need to optimize and automate your business processes. This is a specific need that can be met with the help of software development. But, you have a choice. Pick either off-the-shelf or custom software to meet your business goal. Which one would be better in your case? And what’s the difference between off-the-shelf and custom software? If you can’t tell right away, then this article is just for you! Get to know which applications are the best match to meet your business requirements.
What’s the difference between custom-written vs off-the-shelf software?
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Here’s some information on the custom software vs off-the-shelf software difference. Let’s explore!
Custom software is the type of software designed to meet a customer’s specific business need. This means the challenges this software has to solve are dedicated to a business-related purpose. The team will gather requirements, write documentation, and offer an app, which will encompass every issue you’d like to have settled. And, even more, software engineering experts will offer at least several ways you can make things work. In the end, the application will be a perfect solution that will fulfill your major and minor needs. This will make your business grow and scale.
There are two most common custom software examples:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
These have unique features and functions, the implementation of which focuses on a specific group of people and their needs.
But even though custom software development is time-consuming and will require more costs, it is, by all means, what you should invest your time and money in. This is a solution that will be 100% business-related and will strike every potential need with a great solution. Here, you risk nothing at all. And, even if you will still need extra support from the provider, that’s also great. You won’t have to worry about app crashes and malfunctions. Your provider will have it covered for you.
Off-the-shelf software is packaged software that can meet your business needs only to a certain extent. For example, you still can customize and automate your business processes, but only partially and not the way you’d probably want to. It’s cheaper, faster to buy or subscribe to and integrate your business with. Also, it requires less support as you mostly handle it on your own.
Some of the examples of off-the-shelf software are email suits, games, anti-viruses, editing software. These have ownership, are easily accessible, simple to install and use.
So, an off-the-shelf solution requires days to be adjusted to, cannot be modified even if your business expands. And, if might be incompatible with your operating system or with the other business software. This solution belongs to mass production, and, this way, anyone can have it and make use of it. There’s nothing innovative about it.
Major differences between off-the-shelf and custom-written software
Let’s summarise the previous difference between off-the-shelf and custom-written software. Here, the main pros and cons are in:
Custom software is created specifically to meet every customer requirement there is. It’s an individual and personalized solution no one else can have. And, off-the-shelf software is a ready-made solution produced on the mass market. It can suit any business and meets business requirements only partially.
2. Timeline and cost
The timeline of the custom software development can be from months to years, so it is better to be prepared for a long wait. And, the cost of a custom solution will be higher. On the contrary, packaged software does not need any time for production. Time is needed only to integrate it into your business. Also, it will be cheaper. So, you waste no time and no money. But, there’re risks as to its efficiency.
Custom solutions are deployed to be fully compatible with your business operating systems and other software. For this reason, they are being tested by expert QA engineers until no defects are found. The off-the-shelf solution cannot be tested as it is a completed product and it might cause trouble with operating system compatibility and might not integrate with other business software.
4. Customization and modification
Custom-developed software is extremely customizable and can be modified according to customer wishes. Off-the-shelf software will not be modified even if your business expands and grows. Here, you will have to buy another software product. No modification is possible.
5. App support
Custom software development has support as its sixth stage of development. So, it’s obligatory and is included in the whole SDLC. Software engineers test the app after launch and fix defects when these occur. Ready-made software has community support you can turn to if there are issues. But you’ll probably get ways of fixing issues with your own hands rather than teamwork, etc.
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Pieces of advice on what to choose: off-the-shelf or custom software
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Of course, Inoxoft prepared a piece of advice that will help you make the right choice! Read the following 5 tips and enjoy the benefits of more comprehensive decision-making.
1. Study your business needs
Before getting started, always have a plan. Study your business, think over business-enhancement requirements. What are the pain points you need to get addressed? Ate they too specific or just basic ones? Do you need to be innovative or do you need a solution every second business uses? The answers to these questions will give you an idea of where you stand and what software to choose – custom-written vs off-the-shelf software.
2. Evaluate your time and budget
Also to clearly understand what you need, you should also take into consideration whether you can wait for months on a custom software solution or if you can’t wait at all. And, the most crucial factor is your budget. Can you invest in the project constantly or do you have a fixed budget? Figure out these factors as well.
3. Focus on business growth
Every business tends to grow over time. In this case, your software solution should grow with the business. If you decided on custom software development – good for you! But if you bought a ready-made solution – you will need to spend more money on finding another solution. Why, because off-the-shelf software meets only some requirements and cannot expand or adjust to the new possibilities your business wants to have.
4. Functionality and integrations
Custom-developed software can have all the functionality you only ask for, it can be modified and integrated seamlessly with any other software. But, the off-the-shelf software has no such opportunities. It is rather incompatible, unmodifiable, and just the way it is. Buy it or leave it. It has a basic package suitable for all businesses but adjustable to a little extent. You may buy it and use only 30% of its functionality for the rest 70% are not needed.
5. Need further support?
If you need your app to be supported after launch and any minor issue fixed right away, choose custom-built applications. If you don’t need that much support, you can always rely on a community tech operator that has to be there 24/7. But you will have to fix the problem by yourself, eventually.
So, compare custom-made software vs off-the-shelf and choose what your business needs.
Our experience with custom-built vs off-the-shelf software
Inoxoft is a custom software development company offering web and app development services for startups. We do not launch the ready-made products as we believe these to be less functional or customized than the custom ones. Besides, Inoxoft aims at meeting 100% of client goals by fulfilling every requirement and enhancing the clients’ business potential. We are also among the best software development companies in New York, the United States, and across the whole of America.
Our custom software development services focus on the 5 industries:
Contact Inoxoft and receive the best services such as:
Also, consider the benefits of our in-house development vs outsourcing.
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The article spoke about custom vs off-the-shelf software and its advantages and disadvantages. But the choice of a solution that will help your business scale and advance should be based on your preferences and needs. Choosing off-the-shelf software vs custom software is never a matter of fuss and you should weigh your decision 100%. And, without a doubt, you will pick up the software that will meet your intentions the most. Benefit from the innovative solutions of today!