In this dynamic and ever-changing world of business, sometimes it becomes quite difficult for business owners to decide whether to go for implementation of a ready software or to hire a team to make customized software specific to the business needs. There is a vast difference between custom built software and canned software. Both have their own benefits and limitations. Finding out the best way to go about your business is more of the situation and need-based.
The best way to be consistent is to change with the circumstances. - Winston Churchill
Let us learn more in detail about the pros and cons of packaged as well as custom software that will help you define and plan the software strategy for your business needs.
It’s a ready built generalized software package which has been built by the software vendors considering the pain areas of multiple industries.
Low cost: The software development cost spreads to the multiple users who all buy the licenses from the software vendor and use the product. Hence, the buyer needs to pay for only the license cost and not the actual total development cost of the software. Buyer will have only access to use the features and proprietorship will remain with the software vendor.
Instant access: As soon as you purchase the software solution from the vendor and install it on your computer or the compatible device, you will have instant access to start using the product features.
No tech hiring / supervision: As its ready built software, you don’t need to hire technical consultants to develop the solution or to supervise the technicality involved in the product development cycle. This saves a lot of time for businesses which need instant implementation of the software.
Important factors to keep in mind before you go for the off-the-shelf / canned software product.
Customization difficulty: As it is built for a generalized purpose, it may have many features for you of no use. As and when your business will grow, some specialized feature requests may arise for your business flow and at that time customization of the product could be difficult due to many reasons or limitations of the structure built to support the inbuilt features.
Software updates: Software updates release is the updated version of the product which either includes some bug fixing or functionality improved code developed by the vendor. For the improvised version; software vendor has to invest a good maintenance amount on an ongoing base. So if the product vendor stops enhancing or improving the product code, your software will get outdated after few years.
Support: As canned software is not specific to your business needs, frequent support needs arise for your staff to learn the product features or for change request.
All of the above points may affect your business productivity and ROI (return on investment).
Now, let us understand when you should go for the custom built software and also let’s look at its limitations.
Custom software is a product developed to suffice specific business needs. Business owner can engage its in-house development team or can hire offshore development team to get custom software developed. Businesses which are not in IT, generally hire an offshore development expert so that they can focus on their core business and also leverage the benefits of using expert IT team by outsourcing their software related needs.
Ownership: Because the software is customized to your business needs, you get ownership of the product. You may also sell licenses of the software or just use for yourself to stand out in the market by leveraging own technology-driven solution and not using the packaged software which has been used by thousands of your other competitors.
Easy customization and integration: As it is a tailored made technology solution for your needs, customization is easy and it can be robust software where in any third-party APIs integration is possible and this let’s your software connect to the other softwares to pull data at a single place for unique and desired operations for your business needs.
Productivity: As it is been designed as per your defined requirements and guidelines, you will know the ins and outs of the software product hence it will be very easy to operate for you and your staff. You can also upgrade the features whenever your business requirements get altered to meet business revolutions in future for constant higher performance and to maintain productivity and ROI.
Immediate business needs and short-term goals can be sufficed easily with the packaged software. However, for long-term business plans, where in possible business structure, flow and needs are going to change or keep changing and also if your requirements are unique than the standard industry needs, it would be better to invest in hiring custom software developers team to build your proprietorship custom software which facilitates specific features and needs of your business and helps you keep your ROI high by adding unique features in your product compared to the standard available features of the canned software. Also, you would have the facility to develop software as and when you want with full customization liberty with custom software development.