Why successful businesses prefer custom software over off-the-shelf

Why successful businesses prefer custom software over off-the-shelf

Adina Humayoon

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November 4, 2021

Updated: November 5, 2021

Offering a digital solution for clients is the ultimate futuristic goal of every company, whether it be e-commerce, healthcare, or on-demand service delivery. But lately, this has become more of a necessity instead of a company’s “5-year plan”. 

The post-pandemic era has forced numerous businesses to move their mode of work to a much more digitized and remote platform that is easy to access and control from anywhere. These digitized platforms are classified under two categories, custom software development (CSD) and off the rack software. The real struggle arrives when it comes down to choosing any one of the two software.   

Before getting into it, there are tons of things to be considered when narrowing down the choice and technicalities with either type of software. To make an informed decision, the first step is comparing the two setups, and having a basic understanding of when custom software or off-the-shelf software is required. What are they, and what distinguishes one from the other, and most of all, how are they going to benefit the client and their business without causing much disruption to the system. 

Off the shelf vs Custom Software

Custom software vs. off-the-shelf: what are they?

Off the rack and custom software are polar opposites. Despite offering similar services, they are extremely different from each other. Let’s take a look at what they are. 

Custom-made software

Off the rack and custom software are polar opposites. Despite offering similar services, they are extremely different from each other. Let’s take a look at what they are. 

Custom software application development is a dream project that every software development company loves to work on. It is completely custom-built, made exclusively by following a brief provided by the client. 

Custom Software Development focuses on the client’s product goals and needs, targets an idea, and works around it to cater to market needs. VentureDive plays a vital role in executing that idea into reality, with an in-house team of expert engineers and designers working extensively on individual custom-made products. Companies opting for custom software development usually have a clear understanding of the service and the approach that they need to create an amazing product, and VentureDive takes it one step further with their top-notch skills and execution.  

But why do businesses opt for CSD? Well, there are a number of factors that give customized application software an upper hand in the software development industry. Some of these include: 

Time: Creating custom-written software is a lengthy process, to say the least. It takes months of hard work, research, and a highly-skilled procedure of quality assurance to finally create a product that is well suited for the client’s needs. It may be time-consuming but is definitely worth it in the long run. 

Cost: The high initial cost is a given with this bespoke software, but if you look at it in a way, it’s a long-term investment that will only generate tons of revenue and branch out in the long run. And keeping this in mind will relieve you of the need to pay frequently for minor upgrades or bug fixes.

Maintenance: Speaking of bugs, one of the major advantages that custom-made software has is that there is barely any need for frequent maintenance, as it is built by experienced developers and engineers with flawless execution. The only maintenance it may require is when the software requires an update.

Scalability: With Custom Software development, the possibilities for expansion are endless. Modification and customization according to the client’s needs and demand is a huge benefit that is given with custom solutions. This leaves room for scalability in the near future as the business expands and grows, without having to strip down the existing UI and create everything from scratch.

Off-the-shelf software

What is off-the-shelf software, and what features and advantages does it bring to the industry? off-the-shelf software may have been under the radar for quite some time as it is a great opportunity for small businesses to dive into the digital market. Off the shelf softwares are ready-made software, which may have different packages available for sale. It usually comes with a set of pre-installed features and plug-ins that you can utilize for your business. 

Time: A perfect solution if you are under a time constraint, or need go-to-market results quickly. Off-the-shelf software solutions are easy to acquire, as they are ready-made and available in the market at all times. Since it’s readily available, it is the first option for countless small-scaled businesses that have little knowledge about software development, and reach for an option that is simple and quick.

Cost: Off-the-shelf solutions applications are extremely cost-effective initially. The readily available setups are generated for the masses, with a ton of potential buyers who are trying to build a business on a budget. But there are several hidden costs attached to off-the-rack systems that clients are unaware of in the beginning. These are the costs of frequent updates or maintenance to fulfill the client’s needs which are otherwise not being met, giving them another reason to switch to custom-made software. And not to mention the subscription and licensing fees like we get to see in SaaS.

Large Community Support: The best feature in an off-the-shelf software is that you have a large community to turn back to in case you run into an issue with your program. Since it’s a commonly available setup, acquired by numerous businesses, a chain of similarity runs throughout, which means that others must have faced the same issues as you have, and they might have a solution for it that you can use. 

References: Prior user experience and references of off-the-shelf software are of great help for businesses, to decipher whether the application is suitable for them or not. A trusted system and setup will help clients get an idea of what awaits them, and can even opt for a trial run before investing in the product completely.

Custom software: pros, cons and everything else

Pros

  • A custom-built setup is made from scratch, tailored to the client’s needs mentioned in their requirement brief.
  • Works on a “you dream, we create” basis, where there is no limit to what functionalities you can feature in your product. 
  • No hidden charges or frequent upgrades and maintenance on the product.
  • Custom software can not be replicated in any form, giving you an upper hand with your competitors in the market. Your product will remain relevant and unique in all forms.
  • Undergoes thorough QA in all development phases of the product, with back and forth communication for smooth transitioning. 
  • Fool-proof setup with no bug-ridden issues and flawless design and UI.
  • A team of specialized engineers and developers familiar with the product will be available at all hours for immediate fixes if needed. 

Cons

  • Custom software takes months to get ready and reaches perfection after thorough testing and development phases. If you are looking for a quick fix, this is not it. 
  • It is expensive! Custom software development is something that will cost you a lot, but it is a one-time investment with no hidden charges and does not require you to pool money for every upgrade. 
  • The client will always be dependent on the company creating the software for any fixes and upgrades, in case they are not available, it can lead to several issues caused by the delay. 

Off-the-shelf: pros, cons and everything else

Pros

  • Off-the-shelf software will save you a ton of money and time. Not only is it cheap but also readily available for clients to license and acquire. 
  • Small scale businesses have a huge advantage with off-the-shelf software; it can be the best platform for them to enter the digital market, with promising results leading to a successful business. 
  • Clients won’t have to think much while acquiring an off-the-shelf software, as there are numerous reviews and references available on the web, vouching for the reliability and functionality of the product.

Cons

  • Off the shelf solutions are temporary. In the longer run, it will not support your requirements, and you will have to shift to a custom software as it offers reliability and scalability.
  • Off-the-shelf software will not be able to cater to all the client’s requirements and will demand frequent and expensive upgrades to fulfill their specific needs. 
  • You will have to pay for services that you may never use, and it might cause your software to lag and interrupt functions of the existing services in use.
  • It’s impossible to alter or modify according to your project’s needs, you will have to work around the existing features that may limit the functionality.
  • Off-the-shelf software is easily replicable, no matter how hard you have worked on your project, your competitor has an advantage over you, and they can easily reproduce your work.
  • Companies are going to outgrow OTS soon when they reach their full potential, leaving them back to square one on what they should do to further excel their product and brand. 

Final verdict

In this off-the-shelf vs. custom software race, it’s clear as to why businesses prefer custom software solutions over off-the-shelf software. Not only is it the best setup for a rapidly growing business in the vast industry of digital marketing, but it is also a fruitful investment that will give back to your company as well as fulfilling its purpose rightfully.

FAQs for custom softwares and over the shelf softwares

Off-the-shelf software’s advantages range from being a quick and cost-effective solution for small scale businesses. It maintains a good repute in the market with numerous references and reviews, enabling people to have a good idea of what they are buying. Moreover, users can also have a short trial of the services with tons of in-built features all at a super affordable and convenient initial price.

Custom developed software is a dream transitioned into reality, whatever the client wishes to see in their product, the custom software development companies make it possible, with a fully customized setup. Moreover, it also has the ability to make immediate changes without costing extra frequently. It is flawless, with countless testings done and top-notch quality assurance phases to make it possible.

Not really, off the shelf software is there because users need a ready-made solution in a strict time frame. And these software are already configured with numerous sets of tools and features that will remain a part of the application, even if you require it or not. Of course, there are going to be frequent upgrades within the software that the client must look out for.

CSDCustom Software DevelopmentMobile app developmentTechnologyWeb Development


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