When a company encounters a software issue, they face the decision to either purchase a commercial solution or develop their own. Various factors, including the software’s intended purpose, costs, and additional considerations, must be carefully assessed to make an informed decision.
Newcomers in the realm of custom software development are not the first to embark on this endeavour. In fact, opting for bespoke solutions can prove more beneficial for businesses than acquiring pre-packaged products.
What specifically demands individualised attention?
When a business realises that off-the-shelf software does not meet their requirements, they may decide to either internally develop their own program or engage an external team for custom software development. Most commercial applications tend to be of the “one-size-fits-all” type, which may impede their effectiveness for a specific organisation.
By opting for custom software, a business grants developers the freedom to incorporate necessary features and tailored functionalities specific to their business needs. For example, when an organisation has exclusive tasks or operations (such as in manufacturing), it can be challenging to discover a software solution that enhances those activities. In such situations, creating bespoke software is the ideal solution.
When is purchasing rather than renting a logical choice?
Commercially available tools may require businesses to pay either one-time licensing charges or recurring subscriptions. It is advisable for them to assess the cost-benefit analysis of developing a bespoke solution to guarantee that it is more cost-efficient than the subscription or initial expense.
It is quite frequent to encounter scenarios across several industries where the cost of purchasing business software and licensing it per user can surpass $50,000 per annum. If a business intends to utilise the application for a significant duration and if in-house development expenses are below $100,000, then creating the software internally proves to be the more economical approach.
Is it necessary to integrate new systems with the existing ones?
When commercial solutions are unsuited for a business’s existing infrastructure, creating custom software can be a compelling reason to opt for this approach. For instance, developing bespoke accounting software that can integrate with other tailored programmes, such as inventory and HR platforms, already in use, can prove to be highly beneficial.
Integrations are a crucial consideration for businesses when selecting software solutions. If the software is not seamlessly integrated with other tools, it can adversely affect employee productivity and user-experience. A business that places a high value on integration but depends upon custom-developed applications may frequently face the need to create fresh software.
What is our stance regarding the security requirements of the company and software?
For businesses concerned about the security of off-the-shelf commercial software, developing bespoke software from scratch is the most prudent choice. Companies that confront significant security risks can make the most of creating their software, as they would have complete control over crucial aspects like access management.
For government organizations, NGOs, or companies with heightened security risks, it is advisable to avoid commercially available tools, especially online applications that store user information on the provider’s server. The use of such tools increases the chances of compromise, as cybercriminals often aim to exploit vulnerabilities in popular systems.
Businesses should meticulously assess the prospective security risks of both off-the-shelf and custom-built software solutions before arriving at a decision. Although undertaking bespoke development may necessitate a higher initial outlay, the cost of coping with the consequences of data breaches, such as stress, financial losses, and reduced productivity is always more significant.
Do we need to be concerned about brand recognition?
Custom software streamlines the process of creating a user interface with the desired visual style for a business. Off-the-shelf software typically does not afford users the opportunity to tailor UI aesthetics, such as color schemes and iconography, to their preferences, implying that all users of the same program will encounter a uniform UI.
Businesses have the option to create custom software that embodies all aspects of their brand, particularly when their brand identity is of the utmost significance. This holds particularly true for customer-facing software since establishing a company’s brand as distinct from the competition is crucial for success in any industry.
Is the creator of the software a potential threat?
For businesses that give top priority to software development, it is more advantageous to develop their own bespoke applications rather than buying applications created by other organizations or businesses whose primary objective is revenue generation. If a company also operates in the accounting software market, using a competitor’s app for accounting purposes may lead to falling behind in the competition.
Because of a lack of faith in the products of their competitors, many major technology firms tend to build their own proprietary solutions for in-house usage. Facebook (or Meta) is unlikely to adopt Google Meet as a remote collaboration platform due to Google’s status as a major rival. In such circumstances, they must either collaborate with non-competing companies or develop a bespoke solution.
Take Control and Make a Careful Choice
When choosing between developing in-house software or purchasing prefabricated software, businesses must thoughtfully weigh the consequences of each alternative. Specific task needs may necessitate highly customized solutions, whereas more generic solutions may suffice in other circumstances. The specific requirements of the job must be taken into account.