If you’re looking for software to increase productivity at your business, you have probably considered two options: off-the-shelf software, or custom-built software. While both options certainly have their pros and cons, many businesses are drawn to having custom software developed. That attraction is understandable, since unique software built specifically for one business feels shiny, new, and special in a way that off-the-shelf software can never be.
Boxed software is targeted toward a mass-market audience, not a specific company. As a result, it’s often missing features you might need or want for your business, instead bogged down with extra features that get in the way and hog valuable storage space.
On the other hand, custom software is designed for one business only, personalized for its operations, providing everything employees need to do their jobs. Also, the end result usually isn’t bloated with unnecessary extras, making it faster and easier to use. So what are the downsides?
Before rushing into the custom software development process, as great as it may seem, consider these points.
Custom software development can take a long time, so don’t expect to have functioning software anytime soon. That’s because software development firms almost always have to start from scratch, repurposing only small segments of code. As a result, the average development timeline is anywhere from four to nine months, and can grow unchecked as additional requirements are added along the way.
Because custom development starts from square one, many revisions are necessary to fix bugs and ensure it meets your business’s needs. That all contributes to longer development times and increasing frustration for everyone.
Compare custom software development costs to that of off-the-shelf software and you’ll notice a pretty hefty price difference. Custom software can be extremely expensive, costing anywhere from $10,000 to $1 million. Most smaller companies and early-stage startups just can’t afford to shell out for that kind of expense.
Off-the-shelf software is cheaper because the developer can spread out the cost of creation across an entire market. But, with custom software development, the product is made for one specific business. This means the entire cost must be shouldered by one business alone.
Custom software can be difficult to set up and use, even after it’s perfectly tailored to your business. Because custom web applications are one-of-a-kind, they typically pack a huge learning curve for employees, who’ve never used them in previous jobs. As a result, before employees use the software solutions productively, they’ll spend a good bit of time learning to use it.
The software likely doesn’t come with a technical booklet explaining how to start up, find features, or solve errors. There’s no online forum of savvy users to turn to. And, there’s probably not one main developer or project manager who knows the ins and outs of the software. Employees at your business are on their own when learning how to use the software.
Custom software like mobile applications can burden a business with lengthy development times, steep costs of design development, and staff training. Often they’re a great way for a software company to tack on technology consulting services to keep you around. So, what can your business do to dodge these negative aspects?
There is another business software option that falls in the space between off-the-shelf and custom software. You can think of this software as off-the-shelf software that receives aftermarket modifications. Or, think of it as custom software without all the costs, development times—instead, it’s a cutting-edge package of off-the-shelf parts.
Basically, a full-stack developer creates premade software parts. When your business wants software, the premade parts can be glued together in a unique way, forming the perfect setup for your business goals.
This twist on custom software development is relatively new. A handful of custom software development companies, like us here at OptimumHQ, are pioneering this type of business software and we’re eager to show you what it can do.
Venture into this new territory, and prepare to receive world-class customized software without the ongoing headache of full custom software development. Instead, your business processes can benefit from several key factors.
This route is cheaper than full custom development. Because the design development involves making software components in advance and piecing them together in unique ways, development costs can be split among several software builds. That means lower costs of implementation for the customer!
While this software option is still more expensive than cookie-cutter software, it’s almost always cheaper than full custom development. This development option is accessible to more businesses, meaning you can purchase customized software without blowing your entire budget.
With this in-between software option, the developer builds software components before your business ever requests software. The developer pieces the parts together to create the software your business needs.
Like open source software, the individual parts are already built and tested, which means the software takes less time to customize and debug than end-to-end custom software development.
Even though development companies premake the initial software components, they can still design the automation to meet your business goals. Because the components are premade, continuously customizing the software can be far less expensive than paying for a brand new software version. This allows the software to adapt as your business does.
Over time, your software solutions continue to grow with your business. You’re not stuck with rigid, finalized products that will force you to shell out even more money to update. And, of course, you’re not constrained to the limitations of off-the-shelf web applications.
As you now know, there’s another option out there for business software other than off-the-shelf and fully customized software. You can have customized software without losing sleep over the headaches of custom development.
Before spending thousands on custom web or mobile app development for your business needs, consider semi-custom options like what we offer here at OptimumHQ. This new type of custom software development can save your business tons of time and money, with software solutions that don’t become prehistoric as your business changes.Related reading: