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Software Development
Priyank Panchal | PriyankPanchal

Comparing Custom Software Features against Off-the-Shelf Products

Dec 1st 2014 at 9:04 PM

Constantly improving business processes to boost a company's productivity and promote growth should be one of the main things business owners and managers should pay attention to when running an enterprise. The big debate on whether custom software is truly the better choice for a business than commercial, off-the-shelf products still on-going, but the best answer to this is a cliché "it depends." As generic as this may sound, choosing the best type of software product to use for your company truly depends on your business' needs and the direction you want your future business to take. Both types of programs have their own pros and cons:

•    Off-the-Shelf product – Commercial off-the-shelf programs or software systems require low initial investment. Off-the-shelf solutions, in fact, offer substantial money savings, off-the-bat compared to custom-made programs, making them the more appealing option for small start-ups that don't really need much customisation. Sometimes, off-the-shelf products have free trial periods where you can gauge whether or not it is right for your business. Some also offer money-back guarantees should you be unsatisfied with your purchase. These ready-made programs are also quicker to deploy and provides you access to a good user community. Upgrades, on the other hand, cost extra should you decide to add features that would make operations easier. Other drawbacks include their generic nature, which makes them more suited for basic operations. This means that they may not be able to satisfy the unique needs of your business, yet you are paying for features that you don't necessarily need.

•    Custom-built solutionsCustom-made software solutions and systems are designed to suit the exact needs of your business. While you may have to pay substantially more during the initial development stages, you can be sure that all the features included within the package can be used and maximised for the good of your business. Custom solutions can even be designed to support the future demands of your business. Bespoke software programs are also easier to adapt to, especially when building systems that are meant to be integrated with existing programs. Custom solutions also allow you to start small to anticipate growth as the business progresses and changes according to its own pace. While custom software solutions have higher upfront cost, they are less expensive in the long haul, as they relieve you of license fees and upgrade fees, often associated with commercial products.

About the Author:

This article is written by Priyank Panchal who is head of development at Schnell Solutions Limited. He leads several teams of multi-skilled software developers which work with Schnell's customer around the globe on their IT transformation and modernisation initiatives including bespoke software applications. He is also responsible for various services offered by Schnell viz. Bespoke Software Development and Consulting, Web and Mobile App Development, IT Audit and Ebase Xi. Prior to working with Schnell, Priyank has worked for a large multi-national organisation which specialises in Integration and Automation, and responsible for creating and delivering innovative web and service transformation projects across the globe.

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