Custom Software vs Off-the-Shelf Software

Manufacturers always strategize methods in which they can help their business remain or become successful. There are so many available options that promise to be the best thing for business growth and success. Many times, companies find out through trial and error to determine which approach is best for their business. One of the greatest dilemmas that some companies face is the decision between custom software or off-the-shelf software. Choosing the way to go is a major deal because it can make or break the success of the company in many areas. Making an informed decision is the only way to decide which is best for your business. Informed decisions prevent the company from suffering due to a bad decision on their software installation.

Off-the-shelf software is one that is ready to use after installing it on the computer or other devices. Custom designed software is developed based on the needs and specifications of the company. The divide between the two software is extensive use, performance, and function. There are a few considerations to help manufacturers decide which is the best option for their business and what benefits one has over the other.

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Cost is a factor that many companies must undergo because of the budget. There will be a moderate price-point for any off-the-shelf software vs. a custom software developed for one particular business. It’s simple logic, any expenses directly linked to the creation of an off-the-shelf software proportioned along a vast quantity of buyers. Because of this, cost spans over the many licenses that will be purchased. Custom software developed for an individual customer, and all the expenses are to be consumed by a single company.

Generic Design

The answer to the above question is a simple one. A company that buys software off-the-shelf is obtaining software that has been developed for a broad audience. Therefore, the developers created a product implemented on a predetermined scope and design. This makes the component ready for use but still may not meet the needs and requirements of all companies. As a result, most manufacturers that purchase the generic product will need to make adjustments or sacrifices before launching the software. This is one of the biggest disadvantages to utilizing the off-the-shelf software. Customized options fuse iatrical processes of the individual company and develop an electronic platform for their use. The anomaly is that processes are not altered in any manner and manufacturers quickly become familiar with it in no time. There is an enormous amount of flexibility that exists in customized software which allows users to adjust it for superior performance.

Custom Software and Off-the-shelf Software Updates

Any off-the-shelf software will be subjected to generic updates. Each software revision will require that you pay for the upgrade. Depending on the software, the timing of these updates will vary. This is harmful to the business in two ways. First, if you are forced to pay for frequent updates, you are spending more than the initial cost of the software and could easily spend more than the cost associated with customized options. Secondly, if the generic software being used for the business does not update frequently, it could become outdated and negatively affect the business and its production. Updates for custom software are conducted per the owner’s request based on the requirements and always with consideration to the budget.

The 100% Solution

Custom software is designed for a particular business to meet 100% of its needs. The purchase of a generic software puts the company at risk of having only a percentage of this needs to be accommodated, which could cause the company to default in many areas. The decision to sacrifice a small portion of the needs of a business is extremely risky and could lead to long-term negative impact.

Customization Limits

There are several generic software that claims to be customizable, but there are severe limitations to those options, and it’s not a guarantee that the available customizations will meet the needs of the company. In many cases, businesses purchase generic software with plans to customize and find that the effort is extensive and naturally less beneficial than buying customized software.

Extensibility Limitations

The investment in software should be one that accommodates the current and forecasted needs of the business. Therefore, you must be confident that an off-the-shelf software is designed to expand your business. Off-the-shelf software is almost impossible to gauge and could prove as a costly error in the long-run. Custom software is designed for the company and with the potential to expand and meet the needs of the business.

Custom software is developed to accommodate the requirements and specifications of the business successfully. Businesses have individual needs and plan to succeed or based on the approach to these demands. To properly function from a business standpoint, complete use of the software is required. There is no room for growth when the company lacks in a percentage of its software capabilities. The off-the-shelf software presents certain features that some manufacturers just can’t or will never use in their performance. The effectiveness of the software is impossible to perceive when needed features are unavailable or when customized options for the generic brand presents limitations beyond the possibilities of the business.

If you are faced with the decision of purchasing off-the-shelf or customized software, it is best to consider the long-term effectiveness of each. This is necessary because you desire for your business to have the long-term success that doesn’t require frequent updates or run the risk of failing due to an outdated option. Factory Solutions is here to help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of custom applications vs. generic software. We specialize in every aspect of business software and a vast range of custom applications. Please contact us for a consultation to determine the software solution that will best accommodate your company.


Author: Eric Raio

Eric Raio is one of the founders of Factory Solutions. When he isn't plotting new ways to create awesome software. He likes to geek out about flying drones and technology.

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