Depending on how deep is your knowledge about software and how to use it for your business; it seems to be obvious to choose between custom software and off-the-shelf software solutions. While millions of users use off-the-shelf packages, custom software can be customized on the basis of an individual’s needs.
Off-the-shelf software is ready to use as soon as installed in any system or device. A custom software solution, on the other hand, is developed according to specific requirements and specifications. The two technologies have a huge gap between their functionalities, performance, and usability. Each has its own merits and demerits. Let’s discuss the core differences first.
- Price: Custom software solutions are relatively expensive to build than off-the-shelf software solutions. The cost of developing an off-the-shelf software solution is distributed between a number of buyers. Thus, the pricing is spread over the number of licenses that will be sold while custom software is made only for one buyer.
- Generic Build: Off-the-shelf software is usually spread amongst numerous buyers as it is made for a wider range of users. Ready-made software does not fulfill all the requirements of every individual company as its development provides a standard design and pre-defined framework. Custom software incorporates current processes and builds an electronic framework to automate them. It can suit your needs and you are also able to fine tune the software performance.
- Updates: Off-the-shelf software requires an update fee for a revision every time. Sometimes, there are no updates for a long time and that leads to repercussions in your business. Customized software can be updated as per the business requirements and budget if needed. It is built as per the required specifications.
There are disadvantages and advantages to both off-the-shelf and custom software solutions. Above are the core differences and below are the pros and cons to the same for a clearer comparison to know what suits your business better.
Off-the-shelf software: Pros
- Off-the-shelf is comparatively lower in price. Its cost of development is distributed among a large number of users.
- They are relatively more sophisticated than custom software. For example, Microsoft Office.
Off-the-shelf software: Cons
- Ready-made software is more of a compromise since they’re designed to cater to numerous business requirements and not specifically a particular once.
- Such software solutions are very complex and contain a number of large sections which are never to be used.
- Since this software is so complex and large in nature, they require time to be learned.
- Adjustments are required in order to fit in with the operations of this software due to its complicated design. There are operations you want to operate but won’t be possible with the software.
- Since your competitors are at the same level, there will be no additional advantage for you to use the same existing software solution that the market already has.
Custom Software: Pros
- Since the software is built as per the requirements of your business, it is unique and it’ll suit the budget of the company.
- Custom software solutions are developed to fulfill specific and unique client requirements. They can be tailored and operated according to the business needs.
- Custom or Bespoke software solutions develop along with the business. It can be tuned and modified as per the business requirements. Custom software is flexible in nature and can be changed as the business changes.
- Bespoke solutions increase productivity and are easy to use. The repetitive tasks are done automatically as it requires less supervision and almost everything is in control.
- Due to its uniqueness, the software keeps your business aside from the competition and can add value to your business.
- Business information is easier to understand. This is because the custom software incorporates all the business knowledge and required information can be integrated from disparate applications existing.
Custom Software: Cons
- Your business is doomed without the source code. It is risky for a business to not have the source code. The business becomes dependent on continuous existence and goodwill of the developer. To avoid this, make sure the developer provides you with the source code.
- In case of instability and unreliability of the software, the developed software can be full of bugs as it may not have been developed to professional Best Practice standards. However, this can be true for packaged software as well but a developer who can counter any such risk would keep rectifying the complications.
The differences discussed above would make it easier for a company or a business to figure out whether to go for an off-the-shelf or a custom (bespoke) software solution. Custom software solutions should always be preferred in any business due to its personalization and custom-built just as the business requires. Off-the-shelf software may help for a short term but it requires renewing and updates after a while, that’s when they fail to fulfill the business requirements. Custom software development is being adopted in many verticals of business with the growing need for automation in almost every business process. With a stack of technologies like AI, Big Data, Machine Learning, Business Intelligence, Cloud Computing etc, Quarks provides custom software development services in every possible business vertical like insurance, real estate, E-commerce, education, and many more.