Custom Software Verus Off-The-Shelf Software

This is a question most organizations come up against deciding if building a completely custom software system to handle their business requirements is worth the cost.  In the real world, this almost always comes down to a couple of factors time and cost

Here are few bullets to help you decide what route to take.

Choose custom software when:

  • You need a highly customized system that suits your business needs and gives you a competitive advantage and off-the-shelf software may not fit the bill.
  • You need it to be compatible with other systems, flexible to include any changes that you may need  to keep up with change business model or API integrations
  • You work with highly sensitive data and security is a concern. Off-the-Shelf systems are often targeted more often because the reward is higher.
  • You are looking to increase your efficiency by automating repetitive tasks the software will significantly improve your productivity and reduce cost in the future.

Choose commercial off-the-shelf software when:

  • Investments for custom software are too high or ROI is not great enough.
  • You are a very small organization and there are no plans or opportunities to scale-up.
  • No integration requirements or security concerns.
  • You are in a hurry.

A few examples of custom software systems:

  • The insurance company needed custom software to handle claims quickly during natural disasters.
  • Roofing company builts a CRM to handle all of the special business rules in their industry
  • A company that sells auto dealerships needed a custom workflow with document signing to get deals done quickly and efficiently.