Advantages And Disadvantages Of Tailor-made Software. Update 2019.

| 4 min read

Faced with the need for software to improve the performance of your enterprise or company, the first right thing to do would be to evaluate all the pros and cons of this or that approach in solving particular problems. In this article, we will give a brief overview of this topic, which will help you make a final decision.

 

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Tailor-Made Software Brief Intro

Let’s take a look at custom made software definition and explore its advantages and disadvantages. There are many examples of tailor-made software solutions - these can be anything from programs that register hospital patients or goods in the store to web applications created to store data about students in schools or customers in a restaurant.

Tailor-made software definition. But what does the term “tailor-made” exactly mean if we’re talking about software? Basically, it means that the software was at least partially written from scratch by a hired development company or team. Unlike off-the-shelf production, bespoke software includes custom functions depending on the needs of the client.

Generally, there are four types of customized software: general purpose software, entertainment software, special purpose software, professional software.

There is also a classification by the degree to which a software solution is really custom:

  • Fully custom-made - as the name suggests, those are the solutions that were completely made from scratch. This is a relatively rare type of software, as using already existing libraries as the foundation for the app is usually far more beneficial. Few software projects have such an unusual design that the entire thing needs to be created from the ground up.
  • Semi-custom - the most common of the development methodologies, with most custom apps falling into this category. This type of solutions is developed using some already existing software to make the process faster and avoid reinventing the wheel. By utilizing pre-developed libraries, the development team can focus on other, more important aspects of the project.
  • Systems of Custom Software - some companies are using software developed by other organizations with business requirements similar to their own. This is somewhat similar to the previous development type, except here the software development team is using concrete apps and packaged software as the basis for their work.

Custom software - is it worth it? To really understand whether or not using bespoke software will be advantageous for your business model, we need to not just to analyze custom-made web development, but also compare it to the off-the-shelf variant.   

There are pretty good reasons why so many companies go for tailored software.

Let’s start with pros. Here are a few examples:

  • Developing for you. By focusing on specific tasks for a given company or enterprise, developers create a web software or mobile app that includes specific solutions for these tasks. Before the development itself has begun, the software development company or team that you’re working with will discuss with you the features and functionality you want your app to have.
  • Process management. During custom software development, you can get information about the stage of the project anytime you want to make any necessary corrections or additions. This way you have a higher degree of control over the development processes and can be sure that the software you’ll get in the end is what you’ve paid for.
  • Support and maintenance. You are not dependable on the specific vendor or a product owner in a case of the off-the-shelf software. Your developers will be able to provide quality support for the embedded system, since the source codes of all system components are open. You can not only supplement, but also change the system without involving the company-developer.
  • Scalability. Allows you to add components to your software technology at the right time. Taylor-made software can enable a company to improve the functionality and performance by eliminating the purchase of new products and devices. 
  • No extra expenses. Cost estimates are made separately in the course of adding modules of the system.The risk to spend a significant amount of money is vainly minimal. Possibility to accommodate a new requirement at a reasonable cost.
  • Step-by-step documentation. User and production documentation are released during the whole process, which makes it convenient to control the process.
  • Ability to differentiate at the market. The uniqueness of your bespoke software will allow you to solve common tasks for the market in an individual way, which, ultimately, will increase productivity and sales for the business.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to choose custom-made software. However, this type of development services is not without its disadvantages.

So now about the disadvantages of tailor made software:

  • Time. Creating custom software can be time-consuming. Since the software will be created from scratch, it can take more time to do this than to adjust the already finished production.
  • The risk of incompetence. Since custom software is not standardized, the burden of changing and correcting falls entirely to the company you’re working with. And there’s always a risk that they’re lacking the necessary qualifications and extensive experience required to develop a software solution that will suit your needs.
  • Higher investments at the initial stage. It goes without saying that both the individual approach and expertise come at a price. Therefore, you will have to invest more money than if you purchased finished products. 

 

What is off-the-shelf software? A ready-made software that you can simply buy on the market. Having a package of standard solutions for common tasks obviously has its benefits: 

  • Availability. Ready-made software of various quality is always available for everyone who can afford it. Just buy the thing, and it’s done.
  • Reliability. This applies to the software that’s already been in use for some time. You can expect reliable performance from such solutions, and they are likely to have no issues with the trickier parts of the app that some custom developers might struggle with (like user interfaces).
  • Good documentation. Usually, the system is well documented, so you can always know what to expect.

There is, however, a number of disadvantages:

  • Poor scalability. A step away from the logic of the operation of the purchased system can lead to an insoluble problem, or to significant financial and/or time losses.
  • Poor support. Your developers will not be able to provide quality support for the embedded system since the source codes of most of the system components are closed.
  • Unchanged documentation.  The documentation does not reflect the changes that were made during the implementation and which were not tested at the same enterprise.
  • Not industry-specific, which means that the software is not tested in the same conditions.
  • Limited control. The vendor’s plans for the future may not always align with your own.

Comparing the two main ways of getting the necessary software for your business process, we can say that both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Pre-developed software is the more reliable option, so if reliability is what you’re looking for in your business you might want to go with choosing “off-the-shelf” software.

However, if you want your customer service app to have that one unusual feature that will give it a competitive advantage over its rivals, you better go for the custom software development services.

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