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.
The Tailor-Made Software Advantages And Disadvantages
Tailor-Made Software Brief Intro
Custom or tailor-made software solutions are all about an utterly personalized approach to the implementation of a certain product you as an entrepreneur or your company have in mind. This type of contracted development implies that one translates their vision of the result precisely and defines particular, detailed requirements to be eventually met as closely as possible. This usually takes detailed joint planning of the project implementation stages as well as a thorough discussion of certain custom requirements with a client.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at custom made software definitions see where it is most necessarily used, as well as 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 solution 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 where the software development team is using concrete apps and packaged software as the basis for their work.
The necessity of tailor-made software
Custom software solutions can make a firm foundation for your up-and-coming business or new big project - one that would reflect your major business attributes in an authentic manner and pose as an original build among the market’s numerous competitors. One may feel the necessity in the custom software development when there are grand corporate ambitions to fulfill at stake, as well as a sufficient budget to fuel the process up, of course.
And in terms of the pros and cons when it comes to custom software solutions, there are obviously arguments to both sides of the bargain.
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 the 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. It allows you to add components to your software technology at the right time. Tailor-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 custom 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.
All in all, as opposed to bespoke digital products, a customized software solution would most probably cost you more and require more of your or your managers’ time for planning and negotiations, yet grant you practically unlimited opportunities in terms of building and customizing digital assets, as well as the authenticity status.
Off-The-Shelf Software: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Some Facts
What is off-the-shelf software? The term describes ready-made software solutions that you can simply buy on the market. Such products usually come in packages with different pricing and tariffs to choose from, offering different layers of compatibility, capabilities’ range, or customer support. They are also initially designed and intended to be fast at deployment and fit easily certain existing systems without much customization and configuration.
The necessity of the off-the-shelf software
If you own a small- to mid-scale business or wish to enter the commercial arena with a certain, more or less defined budget at hand, then bespoke development may be your perfect, most reasonable choice at achieving these goals. You can choose from numerous options just the thing that would fit your business or promotion ideology, easily purchase it, and continue your business journey with an owned operational product with your/your business’s name on it.
Having a package of standard solutions for common tasks, as in the case with customized products, obviously has its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of the off-the-shelf software
- 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.
Disadvantages of the off-the-shelf software
On the other hand, a number of disadvantages for this type of digital products is as follows:
- 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.
All the pros and cons considered, in comparison with custom solutions, ready-made products can be quite cheaper, accessible in terms of the implementation of the necessary asset, and less resource-demanding as a whole, yet it would be difficult to find something really unique without giving it one’s authentic corporate or private business input.
Bespoke software examples
The range of purpose of ready-made solutions spans over the area of digital services identical to that custom solutions cover, having many IT business and technical iterations. Apart from CSMs, CRMs, and eCommerce websites, you can also purchase off-the-shelf:
- Automated invoicing solutions;
- Bug and code issue tracking products;
- Completely built official websites;
- Business efficiency-boosting tools;
- Affordable, templated corporate or private landings.
Custom software development
An authentic business on the modern business is worth its weight in gold - your brands standing out among the masses can your most powerful competitive advantage and road-to-success paver in the long run. That is possible, however, only with a professional, consistent approach - make sure to only work with and employ top-notch contractors to do the custom work. The overall success of your future solution depends directly on their level of expertise.
What do you strive for the most? Authenticity and high status or practical use with reasonable cost boundaries? Your ultimate choice may depend on a number of decisive factors - from a budget and project’s marketing ambitions to raw practicality and personal approach to doing and building a business.
It is difficult to divide the two major software development approaches by definite directional terms, but if we must, we would define these - reliability and uniqueness.
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.