Business owners and entrepreneurs have to stay up to speed on incorporating new technologies into their business. However, busy business owners can’t always be expected to know a lot about developing their own software applications. This leads to the question of whether you should buy an off-the-shelf solution, or pay a developer to create a customized application for your business.
What can customized software do for your business?
There are definite advantages to having software customized for your business. For instance, paying to have an application designed specifically for you means that you can ensure it will meet every need. While store-bought software usually will meet your basic needs, more specialized requirements may go unmet. For that, you’ll need a developer to customize something.
Similarly, a customized software program can be more flexible and you can ask the developer to add or subtract certain features. Where a store bought application will come with those features included or may be lacking some functions, a developer can personalize your program. This may be beneficial, if you want certain functions unavailable or limited to employees.
What are the advantages of prepackaged applications?
If your business operates on a tight budget, you may not have the funding to spend on building your own software applications. The more cost effective solution is to buy a prepackaged application that does a similar job, but without all of the fine tuning. This can help you get what you need to run your business without costing nearly as much.
If you’re not technologically proficient, you would have to hire a developer to write your software for you and, as previously mentioned, that can be costly. The costs may not end there, however. You may need to retain that same developer again in the future, if you run into problems with the program. Conversely, a prepackaged application has been managed by a company with its own IT help desk. In most cases, getting help with the software is free or comes at a much lower cost.
But what about customization?
Just because something is off the shelf doesn’t mean it can’t be customized to your needs, to a certain extent. Software companies should be constantly looking to improve their product to fit their customer’s needs. Many will partake in user testing sessions or actively solicit feedback in some form and use that to constantly iterate, improve user friendliness, and add features and functionality.
Also, when thinking about off-the-shelf systems, consider the benefits of a white labelled solution. If a company offers a white labelled app (this means something that can be branded as your own) your users will view it as your solution, and it will provide the same brand equity benefits as something that is customized.
While there are some perks associated with having your own software designed and customized to your needs, it’s usually not necessary. Unless you do business in a very specialized way, building unique applications won’t really make a difference in how well your business grows. If you’re engaging with a software provider that prizes user feedback and partners with you to ensure the success of their product, you’ll usually receive all the same benefits at a much lower cost.