Software usually falls into two categories; packaged or custom-made. In order to make the right choice it is essential that you understand the benefits and potential drawbacks of these two types of software.
The Key Differences
First of all, it is important to make it clear what we mean by “packaged” and “custom-made”. Packaged software is sometimes called proprietary and is something that you can buy or download off the shelf, giving you exactly the same functions as everyone else who uses it.
On the other hand, custom-made software is something that can be fully adapted to meet the needs of the buyer. This means that it is unique and contains the specific features that you ask for.
When to Choose Packaged Software
The packaged option can make sense if you have fairly simple needs. For instance, you might just need to carry out basic word processing tasks.
Typically, this is also seen as a satisfactory solution when these simple tasks are carried out locally on a computer in a stand-alone way. It is the kind of software that is designed with the idea that hundreds or thousands of users will all use it in the pretty much the same way.
When to Choose Custom-Made Software
The bespoke option may be more appropriate if you need an application that caters to the specific needs of your enterprise. Perhaps there is nothing on the market that is right for you, or maybe you have some very unique demands that you need addressed.
If none of the software available on the market seems right for your needs then you need to look at custom-made options instead.
Drawbacks of Packaged Software
You may find that standard packaged software includes numerous superfluous features that you don’t need for running your business. Conversely, specific features your organization really needs might not be included.
It is highly likely that any requests you make to the software vendors will go unheeded due to the large number of users they cater for. This type of software is a compromise that is designed to keep as many people as possible reasonably happy, rather than meeting all the requirements of a specific company.
In addition, if your competitors all use the same programs in the same way then you won’t gain any competitive advantage from the software. In the worst-case scenario, you may also need to change the way that you operate in order to use the software effectively.
Benefits of Custom-Made Software
Working with a software development company on a custom-made application brings a whole range of advantages. One of the most important issues is that this is a direct relationship, which will bring a solid understanding of your business and an understanding of your needs to the whole process.
A custom-made application is written to your requirements and fits in with your business in the way that best suits you. Also, the developers can be more responsive to your needs and changes can be made as you need them, allowing you to adapt more easily.
Furthermore, if the application is built to your requirements you’ll save time and money when it comes to teaching your staff how to use it. An application developed according to your own specification will probably require much less configuration work and much less training, as it should be intuitive to your staff.
A good custom software application can also bring efficiencies by automating manual tasks. In addition, a good developer can also point out further efficiencies that could be gained in ways that you might not have thought of.
Points to Bear in Mind When Choosing Custom-Made Software
Custom-made software was once the preserve of large companies. Nowadays, the cost of developing custom-made applications has fallen because of factors such as robust application frameworks, a vast array of off-the-shelf modules and rapid development tools
All of this puts the custom-made approach within reach of SMEs these days but it is still a serious investment and one not to be taken lightly. You should definitely carry out a cost-benefit analysis before embarking on a project like this.
It is also worth bearing in mind that a good developer will not have a problem with letting you have the source code. In this way, you will retain independence and control over your software should the relationship with the developer end for any reason.
As with all industries, there are incompetent and unprofessional developers out there. Make sure you see examples of the developer’s previous work, get references and follow them up.
In summary, there are many sound reasons why you should seriously consider investing in a custom-made solution. If you want to get a software solution that works perfectly for your business then contact us to find out what we can offer.