Off-the-shelf or Custom Software: Which one should you choose for your business?

The big question of whether to build or buy is one that many organisations must answer in search of software solutions. Off-the-shelf software can work from the get-go after installation, whereas customized software is developed as per the needs and requirements of businesses. 

There is a major difference between these two approaches when it comes to output, implementation, and most importantly usability, with each having its own merits and demerits. Here, we look at some of the most important aspects that will help you decide which solution is best suited for your organization. 

Cost:

This is usually one of the top 3, if not the most important aspect businesses usually consider before deciding on the required software product. Start-ups and enterprises alike will be well served by choosing a solution that fits their budget and will give them a good return on investment. 

A ready-to-use product is usually reasonably priced as compared to a customized product; the main cause for this is that the cost incurred by the developer in developing a plug-and-play product is recovered from multiple clients as against something that is developed specifically for your business.  

The development of customized software also considers implementation costs, post deployment support, scalability of special features and bug fixes and updates that must be performed regularly, all of which may drastically increase the actual cost. 

Time:

The time and efforts taken to develop a customized product is another important aspect that businesses need to consider as there are many who underestimate this facet.    

Businesses would be well advised to implement an off-the-shelf solution initially, which could then be tweaked over time. This would provide businesses, especially start-ups, with an early mover’s advantage while building case studies for regular improvements that may further strengthen processes.  

Data Security:

A very critical aspect to be considered before selecting SaaS solutions is access to data and its security. It is critical for enterprises to secure their data and this can be achieved by storing it locally as against being stored by the service provider or on the cloud. 

Large volumes of data may have to be exchanged to the backend data centres of SaaS apps when such a model is employed. Transferring sensitive business information to public cloud-based SaaS service may result in compromised security and compliance in addition to significant costs to migrate large data workloads.

You may alternatively arrange for the data to be backed up locally at pre-defined regular intervals. This ensures that your critical business data is always available with you and you are not dependant on others for your data and its security. 

This is especially important when you move from one service provider to another or are in the process of upgrading your software. 

Integrations:

Companies look for every advantage they can get over their competitors which is why data is highly valuable. Towards this, it becomes imperative that businesses benefit from a seamless integration of software with other enterprise tools. 

This enables marketers and other front-end representatives with harmonious access to real-time interactions, without being hindered by data silos. 

The expert developers at Smart Sight Innovations consider the existing system while preparing the blueprint for the software development project, and make sure the new software functions smoothly within the existing ecosystem.

Conclusion:

The below list will help you decide whether to go for an off-the-shelf solution or whether to go for a custom solution. 

A custom solution is preferred when: 

  • Your business needs a highly customized software to give you a competitive advantage 
  • You need to integrate the solution with other systems
  • You work with highly sensitive data and security is a concern
  • Your business can afford the cost of customized software
  • Your ROI favours custom software due to an increase in productivity or due to reduced labour requirement with automation. 

An off-the-shelf software solution is preferred when: 

  • Investment required for custom software is too high 
  • The ROI is not in favour of custom software
  • You are a reasonably small organization / start-up and would like to test the waters before committing to a particular solution 
  • No integration requirements or security concerns
  • You need a software / automation solution immediately and are short on time

Smart Sight Innovations offers multiple models of deployment:

To ensure that your business hits the ground running, we suggest deploying an off-the-shelf solution for your requirement, which will give you a very good idea of the benefits you are getting from such a software and what more is required to make it fit perfectly to your business needs.

Choosing an off the shelf product also gives your business a head start by having the required infrastructure in place rather than having to wait for a customized solution which will take time to be developed. This outlook is beneficial not just for customer centric businesses, but has long term implications for B2B businesses as well, at any stage of their operations. 

Usually, SaaS solutions have all the data (business as well customer) stored in the SaaS providers servers. The client (that is you) does not have any control over the data or direct access to it. This could have potentially disastrous implications for your business as your entire data is under someone else’s control. 

If the SaaS provider decides to discontinue their services – which is a real world scenario for multiple reasons, that could range from takeover by another organization to the business simply going kaput – then your business, with all its highly critical and painstakingly collected data, is left in the lurch! 

Smart Sight Innovations has vast experience in matching the best suited model to various business requirements that give them complete control over all aspects, be it by the implementation of a proven SaaS solution or empowering your business with a well-rounded solution that allows you to store your data locally with complete control over all features and security facets. 

Are you looking for software solutions to increase your business and improve operations? If so, tell us your requirements, and our team will provide you with the best solution for the same and a free quote.

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