Determining whether developing custom software is a cost-effective alternative for your business is actually a conversation that revolves around value. Many businesses resort to off the shelf software solutions because custom-developed software comes with a higher initial cost. However, this is the only drawback for companies looking to develop a custom software solution when off-the-shelf solutions aren’t meeting their needs. The real value of custom software is something that can be realized only in the longer term.
With off-the-shelf software, you’re just scratching the surface of what your business could achieve in terms of achieving competitive advantage through technology. When done right with a trustworthy partner, custom software development could become a significant edge for your organization that can consistently drive long term growth.
Custom software has the potential to adapt, scale, and even help you identify new ways to drive value as your business grows.
So, before committing to any software development choice, consider the following three reasons that explain why custom software could be a cost-effective option for your business.
It’s a long-term investment
Early on, choosing off-the-shelf software appears effortless and convenient with less financial strain. But only when you put it side-by-side with custom software and assess the long term implications to your business, you begin to understand the hidden costs of the off the shelf software and recognize the main differences.
When you adopt a readily available software product for your business, you make a long-term commitment to incur recurring costs.
Custom software development is a long-term investment, and when done right, it brings you excellent benefits and a great ROI. Even though the initial cost of custom software is high, in the long run, you save on licensing costs, upgrades, and user fees that you will otherwise incur with off-the-shelf software. All these recurring costs will cumulatively be more expensive when you incur over the long term.
Pre-built software is by nature, a generic one. It will most certainly have features and modules that are not relevant to your business, but you may still be paying for it, even though you’re not using it. Besides, to ensure that it meets all your business needs, you may need to integrate plugins or tools that in turn may carry additional charges.
With custom-made software, your business will own 100% IP rights on the product built specifically for your organization keeping in mind your business processes. You don’t pay for software upgrades that you don’t need. You are in control of the application’s features, software development budget, and development process. Also, you have the flexibility to choose the engagement model (fixed cost, time & materials, etc) that suits your project/business needs best.
Essentially, when you choose to develop a custom product, you invest in critical features that ensure your long term-growth and hold off on ones that may not provide you the ROI.
It’s an integral part of your business
Since custom-made software is developed keeping your organization’s needs and requirements, it becomes an integral part of your business. Although you outsource the development, your team is still involved in the process and the feedback loops, which increases their familiarity with the product. It leads to a less expensive and effortless training process.
With a ready-made software application, there is a learning curve that is associated with adopting a new tool that your team played no role in developing. This process takes time and costs money, and it’s not a one-time expense. Whenever a new feature is pushed, your team needs to set aside some time to learn about it, instead of focusing their efforts on core business initiatives.
Though it is extremely important, the human factor is often overlooked when analyzing the cost-effectiveness of custom development VS off-the-shelf software.
It lets you run your business efficiently, with high employee productivity
When you develop custom software, you essentially develop a system that streamlines your business processes through automation. Well automated operations lead to lower labor costs and improved employee productivity. Your software product becomes an effective tool that helps reduce human errors and the costs associated with addressing them.
It also ensures flexibility in terms of its maintenance and support. You’re not bound to a scheduled maintenance updates that can cause unexpected interruptions and prevent your team from performing tasks when your business needs it most. Custom software development gives you full ownership and control over the frequency and nature of maintenance and support, ensuring a timely response to the issues at hand while allowing your business to operate uninterrupted at full capacity.
Custom software development offers the additional advantage of allowing you the ability to personalize it to suit your customer’s business needs. This in turn creates a range of benefits that eventually outweighs the initial investment. Personalization is a key-value driver in any customer relationship. Increasing the lifetime value of a customer is possible only if the customer feels connected to your product. Compared with off-the-shelf software, custom-developed software can boost revenues by building a loyal customer base.
In short, a custom-made product that focuses exclusively on your business needs can augment your organization’s capabilities and drive better business.
Though the initial costs of custom software product is high, investing in it provides you a unique competitive advantage that will unlock your organization’s full potential.