An “off-the-shelf software” is any digital solution produced on a large scale, developed for the mass market, with pre-defined modules and features. However, you must have read that this option is usually not the best, depending on your needs.
So, the question remains – with so many options for ready-made systems, why should your company choose custom software development services?
Well, first you need to answer another question: does your business have unique and complex processes? If your answer is yes, you might consider building a custom package to fit your needs. This can come in the form of an in-house team or a software development partner. In this article, I will explain the reasons and advantages.
Off-the-shelf software systems are developed following a generalist pattern, which allows their production on a large scale. Solutions of this type are generic; they do not usually focus on the user and have a specific applicability – there are no customizations or adaptations to the core business of different companies.
This does not necessarily mean that they will not work for you – the choice will depend on your needs. For example, you can buy a license for a system to handle the financial management of your business. It will have general features inherent to the financial routine. However, this system will not have room for specific processes of your business and will not be flexible and adaptable to the reality of your organization.
For these demands, the ideal might be that you work with a custom software development service company to build from scratch or augment the current system.
What are custom software development services?
Custom software development services are those focused on developing customized systems according to your organization’s needs. As the name suggests, it is a solution designed exclusively for your business, designed around your workflows.
This means that, from the beginning, the software will be planned, designed, developed, implemented, tested and delivered considering all the individual processes of your business, ranging from the interaction with users to the added value that it generates as technological resource to solve your company’s business challenges.
To understand better, just think that the features of these customized solutions are designed based on the needs of your current business, so it clearly becomes a perfectly made tool for your organization. In addition, the development of your system is customized, as you will actively participate throughout the entire process.
Advantages of custom software development services
- More flexibility
Software customization allows for the development of flexible systems to keep up with your company’s changes. Undoubtedly, a customized solution is capable of following changes and evolution of the business processes of the organizations for which they were developed. In short, only a tailor-made solution will be able to keep up with the company’s constant changes in an efficient, secure and agile way. A good example of this is an omnichannel solution, which can integrate all the service and sales channels of a company, and which must always adapt to new consumer profiles.
- Information security
Off-the-shelf software can also offer certain security measures, but they are generic and, as they are not adaptable to your business, may leave security holes, depending on the type of role that system plays in your organization. On the other hand, bugs, vulnerabilities and even digital security inconsistencies can and should be foreseen within the custom software development plan, which makes it much safer. Data security is a crucial point, just look at the news and we will find several cases of organizations that had problems with data leakage and had to assemble task forces to deal with the situation. There is no denying that security must be a priority and cannot be treated as a secondary issue in the software development process.
- Higher ROI and better cost benefit
Off-the-shelf software, in the short term, usually costs less than a customized solution. However, in the mid-term, the ROI and cost benefit of customized systems exceed those of ready-made solutions, increasing even more in the long term. With a longer lifespan and more scalability potential, custom software has much higher efficiency rates and is easier to integrate with other systems in your company, including legacy systems.
- Simplified implementation
Unlike off-the-shelf systems, customized solutions do not need their activities and processes to be interrupted for the implementation to be carried out. This facility occurs precisely because the solution has been strategically planned for the client. Installation usually takes place within a time window provided and agreed with the contractor, following a pre-defined schedule, so as not to cause negative impacts on the company and allow everything to continue working during implementation. After all, the software is being deployed precisely to generate gains for the company, not the other way around! Therefore, this is also a step that cannot be neglected.
- Updates, maintenance and support
It is common for companies to face problems with their off-the-shelf software, especially when the tech company responsible for it stops releasing updates, or worse – goes out of business. In this way, having the independence of one’s own system guarantees an autonomy capable of avoiding several problems related to the evolution of the system. If the software was developed by an IT partner and delivered to your company, this means that there is complete independence and control over all necessary updates and, above all, there is greater agility in support.
- Team members are part of the build – increase in efficiency
The technology tools in your company must be closely connected to the organization’s strategies and, mainly, to the work routine of its users. In order for the custom application to be used with maximum performance and to be able to deliver the desired results, it is vital that the users – that is, the employees that use the tool – are familiar with the features of the customized software. And this is also one of the great advantages of software customization. After all, who knows your processes better than those who do them.
The IT partner you hire to build the system must be able to provide training for your team. That is because your contractor has already had to study the nuances of your company, which means that they learned your core business and know how to relate your business needs to the technologies that are designed precisely to help your company! In the end, this leads to teams using the solutions with a level of efficiency and productivity far above average.
7. Recurring, business-aligned optimizations thanks to constant collaboration
By choosing custom software development services, you can follow the application building process from planning to product delivery. This allows the system to be optimized even during its development phase. It is very common for new insights to emerge throughout the process, and no one better than the people who work in the company where the system will be implemented to have ideas on what to improve so that the tool is increasingly adherent to the business. This collaborative way of working drives your business to scalable growth.
8. User-friendly and without unnecessary features
Customized systems can be developed to be user-friendly, intuitive and easy-to-use. In addition, this software only has the features that are needed by your business. With off-the-shelf options, you often end up paying for a product with features you will never use. They tend to like to sell you the bells and whistles. By opting for customized systems, you do not have this risk, as your company will choose the features that suit your business. This ensures that you only pay for what you really need to use, which drives cost optimization and increases efficiency.
And now, which one should I choose?
It all depends on the needs of your organization. You need to find a tech partner that has synergy and cultural fit with your business. If your company is still small and has simple processes, perhaps an off-the-shelf solution might be enough. However, if your organization is already medium or large, with complex processes and particularities that require a more in-depth knowledge of the nuances of your business, you will need outsource software development services to develop customized solutions for you.
The best option is to hire an IT Outsourcing company specializing in tailor-made systems. This tech partner will provide teams with professionals trained in the technologies your business needs.
At NTConsult, we are a Nearshore IT company with 20 years of experience in the digital solutions market, developing customized systems for organizations from all industries.
As we work with nearshore LATAM-based IT team members, we are able to offer competitive pricing, English speaking IT specialists who work in your time zone and are aligned with your country’s culture. This ensures real-time communication without language barriers and greater synergy with your teams working on your projects. Nearshoring with Latin America based professionals is a great choice for North American companies.
Get in touch with us in the quick form at the bottom of this page and let’s talk about your business challenges. We are always ready to help your company achieve its goals through technology.
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Author: Philippe Alencar
About: copywriter and marketing analyst, graduated in Business Administration with specializations in Marketing and IT Governance, has been working in the digital solutions market for the last 11 years.