Switching from Off the Shelf to Bespoke Software – Why it Makes Sense

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Whether you’re running a company for a long time or laying the groundwork for your startup, software solutions prove to be an invaluable asset you should never overlook.

Many business owners turn to software-as-a-service solutions because they get the job done and the monthly fee can be friendly to their cash flow. You can find an off-the-shelf software tool for virtually every use case, so why should you even bother with bespoke software development?

The simple answer is that the solutions you can readily buy on the market may fail you in one way or another. In most cases, building your own software solution is the better investment for your company. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you should consider making the switch.

How large is your user base?

If your existing software solutions charge on a per-user basis, then your costs can easily add up as your business grows. You need to ask yourself whether this is sustainable in the long-term. If you have a team of 20 marketing professionals who all access a marketing automation application, then the cost may still justify the use of the product. But a proprietary tool starts to make sense if you need to cater to a larger user base or your business processes requires handling complex data.

For example, if your company delivers goods to thousands of locations each month, there’s no way that an off-the-shelf solution can help you keep track and analyze all the data. Sure, you might stumble upon something that works, but paying the third-party vendor will cost an arm and a leg. This marks the perfect time to invest in a bespoke software application.

What are the unique needs of your company?

Many people go for off-the-shelf tools out of pure convenience. It’s easy to find and buy them, but what really matters are whether they help accomplish all your business goals. There may be times when you’d have to license a different application because your existing software misses some essential features. Knowing the unique needs of your company will help you decide whether a custom software is a more cost-effective choice.

You should also investigate your industry’s special security compliance regulations. Some industries prohibit the use of cloud-based providers for security purposes. Also, you must consider special integrations to ensure that your software works with the current apps you’re using.

How do you see your company using the application in the long-term?

You may get away with an off-the-shelf solution if you only need it in-house. But a tool that will be used by customers almost always requires bespoke software development. For instance, you may want to build a SaaS tool for your company, providing a new revenue stream while licensing the proprietary technology.

This can prove beneficial especially in the event of a future acquisition. With custom software, you’re not vulnerable to inevitable changes in integrations or pricing that may happen over time. You can add new features as you see fit, helping your company take on new challenges and meet the demands of your customers.