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Choosing between a prepared, off-the-shelf software product or a custom counterpart is tricky. Every business is unique and has vastly dissimilar needs, so it’s difficult to be certain of what kind of software can best assist your company: Do you really require the features of bespoke software, or would you fare better with a tried-and-tested solution?
With custom software becoming cheaper and more accessible, smaller businesses can benefit from such an investment, but there are still distinct pros and cons of each… To try and simplify the matter, here are five advantages of custom software development.
Flexibility Mass-market solutions may be cheaper, but they lack the ability to adapt to the exact needs of your company. With customised software, your requirements can be accommodated from the software’s creation. Rather than implementing inadequate software and having to subsequently adapt your business processes, custom software will guarantee that your needs will be met at present, and into the future; this allows for you to implement additional features as you need them, future-proofing your business, rather than having to repeatedly re-invest in different pre-made software packages. This scalable solution won’t hinder your business’ growth, expanding as necessary to match your business needs.
Security One of the benefits of ready-made software is that people know its intricacies. Many other users will be able to share their experiences with the software and help each other with any issues or problems they may have. However, this experience also means that hackers can exploit well-known issues and vulnerabilities, making off-the-shelf software more susceptible to external threats. Custom software is much harder to defeat, and the prospect of hacking a custom piece of software is much less favourable among hackers; why hack one piece of bespoke software, when you can access a commercial variant, giving you access to the information of multiple companies at once?
Maintenance and Support If you purchase commercial software, you may (and should) have access to ongoing support. However, this isn’t a certainty - if you choose a lesser quality piece of software, you may not be entitled to such assistance. Equally, should any unforeseen events occur, such as the software developer going into liquidation, you’ll be at the mercy of unsupported, no longer updated software. If a developer decides that the software is no longer profitable, you’ll have to choose another software offering to maintain your company, and incur additional expenses, all due to a lack of foresight.
Costs This is one of the most significant factors in deciding between pre-packaged or custom software. If you can cut out a sizeable expense, then most businesses are willing to work around restrictions in their off-the-shelf software, but as we’ve previously seen, this may hinder your business in the long-term. Additionally, custom software ensures that you don’t need to purchase additional hardware to run your package efficiently. Any costs associated with licenses or subscription models are also avoided with custom software, removing any reliance on external, mass-market software developers. Contrastingly, custom software can be designed to work with your existing hardware, resulting in additional savings.
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