The Custom Software Question: To Build or To Buy?

If you’re like most businesses, you use software on a daily basis for critical functions: managing projects, sending invoices or tracking inventory. The plan for most businesses is to buy a mass market, shrink-wrapped off the shelf (OTS) application, like Quickbooks or NetSuite. And that is a huge mistake. Often OTS solutions only meet 30% of your business’ needs. When the functions are vital to your business and deal with core processes, it is important to use a solution that you are in control of. As software is essential for your business, consider the distinct advantages that custom software has over an OTS solution: Custom software is:

  • A customized glove fit for your business’ specific needs: Before the building begins, the software company sits down with you to understand your processes and then develops the software specifically to your day-to-day functions. In OTS solutions, it is the other way around: you are forced to conform your processes to the software. With a custom solution, you monitor and control the entire process.
  • A solution that comes with local, personalized support: Do you currently have 1 or 2 technical software staff members that support your custom software solution? If one of those team members were to leave, how would your current custom software system be maintained? You’re currently completely dependent on their knowledge of your system. When working with a professional, reputable software company, you have access to an entire team of developers who understand your system and are ready to help.
  • A lower cost than other options: You may be under the impression that custom software is costly. However, on a per-user basis, or when calculating the ROI of the custom software, it turns out to be much more cost-effective than limited OTS solutions. Additionally, once you have hired a company to develop the software for you, you reduce the need to pay for costly individual licensing.

The bottom line? It’s better for your business to create a custom software application, rather than continue to have frustrations, high costs and limitations with your current system.