Technology is not evolving these days on weeks or months basis rather it’s only a matter of a few days or fortnight before new technology enters the market. While custom made software solutions, used to be the de-facto choice for the companies in larger part of the world till last decade, the entry of off-the-shelf software changed the game. These off-the-shelf software come as an alternative viable option for any who wish to take advantage of the modern computing without investing huge.

Both software-as-a-service (off-the-shelf) platforms as well as custom made solutions have their own pros and cons. Before we start out to discuss them in detail, let us just take a step back and understand the difference between the two from the point of view constructing a building and renting an office space in that building. When you construct a building from the scratch, you build the architecture as per your requirement. The cost is obviously high, and the construction process will take time. Now in comparison, when you rent out an office space, you might get a space which is 90% according to you but probably you compromise on the rest of the 10%. However, it might be the rest of the 10% that gives you the leverage to step-up from the competition.

Understand this from a point of view of a restaurant, there are three restaurants in your neighborhood, all serving fish and chips, the question is how does one restaurant stand out? The factor that helps one of them stand out is from the rest is that 10%. The three of them might be buying the supplies from the same place which brings the 90% similarity. But it is the recipe, the 10% which differentiates one from the other two.

Is it all about cost?

An off-the shelf software is like a prepared meal, all one need to do is order and it will arrive at your doorstep ready to be consumed. However, a custom-made software is like preparing a meal from scratch, one doesn’t know how much each ingredient cost will or how long will it take to prepare it. Custom software takes time to be prepared, the cost of each ingredient needs to be borne by the client and hence it might cost more than a business is ready to spend.

Also, the team building the custom software needs to be upfront about the time and resources needed. Things like initial design, build, test as well as implementation cost all needs to be taken into consideration.

Customization: the need of the hour?

Enterprises can think to build the customized software in-house only if it requires extensive customization. However, if there are minor changes needed, it is advised to buy from off-the-shelf. Major industry players like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, offer software solutions which can be customized. Likewise, people looking for CRM suite, even we at Akeo offer CRM solutions which is scalable, offers high functionality and is definitely customizable.

Now what one needs to ensure is, the off-the-shelf software is matured or not. Many off-the-shelf software might slow down systems with unnecessary modules and processes. To avoid such scenarios, a custom solution is what an enterprise need.

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