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Off-the-Shelf or Custom Software: What’s Best for Your Business?

Imagine how life would be if technology didn’t advance as it did through the years. There would be no on-demand apps like Uber and Amazon to bring us top-of-the-line customer service with just the tap of a button. Businesses would still be using phone calls to sell products and do customer service, instead of having meaningful interactions with customers and prospects on social media.

The various innovations in technology have certainly made our lives a lot easier. Aside from individuals, businesses also harness the power of technology to automate workflows and make it possible to scale and serve a global audience. And at the core of this goal of scalability is the decision between off-the-shelf and custom software for businesses.

Especially for business, having the right set of gears can be the difference between pulling off your milestones and being just another entrepreneur who tried his hand and failed. And one of the most important business decisions you need to make is choosing between off-the-shelf and custom-built solutions for your business.

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The infographic below provides a comprehensive comparison of the features between off-the-shelf solutions and custom software for businesses. For example, cost effectiveness is a factor that is both short- and long-term. Your choice in whether to use pre-built software for your business instead of a custom-built one may seem like a one-off choice, but it actually ends up deciding how you can grow and scale your company later on in your business.

IB IG Off the Shelf or Custom Software Infographic - Off-the-Shelf or Custom Software: What’s Best for Your Business?

Aside from cost effectiveness, scalability is another factor that matters when deciding between custom software and off-the-shelf for business. If you’re not a huge organization with a lot of budget to spend, then maybe investing in custom software is not yet the most optimal business decision you can make.

We’ve seen CEOs adeptly balance their company’s finances so that they can survive long enough for the funding to come. Unfortunately, not all companies have the same luck as these companies. Ultimately, business managers and entrepreneurs will have to make wise decisions early on that would prove to be their investment in making their business grow and be profitable.

For instance, you may have a unique business idea that there’s no framework yet that exists to support and power your vision. Opting for an off-the-shelf software may be quick and cheap, but it will prove ineffective in achieving your specific goals, and you’ll end up paying more in the long run for the manual adjustments that you have to do yourself. Not only do you pay more, but instead of the software adjusting for you, YOU are the one adjusting for the software. This will bottleneck your operations and limit your capacity for growth.

There are many ways that software can enhance a business’s capabilities – if it matches the business processes. Another thing is that there really is no black-and-white solution that indicates custom software is better over off-the-shelf solutions or vice versa. In fact, each one has features that make it far superior to the competition, if done the right way.

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One comment

  1. I prefer off the shelf if you want to launch right away, however security is a big factor. Make sure your infrastructure also supports what you are trying to do.

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