An Overview: Custom Software Development Vs. Off-The-Shelf Software Solutions




An Overview: Custom Software Development Vs. Off-The-Shelf Software Solutions

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, a good Master was trapped in the waste crusher of an evil Empire. His cheeky little android plugged into the technology of the Empire, halted the crusher’s processes, and saved his Master from an unpleasant and smelly demise.

How did the droid plug into Death Star technology?

He had clever, custom software.  After all, R2D2 didn’t behave like the typical off-the-assembly-line droid.

He served only the Republic.

Star Wares

Not to say off-the-shelf software is an evil empire, although many argue for and against it. We can’t deny its virtues. Historically, most businesses start out with standard software, also referred to as commercial off the shelf (COTS) so they can have a business to run. Off the shelf quickly fills immediate critical demands like payroll, accounting, and customer relationship management databases. Off the shelf software has:

  • Relatively low initial cost outlay

  • In widespread use, it’s easy to share files

  • Offers free trials so you know it's a good fit

Off the self usually performs like a reliable old maintenance droid, but there are drawbacks. The most common problems are features paid for but not used. Nonetheless, they take up needed bandwidth or even interfere with functioning applications. Off the shelf cannot be tailored to fit right out of the box to fill unique industry needs. You end up with many different applications that are supposed to play well together but don’t. And there is no one who intimately knows your company’s operations to turn to when problems arise.

The Millennial Falcon

The solution to these limitations began with the development of custom software; adding modules or programs to a central base, creating unique applications to fill the specific demands of an individual company or industry—also known as bespoke software.

Unfortunately, custom software carries an unwarranted stigma of being unduly expensive. And it once was—in labor costs during its pioneering years of development—just like any other new technology when it first hits the mainstream. Once the bugs were worked out and the processes refined, the costs then fell accordingly. Now, today, and in galaxies far away, custom software easily competes with off-the-shelf software.

Lord Insidious

How do you know if your company needs custom software solutions? It may already be telling you. Do any of these insidious situations sound familiar?

  • Seemingly ordinary tasks are regularly stalled

  • Employees perform extra work to skirt software limitations

  • Frequent employee complaints about software

  • Multiple applications must run to complete one task

  • Your company hires temps or part-time employees to make up for computing limitations

  • Suppliers & customers have changed their technology

  • You find it increasingly difficult to prove your company adhered to required regulations

And there’s no Obi-Wan to wave it all away.

Industries like fabrication, finance, accounting, medicine, construction, and education—many diverse industries—find their solutions by adopting custom software into their business operations. Besides avoiding lag times, excess work, and soothing irate storm troopers, custom software brings other advantages:

  • Flexibility; custom software expands as your company demands do

  • Innovative—for whatever uncertain but inevitable technological changes the future brings

  • Intuitive and easier to work with than off the shelf

  • Expert & dedicated support from your outsourcing partners

If your Empire is plagued by insidious computing limitations, it may be time to call in Jedi knights to keep the peace in your sector of the galaxy.

Need a hand finding the best talent or the optimal outsourcing plan? Contact the Intellection Group (TIG) today or call us at 678-283-4283 for assistance with all your IT outsourcing needs.

SoftwareDave Bernard