Is Building Custom Software Right For Your Business?
As companies grow, one of the biggest growing pains their leaders experience is finding software solutions or platforms to effectively meet their needs now and in the future. Owners of newer companies often begin with off-the-shelf software options, but these platforms can’t always keep up as they grow.
In tech lingo, "COTS," “off the shelf,” or “out of the box” typically refers to general vendor software programs that vendors create for a wide variety of business uses. These products are typically cheaper and can work, but they generally offer very few customization or personalization options. When they can be customized, it’s easy to pay again for the software to cover necessary changes. On the other hand, custom solutions may cost more upfront, but software engineers can design them to meets your team’s exact needs.
How do you decide which route is the best for your growing company? Are you ready for a custom software solution, or could a vendor product meet your needs? Here are a few key things to consider as you make your decision:
Requirements ✔️ — Regardless of which way you go, the first and most important thing to do is to figure out what your company requires of any software system. What must-have features do your system operators need for your company to be successful? How will your software platform need to change as your business grows? Record all requirements and take time to ensure you think of and detail all your needs.
Gaps ❔ — Once you’ve determined your requirements, figure out what’s missing in your current system or the vendor software system you’re considering purchasing. Conduct a gap analysis to determine where systems won’t or aren’t meeting your needs. Can you work around these gaps or are they deal-breakers?
Score 🥇 — After looking at your requirements and any gaps your team is experiencing, compare your options by creating a scoring system to determine which is most appropriate. If an out-of-the-box solution will meet your needs with very few gaps, it’ll score higher than a solution that doesn’t.
Often, as companies grow, their leaders find the simple off-the-shelf solutions they’re considering purchasing or have already purchased aren’t meeting their needs — and won’t scale with their businesses. Either the systems can’t meet requirement thresholds or gaps are too wide to manage. If one or both are the case for your company, it may be valuable to consider a custom software platform designed to meet your exact needs.
While off-the-shelf software may offer quicker solutions, keep in mind that implementing it in your organization can take quite a bit of time, including staff time. Implementing change at scale can be very disruptive to business, and most off-the-shelf solutions must be rolled out in large segments, at best — or all at once, at worst. This can negatively affect staff buy-in at the operational level; many a well-intentioned deployment has been torpedoed by resistance in the trenches.
Custom software development can adapt to your organization’s exact needs and constraints. The implementation process can be tailored to minimize disruption while maximizing the bang for your buck or return on investment (ROI) in a step-by-step process. This allows a more collaborative partnership between organization personnel and developers who learn together and add value together.
Professionals with The Intellection Group (TIG) develop innovative technology solutions that deliver breakthrough business results. We build award-winning software-as-a-service solutions that create competitive advantages for market leaders. Contact us today or call us at 678-283-4283 if it’s time to begin collaborating on a custom software solution for your company.