Creating an effective tech stack at a company can help a firm work in a fully optimized way. Ensuring that you and your employees are getting everything you need out of a software package is important, but you also need to leverage the true power of each piece of software you use to make sure you and your employees’ productivity is as good as it can be.
And, if it’s not, companies should look to further train their employees on their currently used software, but also be willing to walk away from one’s that do not actually offer what they had originally promised.
One route to go down when looking at new software packages to help improve a firm’s effectiveness, is to have software customly designed. As opposed to buying an off-the-shelf software solution, companies can commission a piece of software to be developed specifically for them, to fit their needs.
But what are the advantages of that? Here, we look at the benefits of custom-made software, as well as the disadvantages so that you or your company can make the most informed decision possible as to whether it is a suitable option.
Pros of Custom-Made Software
If you hire the right software developer, the following advantages can come as a result of having a custom-made piece of software developed for your company.
Specific to Your Needs
Some off-the-shelf packages will be able to answer a number of your company’s needs. However, the likelihood is that it will not be able to do everything you want. The result ends up being that a workaround solution is required, and, thus, the software is not actually as effective as it could be.
A well-developed piece of custom software will not require a workaround, as it will have been developed to answer all your needs and fit easily into your company’s processes.
Can Offer Value for Money
Because a custom-made software solution will only ever include what you need it to, you actually get good value for your money from it over the long term. No features are redundant within the package, which can so easily happen with generic software solutions.
When firms do buy off-the-shelf solutions, they will often find that they have ended up paying for features that they simply do not use. While the package may have seemed cheaper than a custom-made version, it often does not prove to be a good long-term investment.
Another reason why custom-made software can be a far better option than a pre-packaged software solution is that productivity can be truly optimized. With some pre-built solutions, there may well be an absence of features that you need on a daily basis.
As a result, workplace productivity is not going to be at the same level it could be if those features were present. Ineffective or sub-optimal processes and methods tend to proliferate, adding complexity to procedures; which means that an employee’s time is often wasted, when it could be better used elsewhere.
Custom-made software will ensure that that does not happen. And, should it be required when a company inevitably grows, the software can be amended and further developed.
Finally, custom-made software adds a level of security that an off-the-shelf software solution cannot provide. As off-the-shelf software is generic across every company that uses it, hackers will often target exactly this kind of software. Hackers seek to take advantage of vulnerabilities within the software’s security, and, once they’ve found a way in, can infiltrate any company that uses that software solution.
As custom-made software is unique, it becomes a far less enticing target to hack, as it means that even if a hacker were successful in infiltrating it, they cannot use their knowledge of a vulnerability as a way to exploit it across a number of companies.
Cons of Custom-Made Software
While the benefits of custom-made software are particularly compelling, there are, of course, disadvantages to going down this route. Whether they are outweighed by the advantages will depend on you and your company’s individual circumstances.
Of course, all those lovely benefits come at a cost. There is a reason that software solution packages are often bought off the shelf—they save a company a great deal of money. Plus, even though custom-made solutions do provide great value over the long run, they may still come at a price that you and your company cannot afford.
Another key idea to take on board when deciding whether to go down the route of custom-made software is whether you actually have the time to have it developed. Off-the-shelf packages are ready to go right when you need them. Custom-made software will take time to develop, often months.
So while it may make your company’s productivity better in the long run, there is the question of the expense incurred during the time you spend waiting for the new software to be developed.
How to Decide if You Need Custom-Made Software
Deciding what is the best option for you will ultimately come down to the time and money you have available. It could be that you are happy to invest in a higher cost, custom-made solution that will provide better value for your money, and that the time spent waiting for the solution to be developed is not an issue.
However, some companies cannot afford that—either in terms of the length of time it can take some bespoke software to be created or in the size of the invoice that may be presented at the end of the project.
Now that you’ve come to the end of this article, you may have some software developer interview questions to bring to your next meeting.