“Some questions always remain topical, and “Do I go for a solution that is custom or boxed? “There’s one of them. Custom development provides commercially unavailable software that suits a particular customer’s needs. Packaged software, in turn, is a standard product targeted essentially at anyone on the market. We’re going to have access to the pros and cons of both variants in this article to help you make an informed choice.
When thinking about a business that is willing to digitize and automate its business, the creation of its own product is often the first thing that comes to mind. Nevertheless, there is a lot of debate going on about which of these two options offers more benefits. Here is Vladimir Lugovsky, CEO of Akveo, on the issue:
These two options may work quite well, but it depends on the context. I’d go for a boxed solution if the problem you’re trying to solve isn’t a part of your core business. You can benefit a lot from the support and maintenance that is provided with that specific solution in this case. In other cases, I’d go into the custom. I mean, I imagine how much time one would need to expend in the future to incorporate and change a software program. If some off-the-shelf solutions are not able to cover almost 90% of the functionality you need.
Pros & Cons
At a low price, there’s no such thing as an ideal setup. Let’s talk about the essentials, given this, and compare these models.
In terms of finance, compared to customized development, the cost of a ready-made solution can be very attractive. You get a product at a fixed price that is ready to be integrated with the software of the company and has all the functions, services, and modules necessary in place. This level of convenience offers a solid benefit if you don’t have an internal IT team to play around with the solution, and many boxed applications capitalize on this. Plus, most of the boxed solutions easily align within an enterprise with existing business processes.
At the same time, in the long term, packaged software may not fully comply with the requirements of a business. So you’ll likely have to spend extra dollars in the future on upgrades and integrations, not to mention regular subscription fees. However, a boxed solution might be a good choice if you don’t plan to go beyond pure basic functionality.
Let’s sum up the benefits of apps that are ready-made:
- Affordable cost;
- Implementation fast;
- Upgrades for Free;
- Support services for which the monthly fee is included;
Among the drawbacks are:
- May not comply with a company’s specifics;
- Lack of scaling function;
- Difficulties with functionality expansion.
Custom development, on the other hand, is a way to go for businesses that want to own the code and have flexible opportunities for customization. For companies with a high data load (e.g., fintechs or online retailers) or companies with unique business needs, it is a wise choice. Eventually, you get an almost ideal product built according to a company’s very essence, which is about getting the main competitive advantage here.
The pros of customized software are:
- The ability to take a business’s specifics into account.
- Full customization of features and parameters.
- Convenient application scalability.
- The ability to add extra features when needed.
The cons include:
- Relatively elevated costs of development.
- Longer marketing time.
- Costs for updating and maintenance.
How to Reduce Market Time
In most cases, everything that matters most is the time to market, whether you decide to get a quick launch on a boxed solution or create a product from scratch. It’s quite common for customers to want to go live in a month or two as quickly as possible, say.
Is this possible? Surely, with proper development practices. We suggest starting by developing a Minimum Feature Product here at Akveo (MVP). The basic product functionality will assist you to tackle your most urgent business challenges. Over time, more functionality will be added to the solution as your company grows. With MVP, you shorten the time to market, so the first results can be analyzed in a month or two.
The next question, however, is whether or not you have an internal team of developers. Let’s get both options checked.
Internal Team Vs. Outsourcing
It takes a high-skilled in-house IT team to develop your own custom solution. At the same time, such a team’s employment is a serious burden on the budget of the company, and not every business can afford it.
Nevertheless, when thinking about involvement and understanding of the specifics of a company, the internal team has a lot to offer.
- A full-time IT employee understands the company’s objectives and intricacies.
- From A to Z, engineers understand their own product and can customize it for any changes in the work process. This implies, in theory, that you no longer need to resort to external IT contractors.
- Clear interaction. It is more likely that an in-house team will have a similar cultural and social background that facilitates communication.
It is advisable to transfer software development to a third party if you do not have an internal team, or if you seek to optimize resources and concentrate solely on business tasks. The advantages of the development of outsourcing include:
- Reduced marketing time. An external IT team can launch a new product to market quickly: before starting development, they don’t need to build a team and outline working processes.
- Upon request, resources. You pay precisely for the resources you need to implement the project as part of IT outsourcing.
- The delivery is on schedule. The business makes the development process more formalized by entering into a SLA with an external IT contractor. Plus, the contract regulates the tasks and terms.
A Hybrid Approach to Custom Development
Consider a hybrid model if you have a team but think that external talent may add something to the project. A hybrid strategy is a combination of both in-house and outsourcing teams’ efforts.
Everything is about flexibility. A favorable environment for effective planning, in-depth analysis and delegation of IT tasks is created by the model. The business itself decides which services are to be outsourced and which services are to be provided by its own developers. As the hybrid approach results in better budget management, it is also about optimal costs.
Wrapping It Up
It’s a difficult task to select between an out-of-box solution and a custom one. The answer is always personal and depends on a specific company’s goals, goals, and resources. The choice basically rests on this: are we going to fix the short-term problems and save a buck or wait and invest more in a permanent solution?
At first glance, in monetary terms, off-the-shelf software may seem a good choice. In most cases, however, the costs of custom software development are not as high as the general public would expect. Customer requirements and the complexity of the software itself are fully dependent on them. Given this, while in the early stages, the development of custom software requires more investment and resources, it proves to be more cost-effective in the long term.
In some way, every business is unique, and it is only logical to use custom software to fully match ever-changing business requirements. We advise you, as custom software development advocates, to find extra funds and start with custom software. In the short term, not only will it help you be more productive, but it will also leave room for growth in the future. If your company is looking for a convenient and efficient tool, go ahead with a personalized solution.
It is also vital to find a reliable technological partner. A seasoned IT team delivers projects within the planned time frame in compliance with the NDA. As a consequence, a company receives a competitive product and gains a strategic market advantage.