Most— if not all— businesses nowadays use software on a regular basis to run their operations and further improve their business. They use either packaged software or custom software:
- Packaged software – Also called “off-the-shelf,” it’s a one-size-fits-all, “designed for everyone” software that’s usually ready-made and ready-to-use with basic, limited features.
- Custom-made software – Also known as “bespoke software,” it’s designed and created according to a company’s specific needs and requirements. Each one is unique, as no business is ever the same.
It’s completely fine to use off-the-shelf software especially if you’re just starting and don’t have enough budget yet, but you’ll find that custom software will greatly benefit you and your business in the long run. You can count on its adaptability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness to help propel your business to success and give you the competitive edge that you just won’t get with a ready-made, mass-marketed packaged software.
Still not thoroughly convinced? Here are some of the top advantages of having a custom software for your business:
One of the biggest benefits of choosing custom software over off-the-shelf ones is that it can be personalized and tailor-made specifically to the needs and nuisances of your business. It is developed for your business, your employees, and most importantly, your clients.
Ready-made software, no matter how high-quality they may be, just can’t match the uniqueness and superiority that bespoke software provides. Since it’s designed according to the functionality of your business, the workflow of your team, and the behavior of your customers, you can easily manage it and have it modified as your business grows and expands. It’s your very own software— you have full control over it.
One of the disadvantages of off-the-shelf software is that you don’t own it, meaning they can make changes to it without further notice or cease its operations completely, which is problematic to those who use it, especially businesses. What’s worse is that it’s not designed to scale well to support a growing business. This is why having custom software is better than a ready-made one because aside from owning it, it’s much more scalable and adaptable to an expanding business.
When you opt to have a bespoke software, it will be developed on a long-term basis, which includes ongoing customization and easier scalability to accommodate the ever-changing needs of your business as it grows. Aside from creating the initial software from scratch, the developers can maintain it to make sure that it adapts to and adjusts with your business’ requirements. This is the kind of unmatched flexibility that you can get only from a custom-made software.
More cost-effective in the long run
Custom software can be more expensive since it’s tailor-made and built from scratch, but it’s certainly a smarter choice than an off-the-shelf, ready-made application.
Since you own the software, you don’t need to pay for licenses or purchase unnecessary features or hardware that you might not even need— you only pay for the software features your company requires. Not having to worry about additional costs that can eventually put a dent in your finances will save you a lot in terms of money and resources, making bespoke software a cost-effective choice and wise investment in the long run.
Safer and more secure
One of the gravest disadvantages of commercial off-the-shelf software is its vulnerability to hackers and cyber threats. Since it’s designed for and available to everyone, business owners or not, it poses more risks and is more prone to being hacked because hackers are more familiar with its codes and system.
Custom software, on the other hand, is much more secure and has less impact on hackers because it’s only used within your company. Aside from its exclusivity and personalization, hackers don’t see the point of infiltrating bespoke software because you don’t share it with others— they’d rather move to commercial, ready-made applications that many businesses/professionals share. While having a unique software doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be hacked, it still provides higher security and you won’t likely be a target of a mass hack that could ruin your business.
Many businesses need multiple programs to seamlessly run their operations. However, this can be hard to maintain, especially if your business is growing at the same time. Adding software that isn’t compatible with your current one will only make things worse. But with custom software, you can easily integrate multiple processes and operate everything in just one place.
Since bespoke software is designed and built from scratch, you and your developers can plan regarding the possible changes your software might undertake. They can tweak and adjust it according to the expertise levels of the users, as well as create extra modules/updates in case of staffing or app usage changes. They can also automate processes that weren’t integrated into your setup before, therefore simplifying operations even further. No matter what changes your company might adapt to, your custom-made software will make it easier to integrate and accommodate everything.
Better, consistent maintenance
When you choose off-the-shelf software, you’re at the mercy of the developer from which you purchased it— meaning when you need to update the software or just for routine maintenance, you really can’t do anything about it. All you can do is hope that the developer keeps up with the changing times and doesn’t go bankrupt, change anything that might disrupt your processes, or stop maintaining the software altogether.
This is another good reason why you should choose custom software in the first place. Since you own the application, you can update and maintain it for as long as you wish. Additionally, it gives you a sense of peace and security, knowing that you’re not dependent on a packaged software and its developer, both of which you don’t have any control of. You don’t have to worry about changing your software and wasting resources because you own your bespoke software— as previously mentioned, you have full control over it.
Reliable technical support
Once you acquire an off-the-shelf software, that’s pretty much it— it’s ready to use once installed on your computer, but you won’t likely get the technical support you need when issues come up. As a business owner, you don’t need that kind of inconvenience. With custom software, it’s exactly the opposite.
Using bespoke software for your business comes with the ultimate perk: a dependable technical support team that can help you with any software issue that may arise as time pass. You’ll have full, undisrupted access to a team of highly-skilled developers who were involved with the development of your software and are familiar with the ins and outs of the system, resulting in efficient and effective troubleshooting of software problems in a timely manner. Additionally, you can call on them whenever you need something fixed, wasting no time or resources— therefore not compromising your whole business operations.