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Custom Software Design & Development vs Off the Shelf Software

There are times when a company’s business model or certain aspects of their workflow are not properly handled by an off the shelf software package.  In these cases the development of a custom software application or custom program may be necessary.  Custom software refers to software that is developed specifically for one company or organization,  as opposed to off the shelf systems, which are designed for the mass market.  Custom made software can be tailor-made to suit the exact needs and preferences of an organization.

Many factors come into play when deciding if a custom software package is the right choice.  Of those, cost, time and flexibility are the most critical.

Cost

Off the shelf systems, more often than not, are less expensive than custom software development. However, that is not always the case. If the off the shelf package would require customization, the price of this customization may exceed that of custom program development.

Time

Off the shelf systems generally have a faster time to market than custom software packages. This is because the off the shelf system has already been developed so it can be installed, configured and implemented much quicker than a custom application which will need to be developed and tested before implementation

Flexibility

Off the shelf packages tend to be very inflexible and the cost associated with the customization of these packages can be very high.  In addition, as the software vendor rolls out updates and upgrades, the customization generally needs to be redeveloped.  Custom applications, however, offer the ability to make modifications as they are needed.  With additional development custom software packages can change and grow with the organization.

In general terms it is our recommendation that any organization do their due diligence to identify the off the shelf packages that best meet their needs.  If an off the shelf package will meet their specific needs it is beneficial to implement that solution.  However, there are many times when an organization has such unique needs that an off the shelf application does not exist in the market or any that do exist would require extensive customization.  In these instances an organization might benefit from exploring the option of having custom software tailor-made to suit their unique needs.

If your company or organization has a need for custom software development and would to discuss your options and the process, please contact Targeted Technologies LLC.