Ready-Made Solutions Vs Custom Software Development

27 June 2022

Liubomyr Sirskyi

Content Manager

When selecting a digital solution, many businesses have to decide: rely on retail software or pick a custom software development company. At first glance, there is nothing complicated. In the first case, you get quick automation that requires no extra cost, while in the second, you get a full-fledged product that entirely meets your business goals. However, the final choice is a little more difficult. Let’s review all advantages and drawbacks of both options.

What Is an Off-The-Shelf Product?

This notion is quite simple to understand. Commercial off-the-shelf software (or COTS) is a ready-made product that anyone can buy, set up, and implement. This solution aims to meet the needs of most businesses. Therefore, turnkey software is a good choice for the following situations. 

  1. You want to evaluate the product features in advance and save resources simultaneously.
  2. You plan to launch a project quickly and relatively inexpensively, so you can collect feedback from the focus groups and change the necessary functionality.
  3. You have to change the digital ecosystem urgently due to certain restrictions.

You have possibly implemented such software since the COTS option is popular. The following commercial off-the-shelf examples are the most well-known:

  • Windows OS
  • Avast Antivirus
  • Trello
  • Sage X3
  • The Microsoft Office
  • Taskade

Now let’s analyse the pros and cons of turnkey products.

Pros

Many developers will highlight the following advantages:

  • Rapid deployment. You will start using your software within hours, which is faster than the custom development.
  • No additional hardware and software. Just install your application, and that’s it.
  • Free maintenance. After getting the turnkey software, you can be calm about product support and maintenance. The contractor provides free updates remotely, keeping the business activity stable and effective.
  • Convenient conditions. All retail solutions imply a monthly subscription, so you can stop leveraging your tool as soon as it no longer fits your project. Thus, you are free to select relevant products and stay agile.
  • Wide range of price options. Turnkey solutions are relatively inexpensive compared to custom apps. The subscription ranges from $100 to $500 per month, depending on the chosen tariff plan. 

Therefore, you may understand that ready-made software has affordable pricing and straightforward implementation.

Cons

Still, these products have two critical drawbacks:

  • Lack of flexibility. You can easily implement commercial off-the-shelf software but not adapt it to specific project goals. Technical support is available in advanced subscription plans but cannot fill the unique company requests.
  • Slow adaptation to market changes. Retail software developers add support for new operating system features slowly than users update the OS. If the application functionality cannot cover the customers’ needs, then they will start to abandon the application. 
  • Scaling problems. The functionality of retail software is hardly adaptable to specific business needs, reducing the entire performance and digital product efficiency.
  • Integration difficulties. The turnkey software has a standard set of features, so it may be challenging to integrate the third-party solution. In this case, you should look for more specialists to solve the problem.

However, retail products are not suitable for every project since they have a lot of nuances. Read more about the risks of purchasing turnkey software here.

What Is the Custom Software?

A custom product is a unique solution that covers your needs and requirements. In this case, developers include functionality and the application interface that depends on your business specifics. You should have enough resources to develop such software, but these investments are justified because you get an exceptionally useful product. However, the bespoke software development might not suit every startup’s needs. Let’s review all features of such an option. 

When Should You Consider the Custom Development?

Software development from scratch can bring a wide variety of advantages that we will analyse later. But you have to consider some valuable aspects before selecting the custom software for your project. 

As we learned above, creating a tailored app is time-consuming and requires hiring a custom software company. If you expect to launch the software in the shortest possible time, then the custom approach might not be an appropriate choice for your project. 

Another key aspect is the budget. Ready-made digital solutions can save you money in the short term. But as the company grows, turnkey solutions often become inconvenient. For example, it has a lot of unnecessary functionality and lacks essential features. If your project involves non-standard activities and compliance with the technical and industry standards, it would be better to choose custom software. 

Advantages of the Custom Software Approach

While deciding on the tailored software option, you might think, “Should I put the time and funds into its creation?” Regardless of your end goal, the following benefits may provide the answer to your question.

  1. Individual approach. Custom software is built considering the particular business specifics, so it has no unnecessary features. Developers adopt such a solution to current business activities and the connection of new tasks. Plus, employees will be able to interact with the application effectively through a unique interface.
  2. Free license. All new features can be added to the application by your dedicated team as part of technical support, saving you more money in the long run.
  3. Product rights. After testing and deploying the digital product, the customer company receives the source code and exclusive intellectual property rights. Thus, you can sell the software, rent it out, or outsource work to another contractor.
  4. Simple scaling. If your company plans to grow, custom development will make it straightforward to expand the application capabilities.
  5. Easy project maintenance. You will not have to deal with crashes, tool-specific bugs or obsolete features. Your custom software development company will always be ready to help with these obstacles.

Therefore, you can choose the custom approach and take your project to the next level. Let’s look at the summary table with ready-made and bespoke software features.  

Ready-made solutionsCustom software 
Aimed at small businesses Aimed at large companies 
Difficult or impossible to customiseDesigned to meet unique needs 
For startups that have just entered the market and doubt what features they needFor projects that want to go beyond the off-the-shelf solution
For companies with a standard process setFor enterprises that try to overtake competitors with unique processes
Require less initial implementation costs but more maintenance costsMore expensive than a turnkey solution (because the individual needs support) but has lower maintenance costs
Involve the deployment and training stages It has a long development cycle, requiring more time for the project execution
A vendor holds the intellectual property rightsA customer company receives rights to the source code and the software itself
A vendor provides only technical support, so you need to hire another team for customisation and scalingA dedicated team provides advanced maintenance of digital products

Conclusion

​​Mature businesses more often opt for bespoke software to fulfil their needs and requirements. If your company is continually growing, you should look for a trusted tech partner to maintain a large-scale project and move forward. At Rocketech, you can rely on the assistance of our dedicated team. We collaborate with young startups and big companies that are interested in high-quality service and complex enterprise-level solutions. And if you want to reach new heights and expand your business, contact us now.

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