Organizations today are digitizing their processes to increase the efficiency of their operations. They are investing in the latest technologies and digital solutions which will give them a competitive edge in the prevailing competitive market.

Once an organization decides to go digital, it would be baffled by the number of solution providers available in the market. Moreover, the solutions currently available range from commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) to custom made software.

Organizations opting to digitize their processes initially prefer the readily available and off-the-shelf solutions as they cost less and are easy to use. But, the question arises, is investing in a ready-to-use software beneficial to such organizations in the long-term? The answer is a big No. 

Organizations wanting to go digital should first check the options available for custom software solutions. It might surprise them to know that custom software development, though a little costly, can be extremely beneficial and can prove to be a great return on investment in the long term.

Following are the advantages of custom software development, which the organizations should consider before deciding whether or not to opt for readymade software:

advantage of Custom software development

  • Tailor-made

Custom software is developed to perform unique tasks in an organization whereas, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) are ready-made solutions that come with defined pre-existing features that can be used by various companies. Since such software solutions are developed to cater to tasks in general, they may not fulfil the specific requirements. Though many COTS solutions can be fine-tuned to perform specific tasks, there may be limitations to the tasks it can perform and it might not always be possible to customize such software.

  • Cost-effective in long term

Let us accept that custom software development costs more than the COTS and many organizations have budgetary constraints. Though the basic cost of COTS might be comparatively lower than custom software, there are various hidden expenses that are incurred during the deployment of a COTS solution. 

For example, a lot of time and expenditure are consumed in fine-tuning, configuring and integrating the solution with the legacy systems. The yearly licensing and renewal fees are also very high for such readymade software solutions.Looking at the overall expense and the time and money spent, custom software development should be seen as a long-term investment with higher returns.

  • Increases productivity

Many organizations opt for COTS and fine-tune them as per their organizational needs. Adapting a packaged solution as per the existing processes may not always work. Some processes may need to be left out and completed manually post which they will have to be integrated into the system by employees themselves instead of automating it. 

Since the custom software is developed for specific tasks, the developers will make sure that it integrates all the existing processes. It is designed after gathering the requirements from all the users. Thus, a fully integrated and user-friendly system will increase the efficiency of the process resulting in increased productivity of the users.

  • Ownership

Since the organization is the owner of the application’s source code, it can make changes or enhance the application with new features and modules easily whenever required. Also, the organization saves the annual license renewal fees which they would pay for COTS.

  • Security

COTS (Commercial off-the-shelf) is for mass consumption and they can be fine-tuned too. But since it is developed for common use, it can sometimes be a threat to software security. Source codes of COTS are available easily and many hackers work on breaking their security. Whereas with custom software, since it is developed in-house, it is highly secure and its source codes are also not freely available to the outsiders. Organizations like banks and stock markets who require highly encrypted software, always opt for custom software development.

  • Scalabilit

Customized software is always built keeping in mind the future growth of any organization. Hence, they need to be scalable. This means that adding a new feature/s or module/s whenever necessary becomes easy.

  • Savings

Custom software development companies offer services like installation, training, and integration. Whereas with COTS, you only buy the software and all pay extra for all the additional services. This is an additional cost in the case of COTS. Hence, the added advantage of custom software development is savings in the long run. 

Just being aware of the advantages of Custom Software Development will not help an organization decide whether it should opt for a readymade solution or tailored software solution. Organizations planning to go digital should also think of the following before making the final decision:

  • When the COTS solutions available do not fulfil basic needs

The organization should first check for all the available COTS solutions. In case if there are any good options available, they should be analyzed to check if integration of the COTS solution is possible with the existing processes & legacy systems of the organization. If it is not possible to integrate all the legacy systems, the solution should at least integrate 80% of the processes after fine-tuning. The organization should opt for custom software development if this condition is not fulfilled.

  • Legacy systems are obsolete

When an organization’s systems are more than a decade old, we can say it is obsolete technology. Organizations face regular problems like lack of compatibility with current and new technologies when working with such legacy systems. When it becomes costly & impossible to find appropriate technical support for such systems, then it is time for the organization to develop a new solution.

  • Current software systems are creating hindrance with normal processes

This problem mainly occurs when the organization opts for a COTS solution and then fine-tunes it. As mentioned earlier, the COTS solution might integrate 80% of processes and the organization thinks it will cope with the remaining 20% manually.But as time passes, this becomes a hindrance and the processes have to be adapted as per the software. Whereas, this scenario should have been vice versa and the software should have been adapted as per the business processes. Organizations reaching this stage should think of developing and deploying new custom software solutions.

  • Customer demands and market trends

If the existing legacy software & systems might work just fine and can automate most of the organization’s business process, but as new technologies evolve and new trends arrive in the market, customer requirements also change. Sometimes, the simple demands of customers that may be easily deliverable with new software solutions might seem a humongous task with the legacy systems.

For example, as soon as the system generates the invoice, an automated email should be sent to the customer. But this might not be possible if the legacy systems are not integrated with the latest technology and it will require manual interference of an employee to send emails to customers. This should be a wake-up call for any organization who needs to decide regarding the installation of an upgraded software to send emails and do much more.  

  • Productivity increases with automation

If the current software is not user-friendly, and the organization receives various complaints regarding the software, it should analyze the time taken to complete each process. The user-friendliness of a system is directly proportionate to the productivity of the employees using it. So, if the software is not user-friendly, a new and a user-friendly option may be a better choice for getting a better ROI in the long -term

Considering the above factors, we hope to have cleared your confusion on whether to opt for Custom Software Development or buy COTS. However, if you still have doubts, please contact our team of experts and we would be happy to help you. 

You can also visit our website and get to know about various Custom Software Solutions we have developed for our clients and how they felt working with us.

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