Off-the-shelf versus Custom Software Development

David Burkett - Working Mouse 

The question of build vs buy puzzles many decision makers, who may find themselves unable to evaluate how to implement new software into their business. You have two options: build custom software or buy “off-the-shelf”. To ensure you choose the right option, I will illustrate the the factors to consider when making this decision.

Normally, buying your application “off-the-shelf” is quicker and cheaper than hiring a software developer and building your own bespoke app. This is advantageous when you’re facing time or financial constraints.

Although buying your app “off-the-shelf” is (normally) initially quicker and cheaper than building your own, these advantages seldom last.

Because you are using another’s code, you are unable to make changes to suit your own changing needs.  Your business’ inability to change the core code that’s critical to your operations limits its ability to pivot and scale. This means you may have to fit your business operations to the software, rather than using software that compliments and streamlines your business.

Now that everything is digital, business owners need to shift their ‘traditional’ view of what an asset looks like. Take Uber as an example, the company barely owns any physical assets, and yet they have been valued at over $70 billion. The value lies in IP.

Ultimately, a business decision needs to be made at the start of the process, is there off-the-shelf software that will fit my business process? Even if there is an off-the-shelf system, make sure you consider the licensing fees. Will it be more cost effective in the long-run to avoid licensing fees and develop your own asset? If you’d like guidance on whether to use off-the-shelf or develop bespoke software, please contact me.

For further information: | ph (07) 3371 2003

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