Why You Should Choose A Custom App Versus Off-The-Shelf Software

Today, businesses and other organizations of all sizes can choose from a wide range of software for their business. Many companies are now investing in custom software or mobile applications to streamline their operations and integrate business processes. Addressing unique business challenges or needs often requires special software rather than off-the-shelf options. For instance, off-the-shelf software may not have the ability to communicate with another piece of software without a customized software integration. Or you may want to offer ordering via a mobile app but have concerns about having your menu lost amongst your competition in the “big” delivery apps. A lot of people are confused about when it’s best to go with an off-the-shelf solution versus an application that’s been tailored specifically for your organization’s needs. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of both types of software so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your organization – whether that’s a custom app or something else.
custom software integration developer
March 13, 2023
min read
Software integration, Laptop , mobile development

What Is Off-The-Shelf Software?

Off-the-shelf software is generally geared to the mass market. While it’s true that some niche software is off-the-shelf it can be very expensive. The software used by film studios or top-billed music artists sometimes falls into this category. Almost everything else is designed with “the usual” use cases and for the most part it is not customizable. This is true for both software run within your environment on physical or virtual servers and software offered “as-a-service" (SaaS). Off-the-shelf solutions are usually less expensive than custom software because they can be bought in bulk by many customers and are sold as a fully developed product spreading out the cost of development across a wide customer base. Off-the-shelf solutions often come with pre-defined features, workflows, and other limitations – meaning you can’t always fully customize it to your specific needs. Again, depending on the solution, customization may or may not be possible at all.

Why You Shouldn’t Always Choose Off-The-Shelf Software?

Off-the-shelf software can be an excellent solution for many businesses particularly those who follow a standard industry model. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll generally have fewer customization and scalability options with this type of software. You may also be limited by the specific functionality provided by the software. For example, if you select a payroll solution that isn’t fully integrated with your other business software, you may have to manually enter data into two separate systems. That can make your life more difficult, put you at risk of human error and ultimately increase your costs. However, off-the-shelf software that’s fully integrated with other software and meets your business needs may not be available, or it may be extremely expensive. A custom application designed specifically for your organization’s needs will likely fit your exact workflow, feature requirements, and budget. You’ll have full control over the functionality of the app, which means you can make whatever changes and updates you need as your business goals change or as your business scales.

Why You Should Choose A Custom App?

Custom apps are built specifically for your organization – including your team’s unique processes, functionalities, and other requirements. These apps are often much more flexible and scalable than off-the-shelf software because you have control over the entire development process. Custom apps are often the best option when you need to integrate multiple systems, are looking to create a fully customized solution, or want to control how your data is managed. For example, let’s say you’re a retailer that needs to integrate its supply chain management (SCM) software with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. An off-the-shelf CRM solution may not be able to integrate with your SCM software, or vice versa. In this situation, it may be best to build a custom integration that can be fully integrated with both systems. Another use case would be when your company is in a relatively young industry that may not have been around long enough for software publishers to create an off-the-shelf product that meets your needs.

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When you want more flexibility than a native integration?

Depending on your business and workflow needs, you may need more (or less) functionality than a native integration provides. With native integration, you will be limited to the functionality of that integration possibly exchanging either too much or too little data, and possibly lacking the custom field mapping, and formatting you would get with a custom integration. With a custom integration, you can not only choose exactly what data will be exchanged and how, and when. With native integration, the timing is set to the cadence of the app. With a custom integration, you can set the timing to meet the needs of your business or even impose a manual trigger before the synchronization occurs.

What Choice is Right for You??

Businesses often must choose between off-the-shelf software and custom apps for their operations. While off-the-shelf software is available for a wide range of organizations, a custom app is designed specifically for your organization’s needs. Custom apps are often the best option when you need to integrate multiple systems, want to fully customize your app, or want to control how your data is managed. Choosing the right software development partner is an important decision in deciding if custom software is right for your needs. Zetaton has years of experience helping firms make this decision all over the world. Ultimately, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each option before deciding so you can make the best choice based on your organization’s needs.