Software Solutions Come in Different Packages
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Software Solutions Come in Different Packages

by Sam Salbi | Jan 12, 2015

Software solutions come in different packages. Given differentiations such as platform e.g. mobile, web, cloud-based and development type i.e. off-the-shelf or custom, deciding which solution to select can be daunting. Factors to consider include:

  • Existing processes
  • Benefits of a system’s deployment
  • Cost (in short term and long term)

Defining the business requirements is an essential step before start looking into different software solutions. Few things to consider when  selecting a packaged software, meeting the majority of the essential business requirements, shall be extendable to write custom application to meet the remaining business requirements and short and long term license, maintenance operation and support cost. Any packaged software not meeting this benchmark costs more in the long run. This is due to requiring more customization, change to processes, training as processes change etc.

When planning to acquire software, you should determine all the requirements needed from the software. Some of the requirements will include:

Business processes conformance

When you find that employees have to change between software suites when doing routine tasks or handling normal business processes, it’s time for a custom application development. Having to type data from a form to an excel spreadsheet then moving it to a database for querying and analysis before visualizing with R programming is more than an overkill. It results in reduced productivity, increased learning time and other overheads.

A custom application development doesn’t require a business to conform its processes to the application’s features. Rather, it conforms to current processes by aligning the solution to the firm’s personnel, processes and existing technology. This enables the developers to provide all the features a business’ workers require. Custom application development would make a process as was mentioned earlier more efficient. Data could be entered in mobile devices and uploaded to a web server. A web application can then be used to analyze and visualize it. This increases productivity and efficiency in your business.

Features and adaptability

If you are always waiting for software updates for new features that may or may not come, custom software development could be the solution. Custom applications can be changed more readily as they are meant for you. In contrast, packaged software is meant for millions of users, meaning the different features users want have to be considered and the most important selected. Custom applications on the other hand can be changed by a team of in-house developers or a software development firm as you need. This is because you have more control over the software development roadmap.

Growth and scalability

Growth is another reason to acquire custom software. As the number of employees and users increases, current costs of existing software applications may be prohibitive. This is due to factors like training and license fees. Custom applications are more scalable and adaptable to changing requirements.

Custom software will also provide a competitive advantage over other firms. If you use packaged software, then you have access to the same features as your competitors. Custom software gives you access to features that your competitors do not have access to. This gives you an edge over them. In addition, it can cater for processes that provides your business with competitive advantage such as a mathematical model for analysis or a highly successful mentorship program. This makes the custom application an asset for your organization.

Access to latest technologies

Custom software also offers access to the latest technological advances. Custom applications can be designed in such a way that it is not only easy to adapt the system to changing requirements but to also change the system itself. This will enable a business to enjoy the benefits of emerging technology such as cloud computing.

By knowing when to go for custom application development, a business can enjoy many benefits with reduced total ownership costs.

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