There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to choosing custom software development over an off-the-shelf solution, so we’re here to break down one of the main differences down with a simple analogy.
Think of picking the software solution that is best for your company like choosing between leasing a car that is already on the lot or buying a car.
An off-the-shelf software solution is like only getting to pick from what they have on the lot to lease. The car you are looking at may not have the features you need, so you have to move to an upgraded model. That upgraded model will probably also have features you’ll never use that you still have to pay for.
Do you really need a car that parks itself? Probably not, but you still need to pay for it, if you want leather seats.
Choosing an off-the-shelf software solution is just like leasing a car in the sense that they both typically cost less up front. But to make it work for yourself, there are expensive upgrades that lump other upgraded features that you don’t need in too.
At the end of your lease, you need to give that car back. You don’t own it. The same goes for off-the-shelf solutions. If you don’t want to work with that provider anymore, you can’t take that software with you because you don’t own it.
Custom Software Development
Custom software is like buying a car. You can buy what they have on the lot and add the exact features you want, or place an order that has the features you want and nothing else.
That’s how custom software development works, you get exactly what you need and nothing you don’t.
When you are done buying your car, you aren’t obligated to get your car serviced at that dealership. You can go anywhere that knows how to service that kind of car. You aren’t locked into servicing your car at that specific dealership. If you don’t want to work with the dealership that sold you the car afterwards, you have the option of servicing somewhere else, without having to give them the car back.
The same concept can be applied to investing in custom software development. After you buy the software, if you choose not to work with that company again, it’s okay because you own the software.
One of the common misconceptions about custom software is that every little piece of it has to be created from scratch. While in some cases that is true, a large part of custom software development is taking preexisting pieces of software and adapting them to work together as one unified system. This is similar to someone taking a base model car and upgrading it to a fast and furious style racecar.
So, what’s better?
There’s no universal answer to whether custom software development or an off-the-shelf solution will be better for your business. It all depends on what is going to work best for your individual business. But now that you understand the basics of the rent vs. buy philosophy, you can head here to help you figure out what questions you need to ask yourself to figure out if custom software development or an off-the-shelf solution will be best for your company.
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