Custom Software or No Custom Software – Is This Your Question? (Pt.1)

In some companies, employees lament that there is no software “that just ties all these programs together,” “That software program is broken again,” “I wish this program would do this” or even, “I wish this was easier.” In pursuit of an answer, you dream about a perfect solution and if you have the necessary budget.

Custom software is a great solution for a variety of business needs, but it is a decision that should not be taken lightly. This is the first post in a two-part blog. We’ll address when custom software is a good fit and when it’s not. 

When is off-the-shelf most likely the best solution for my business?

In order to answer this question, first, can you explain your software needs in a way that will guide and direct a profitable search for a successful solution?  You should have a clear picture of what your needs are. Oftentimes, custom software isn’t necessarily the best solution based on your needs and priorities.

That said, here are some signs that usually indicate that off-the-shelf software, not custom software, is the appropriate solution:

  • The issue or problem that you are trying to solve is common to many other companies. The problem isn’t unique to you.
  • You would need an immediate solution, which could be implemented quickly.
  • You would need to prioritize the cost of the solution over the functionality.
  • You would be willing to make internal changes to your business processes to make the off-the-shelf software “work” for you. 
  • Your software solution doesn’t need to have your brand attached to it.
  • You would have little to no integration needs with other systems or software and the integrations that you currently have are straightforward.
  • The impact of an off-the-shelf software provider going out of business or changing their offering would not have a negative impact on your business.
  • There are many options for common software in the market and changing between them to try different solutions wouldn’t negatively impact your business. 

Use the above checklist in the discussions and meetings aimed at solving your business problem. Making the decision to invest in custom software is not an easy decision. At the end of the day, custom software may not be the best solution for your business and you might be surprised at how effective an off-the-shelf solution can be for solving your current business needs. If you’ve determined that you need more than an off-the-shelf solution can provide, give Capsher a call.

We’d love to hear from you!