Would you buy a blueprint off the shelf to build your dream house? The answer is, of course no, as the likelihood of it being the perfect solution is slim to none, never mind that once it is built you may find that only three of the rooms have windows or that the design makes it impossible to fit the oven, the refrigerator and the sink in the kitchen. House blueprints are customised to the homeowner needs and requirements. So why would you think that a universal software programme will be suitable to your business requirements?
Off the shelf software products do not give your business the functionality that it requires. The software may work in some areas, but not in others, and so begins a vicious circle, whereby you need to purchase additional off the shelf products to meet the shortfall. However, in the end, these multiple packages will not provide you with a complete solution and inevitably you will spend more money than if you had outsourced for a customised solution from the beginning.
Custom developed software that is tailormade for your business needs is more often than not the best solution. Developing this software is an inclusive, comprehensive process between the stakeholders, business owner, management team, development team, UI and UX expert and testing team. Knowing your business and its core functions is the beginning of putting together a blueprint for the software requirements. However, before signing yourself up to the process, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why I need custom developed software? This is when an off-the-shelf software vs custom developed software conversation needs to take place.
- Do I have time to spare? Building custom developed software for your company takes time and money. Through this process you will be able to help create software that will give your business the tools to function without minimal interruptions as well as consideration for business growth.
- What is it that I need the software to do? Listen to your teams. If you are not using the software, listen to the person who is; this valuable input should not be overlooked. When taking on the initiative to have custom software developed, you will be assigned a “product owner” within your development company who will make sure that you are getting exactly what you need from your software for your business. They will ask the following questions:
- Why are we developing this feature?
- Who are we developing it for?
- Will it bring value to the business?
- Do I need additional funds to create the desired software? Creating software involves an initial investment. However, since the software is designed to make business easier, this will be a worthwhile investment.
- Who do I contact to help me? It is imperative that you find and work with a reputable software development agency that understands what YOU need and not what they think you need.