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Canned vs Custom Software Solutions, Like Apples & Oranges

When your business requires a software solution, you have several directions which you can go. A credible custom programming firm can help you device by completing a detailed needs analysis so that they can provide you with the information needed for you to make the best business decision for your company.

It’s not always easy to device which application is right for your business. Below are a few pros and cons that may help you device.

Customized Software – PROs:

  1. Customized software can provide exactly what you need. The actual users are very good at describing the work flow and as a result, the software can be more effectively designed to increase user efficiency.
  2. You own the software and the code behind it which affords you more control over future enhancements so the software can change as your business changes.
  3. Custom software allows for the creation of meaningful reports that are used to make intelligent business decisions.
  4. Once the software is developed, the programmer will be familiar with your work process and will be better suited to provide the best technical support understanding common issues, traps, and work arounds and provide continuous improvements to your software. Unlike an off the shelf software technical support person who usually deals with generic issues.
  5. Since the users will have input into the design, employees will be more readily accepting of the new system. They will also require less training because they were involved in the development.
  6. Your improvement dollars are wisely spent on the functions you actually need to improve your process.


Customized Software – CONs:

  1. Custom software is customized to fit your needs; therefore you should expect to pay more. How much more depends upon the scope of the software’s capabilities. Keep in mind the money you will save in the long run from duplicated work.
  2. Custom software is not readily available like an off the shelf software. The time frame will depend upon the scope of the project. The time to develop the software could be reduced by using experienced developers with proven software development practices.


Off the Shelf Software – PROs:

  1. Off the shelf software is readily available for use upon purchase.
  2. The initial cost will almost always be less than a custom software, however you may have licensing fees where you must pay a fee for each user of the software.
  3. Technical support is usually free.


Off the Shelf Software – CONs:

  1. The software may not be able to expand to create other functions that you may need therefore many companies use two different software applications to complete their task resulting in redundant data entry.
  2. You will have to adjust your current workflow instead of the software meeting your process needs resulting in “work arounds” an you not getting the reporting results you want.
  3. If you are experiencing a specific issue with the software, the manufacturer of the software will address the fix or upgrade at their time schedule not yours.
  4. Since the users have no input in how the software would function, they may be more reluctant to the change and will require training which can be costly depending on how many users you have.
  5. Some software manufacturers charge annual license or subscription renewal fees.

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