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The market offers multiple different IT solutions for business, which aim to fulfill the needs of the entrepreneurs as much as possible. Looking through the offers, you will come across both canned solutions and custom software. What are the main features of these? What do they have in common and where do they differ?
It is a ready-made solution offered either by the software developer or by a software distribution provider. It has a defined scope of functions, although sometimes it is possible to choose the ones that are required for a particular company. Some of the companies offer a certain degree of customization but it is mainly limited to system configuration and may entail additional charges. To start using the software, it is necessary to buy a license for each user. The types of license and payment methods differ but are always subscription-based: the payment is made periodically for the given period when the software is being used. Technically, it is possible to develop such a system further but the authors rarely approve such a move. In this way, the software is adjusted to the client's needs in a very limited way and the workflow is only partly optimized. The price of such a solution is low, provided there are not too many people using the software; the cost increases as the number of users grows. That's why only a small team will benefit from using such a solution. Due to a fixed range of the offered functions, the solution is hardly intuitive and often requires the users to adjust the processes taking place in the company to the technological capacity of the software. The software house does not guarantee help during the implementation of the solution, however, there is usually the option to get this extra service for an additional charge, which tends to be a considerable expense. Off-the-shelf software can be launched quickly in a company, however, the training of the staff is not as easy due to the small degree of adjustment and lack of intuitiveness. Before you decide to buy a particular system you may want to test the available demos and trial versions, which are released by the software houses or the software distribution providers.
Who can benefit from a canned solution?
This type of software will be suitable for small companies. A canned solution is designed to suit many different industries, which means it only has general functions. The system will help to streamline basic processes, e.g. customer service, sales processes, or scheduling tasks. The system will save time but only to a certain degree. The cost of such a solution depends on the number of users. The software can be launched very quickly but the implementation stage can take much longer as the IT support is not included in the price. Such software is rarely updated, which may result in your system not being that functional after some time.
Systems of this type are perfectly tailored to the individual needs of the client. As they are built based on the outcome of the consultations with the client, they reflect the unique processes taking place in a company. In this way, the solution itself will be one of a kind. Custom applications can be easily developed further according to the growing needs of a company. Due to the software scalability, the number of users is unlimited. The software house offers support during the implementation stage, as well as ensures software maintenance and updates. The prices of systems of this type differ and the quote is based on the size of the system, its functions, and the time required for the development. It can only be fully tested once it has been deployed, however, the software house shares access to the recently built modules to allow a deeper insight into the functioning of the developed solution. A solution of this type guarantees perfect adjustment to the client's needs and streamlines the daily workflow.
Who can benefit from a dedicated system?
Custom software is a good choice for medium and large companies that aim at growth. Solutions of this type allow further development, which guarantees that the system will stay up-to-date with the processes in the company, reflecting them precisely. The process of bespoke application development takes several weeks when the following steps are completed: identification of the client's needs, consultations, designing, programming, testing, implementation. The client gets a full service, which is not limited solely to delivering the software, which is the case when buying a canned solution. As such software is intuitive and precisely tailored to the client's needs, the implementation stage runs smoothly and quickly.
Advantages of an off-the-shelf system
1. Price - it is low if there are not too many users but it gets higher when the number of users increases.
2. Quick launch - the client only needs to install the solution or set up an account.
3. The possibility of testing a trial version of the software before purchase.
Advantages of a bespoke system
1. Perfectly tailored to the individual needs of the client.
2. The possibility of further development in accordance with the growing needs of a company.
3. Support during the implementation stage.
4. Ownership right transferred to the client.
5. User-friendly ways to ensure data security.
6. Fast implementation and intuitiveness of the software.
7. An unlimited number of users.
8. No subscriptions or extra charges.
Disadvantages of an off-the-shelf system
1. Lack of adjustability to the needs of a company.
2. Lack of possibility for further development.
3. Lack of support from the software house.
4. Lack of control over added or removed functions in case of updates.
5. Extra cost for each new user.
6. The client buys a subscription, not the software.
Disadvantages of a bespoke system
1. The full price needs to be paid in one go before the software can be used in a company
2. Identification of the client's needs and the development of a tailor-made solution is time-consuming
3. Designing a detailed project of the application requires a commitment of relevant individuals in a company.
Before you make your final decision to buy a ready-made system or to invest in a bespoke solution for your company, consider all the pros and cons of both options as well as the possibilities and dangers they entail. When choosing an IT system, it is key to see whether an investment will pay off. Also think about the schedule: how much time you can commit to find your solutions, build and test it, and then implement it. The answers to these questions will help you decide which type of software will be most beneficial for your company: off-the-shelf or custom. If you are not sure which to choose, contact us, we are happy to advise.
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