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5 reasons to choose custom software

The alternatives you are faced with when you need new software are to build it yourself, either in-house or using external software developers, or to use an off-the-shelf solution. There is also the option to purchase off-the-shelf software and then customize it to your needs and requirements. This route, however, is a whole complex topic on its own.

Custom software vs. standardized solutions

An off-the-shelf solution is exactly what it sounds like: a solution that can be picked from the shelf. Okay, maybe not literally a shelf, as it's still software we’re talking about. But the solution itself already exists, is mass-produced, available for the general public, and can be purchased or licensed directly – it's a standard solution. Think: Microsoft O365, Dynamics or SAP.

Choosing a standard solution can of course be tempting (and no one ever got fired for buying Microsoft, right?). It often means a lower initial cost and the solution can be implemented relatively quickly. As a potential user, you can also talk to other companies who are already using the product and may even be offered the chance to test it before you commit to buying it.

Surely, that sounds good? And it is. Standardized solutions can be a great option and we are the first ones to tell our customers if we see that there is a solution out there that already fits their needs. Sometimes however, a solution developed based on your company’s specific needs is the best option.

Here’s five reasons why your company should consider investing in custom software.

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Five reasons to build your own software

1. Tailor-made for your business needs

The first, and also rather obvious, advantage is that it simply enables your company to have a unique and tailor-made solution that is completely adapted to your needs and requirements. The standard solution you’ve been looking at is not designed to do exactly what you want it to do, meaning it most likely is not optimal for your business. This often results in adaptations to the product early on, which can be both costly and difficult, or even impossible. In trying to tweak the product according to your needs, it could lead to unexpected issues and both complex and expensive upgrade processes later down the road.  

2. Creates competitive advantages

Having a solution that is designed and developed specifically for your business is something that you can take advantage of compared to companies that use generic, off-the-shelf solutions. How will you be able to stand out in an industry if you use the exact same systems as your competitors? With your own software, you will.  

With your own software you will have a valuable asset for your company and you could potentially even sell, license or whitelabel it to competitors. But even if you don’t go down that route, the software will increase the value of your company and could in some cases be the basis of patents or other similar intellectual property that will strengthen your balance sheet.  

3. Lower costs in the long run

Since it is designed to be seamlessly integrated with all your existing systems and processes from the start, custom software can be more cost-effective over a longer period of time. It will still require some maintenance and potential upgrades but the additional costs will be limited.

An off-the-shelf solution may have a lower initial cost, but often you are forced to invest in some customization pretty quickly, and your upfront costs may not be as low as you had hoped. As overall compliance and security requirements are increasing, you might also be forced to face costs related to regular upgrades and new licenses. This can in turn result in even more additional costs as your staff might need to be retrained.

4. More flexibility

Software developed and designed for your own business and processes is more scalable, both in terms of functionality and volume, and flexible. As your company grows, thrives and develops, your needs will change quickly – often meaning that standard solutions can’t keep up at the same pace. When new trends and technologies appear, custom software can be adapted more easily to these societal changes than your competitors with standardized products. This means that your custom software is more long-lasting and can be kept over many, many years.

5. Better control of your data

A great advantage of custom software development is that you will own your own data, something that is not always the case when it comes to a standardized solution. As you own the software itself, you also own the data and have full control over it. You will decide the level of security and can have the software designed to handle your data in a way that aligns with your organization’s needs and policies.  

Many off-the-shelf solutions on the other hand, come with limitations when it comes to what you can do with the data you put into the system. Sometimes you even end up relying completely on the supplier to maintain backups, security and disaster recovery.

Has the list above been an eye-opener for you when it comes to custom software? Get in touch so we can talk more about exactly what your business needs! Or head over to our other article about custom software to get a better understanding.

You can also have a look at some of the custom-built solutions that we’ve developed for our clients:

Scalable app for streamlined workflows

Development of a search engine for Swedish agricultural field trials

Not sure if you need custom software?

Find out what the signs are – and whether they exist in your company!
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