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Out-of-the-box vs Custom Software - Which One is Right for Your Business?

When it comes to choosing software solutions for your business, software development companies offer two main options: out-of-the-box (OOTB) and custom software. Depending on your business and the needs you have, one solution may fit better than the other.

But what are their particularities and how can you determine which one will bring your business the most advantages?

Out-of-the-box vs custom software - which one is right for your business?: eAskme
Out-of-the-box vs custom software - which one is right for your business?: eAskme

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To do so, you need to understand what each of them is and what their main benefits, as well as downsides are:

What is Custom software?

If your company does have a more unique business model and requires something more tailored, then a custom software designed especially for you might be the best solution.

As the name calls it, a custom software solution is fully customizable and built with your needs in mind. It is a unique product, cut to fit your business exactly.

The reason some businesses fear custom solutions is because they can get quite expensive and it can take much longer to be ready to use.

In reality, there are only two reasons why implementing custom software development doesn’t go as planned.
  • The first one is because the solution is made using an OOTB product as a base, which can sometimes not respond well to upgrades or changes and needs to be rebuilt every time an upgrade is needed.

  • The other reason is that the product is too customized, because once you get the taste, you may be tempted to want to customize everything, which can be expensive and hard to maintain.

Custom Software – Benefits and Downsides

As it is a fully customized product, the advantages of a custom software solution are abounding:

Long-term cost-effectiveness:

While the initial cost of custom software is much higher than for OOTB products. You don’t have to pay any license fees afterward and, because the product is made to fit your needs exactly, you won’t have to completely switch to a different one over time, but rather just make some adjustments;

You are in control:

As opposed to OOTB solutions, where you have to wait for new updates, with custom software, you decide when it’s time for a change, based on your needs and financial means.

Improves productivity:

As it is a customized software, you get to pick the best solution to improve workflow and efficiency.

Competitive edge:

Given the fact that you don’t share the same product as your competitors, you get to have the possibility to stand out and provide better customer experience .

When it comes to downsides, custom software does not have many, as experts form a software company in California have highlighted it can be customized to overcome almost any issue:

Speed of implementation:

As custom solutions have to be built from scratch, they do require some time to be fully functional and it can sometimes take months or even years to be completely ready;

Bigger initial costs:

Development companies do have to invest more time in creating a customized solution, which is why the initial cost for implementation can be much higher, but usually, the return on investment is quite significant.

May require technical skills:

OOTB solutions don’t require you to have technical expertise, but when it comes to custom software, you may need to have someone specially trained who can take care of the maintenance in-house, so you don’t need to call the development company every time you need some small adjustments.

What is Out-of-the-box (OOTB) software?

OOTB software is ready-made software, developed to handle the general needs of a certain type of company, or a certain business process that applies to an industry.

Think of it like a product that you pick from the shelves of a store.

It is designed to fit certain needs and deals with standard operations.

It typically does not need to be thoroughly customized and can be set up fast.

This type of software is better suited for businesses who are in need of a quick solution and who have a clear, less prone to change, business process.

Typically, software development companies have OOTB solutions already “on the shelves”, which means the product is ready to use immediately.

An OOTB solution can also be useful if you don’t have an internal technical team to deal with possible scenarios that may come with a custom developed software.

All you need to do is install it, make some small configuration adjustments and you are good to go.

OOTB Software - Benefits and Downsides

The benefits of an OOTB product come especially for companies who need to manage standard processes:

Cost-effective:

as it does not require much customization, OOTB software is much less expensive than a customized one;

Availability:

If your business is a common one, such as a store or a restaurant, you will find software solutions quite fast and will have plenty to choose from;

Quality assurance:

As it is a product that has worked for many businesses before, you will know for sure it is a solution that works and will benefit your company;

Fast deployment:

OOTB software is ready to use the moment you buy it, with just little configuration;

No experience needed:

As the product is already functional, you don’t need an entire team of tech experts to make it work.

However, OOTB solutions do have some downsides, despite being quite the perfect solution for general industries.

Performance gaps:

Because out-of-the-box software is designed to satisfy a large customer base, its functionality is quite generic and, if your business incorporates some unique processes, an OOTB product may not be able to satisfy all your company’s needs.

At the same time, you may be getting some unnecessary features that, despite paying for, you will never need to use.

Additional fees:you already know that OOTB products have a much lower initial price, but sometimes they do require an annual licensing fee, as well as other fees for upgrades or support.

Choosing between an out-of-the-box and a custom software solution can be hard, as they both have great advantages.

At the end of the day, you need to choose the solution that best fits your business’ needs and is the most efficient one.

If you conduct business in a more general domain, such as a retail store, then you may not need customized software to keep it up and running, but if your business process is more one-of-a-kind, then you may want to consider investing in customized software.

If you still have any question, do share via comments.

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