Off-the-shelf software vs. Custom Software Solution
The software development industry is growing with lightning speed, yet the supply does not seem to match the high demand for products. And while the amount of products that are available to use is greater than ever but there is still an insatiable need for niche software products that serve a very specific purpose with excellence.
So how will those products be developed? Will the industries who need this software wait until the right app drops on the market? Is that a reliable way to grow and advance the industry? My answer is no.
Waiting for the just-right product to drop and serve your niche business and service, is not a reliable source to be able to be marketable and is also not a good strategy to beat the competition.
So what can you do? You can work with a software development team that can help you create a specific product that makes the most to present what you are offering in a way that is reachable, reliable and also has long-term prospects.
Why do you need custom software? Glad you asked…
Customization and efficiency
There may be hundreds of other applications that do just well enough to serve your company. However, those tools are available to anyone who wishes to enter the niche industry – so you are hardly in a stable position, allowing for competitors to be neck to neck with what you are offering.
Customization allows building an application that completely optimizes your service and also performs in a much more efficient way. There are no features that you are not using. It is highly flexible to the point where you can create any functionality, and have it work in a way that is completely coherent with the rest of the product.
While there is a lot you can do with an off-the-shelf app that can serve a wider circle of employees and also services, it is likely you would be paying for features you may not need. Also if you are occupying a niche industry, chances are there is simply not something that is exactly what you need. Or perhaps you have had to change your processes to be able to use the tools you have available to you.
Having custom solutions created for your company allows for growth that pre-purchased apps do not offer. Or they do – for a significantly higher price. If you are working with a custom product, you have the option to scale it up in any direction you may need. You can target certain buyer persona profile, you can tweak it to serve that. If you want to reach a wider scope or reach farther locations, you can do that on your own terms, in a way that you are not paying for anything that is not of use and also you have full control of what the product becomes as it evolves.
What are your options?
Let’s say you decided you want to jump at the chance to beat out your competitors with custom software that serves your business better. How can you go about it? Should you hire your own team? What technology should you choose for development? How do you know to hire competent professionals without having worked with developers before?
How can you plan the software development process as a Product Owner or a Tech Lead without understanding the internal processes that go into creating the product? Luckily for you, there are options for you to not only be in charge of the software you want but have all of your concerns are handled by the right team.
Software development outsourcing
One of the most widely used outsourcing methods is actually is project-based. An outsourcing company is hired and is taking care of the entire production process, from planning to employee management, task delegation and so on. The company usually works on multiple projects at a time, while each project is assigned a dedicated team of specialists that are the best fit for it. Both in terms of their technological specialization, and they are often approved by the product owner if they choose to be involved in this part of a project.
The product owner that is hiring the outsourcing company has direct contact with the project manager and sometimes the tech lead if the positions are occupied by two different individuals, but rarely communicates with the developers.
Advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing
- The outsourcing company is in charge of all of the management in terms of developers
- All of the equipment needed for development is provided
- No responsibilities for the hiring of competent developers – teams are put together by the company, based on their skills that are the most compatible with the product
- The quality and execution of the product is up to the outsourcing company
- More expensive as you are paying for the management
- No direct control over the development process
- Requires specificity when you lay out what you want, as it is slower to change the direction of the project – timely communication is key
Software development outstaffing
While one of the best things about outsourcing is that the hired company takes care of the entire project management, while you oversee simply if the product is up to par or you want to take it in another direction there is the option of outstaffing as well.
The main difference between the two is that in outstaffing, you can choose to hire your development team directly. You can either have someone on-site to manage them. Or hire someone who is solely responsible for the organizational side of the development process, and overseeing it to be sure it is running smoothly.
Advantages and disadvantages of Outstaffing
- Outstaffing allows for direct management in terms of the development team
- Potential to be more flexible as it is entirely in your control or your delegate’s to manage the ongoing development process
- Direct access to the developers
- Less expensive
- All of the equipment and software needed for development has to be provided by you
- The responsibility of hiring and managing a competent team of specialists is entirely up to the client.
- The delivery responsibility is entirely up to the client and if unequipped to properly manage the development process, it can be potentially risky
Which should you choose?
Naturally, if you decided to take a step towards having a custom solution, you will have to make the choice on how to approach it. There are definitely factors to consider such as budget, how much time can be dedicated to the project, whether you would rather have hands-on management or delegate this aspect of the project to an outsourcing company to allow yourself to have the time to focus on other aspects of your service.
I hope this article was helpful in showing you the options you have when it comes to going about creating custom software.