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Custom Application vs Off-the Shelf Solution

Customers are always in a dilemma, whether to get a system tailor made for their requirements or procure a ready-to- deploy off-the- shelf. There is a constant tug-of- war between operational requirement, budgetary constraints and technical feasibility.

There is one underlying question that the enterprise must ask every time. Does the solution meet your requirement and is it a right fit? If the answer is not convincing and confirming, it doesn’t matter whether you are going for a ready to use software or a custom developed application.

The requirement of an organization is varied and each functional unit within an organization has different requirement. So, does the ready-made solution provide a complete answer to your problem or are there open ends which need to be tightened.

In case of a custom solution, there are two ways which usually enterprises go about. They either get the solution developed by their in-house IT team or else they sign up a service provider who is an expert in this and build the application as per the requirement. In either case, the functional unit has to be on their toes because the solution is supposed to cater to their requirement.

Let us look at the various pros and cons of ready-to- deploy systems and custom applications.

Off-the- Shelf Solution

Off-the- shelf or what we also call ready-to- deploy products are solutions that have been designed and developed, keeping in mind a standard workflow that caters to a multitude of customers. Yes, there are products with some level of customizations that can be done, but to what extent it solves the problem statement of a customer, is a crucial factor. Secondly, when enterprises buy ready-made software, they need to consider the IT infrastructure requirements.

So, what are the pros and cons of an off-the- shelf solution?

Customized Solution

Define your business requirement to the last dot. Ensure that every workflow is put in place. Compare this requirement with a ready-to- deploy system and see if the features and functionalities are matching your requirement. If not, then you need to approach a software development company, who can create a system exactly as per the requirement that is defined.

Moreover, customized solutions can also help you to integrate it with other systems, for example an ERP system or a finance application. This may look like a rosy picture, but even a customized solution has its own pros and cons

To sum up, going for a custom solution or a ready-made system is completely dependent on the nature of your business requirement. It is imperative for the software to fit the specification that has been defined.

While looking for off-the- shelf solutions, it is important to have multiple options. Moreover, you need to have a comprehensive evaluation checklist to ensure the solution is ticked off against the checklist items.

For a custom solution, a similar checklist needs to be in place while selecting the right software vendor. Define milestones for the entire development cycle and ensure deliverables are mapped to have a complete clarity on the progress of the work done.

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