Building vs Buying Software: Which Path is Right for Your Business?

In today's digital age, businesses rely on software to streamline operations, increase efficiency, and improve customer experience. Depending on the type of business, there are plenty of options to purchase pre-build systems designed to meet the needs of a wide range of businesses. This way, you can have your software running in no time. So how does it compare to building a system from scratch, and is it worth it? 

Off the shelf software solutions

Pre-build systems have their advantages. They are easy to set up and use, even by non-technical people. They take no time to implement - you purchase the product or pay a subscription fee and install it. This way, your business can use the software immediately, improving operational efficiency. In addition, off-the-shelf software is less expensive than custom software. They also come with ongoing support and maintenance, allowing businesses to rely on vendors to provide technical support and resolve issues.

This solution would be great for small businesses with limited resources who need help to afford the lengthy and costly process of creating custom software. 

Some downsides? 

Most pre-made software is designed to serve a specific function or set of functions. If you attempt to use it for any other purpose, it will likely perform poorly or even not at all. Therefore, you have to adjust your business to the application rather than the other way around. Since the software is available to all, your app is no different than others. It offers no unique features or functionality to give the business a competitive edge. 

The lack of API integration, which allows the software to communicate with another application, is another problem. Why is API Integration so important? For example - E-commerce websites use payment gateways to process online transactions. API integration with these payment gateways allows the website to process payments and manage orders securely.

Off-the-shelf software solutions also have security concerns. Since the software is widely used, it is more vulnerable to attacks. This can be a problem for businesses that store sensitive information. There is also no control over updates - the vendor decides when to release updates, which means the business may not have access to the latest features or functionality.

Custom software solutions

Custom software solutions are tailored to meet specific business needs, which means that they are designed to work in harmony with the business's existing processes. This results in improved efficiency and productivity since the software is built to meet the business's unique needs. We can address specific issues your business has and fix them. In addition, the application is more flexible and scalable - software can be customized as the business evolves and changes. Additional features can be added to meet new requirements, making it easier to adapt to changing market conditions and remain competitive. Another advantage of custom software solutions is enhanced security. Since the software is built from scratch, it is more secure and less vulnerable to attacks. This helps to protect sensitive business data and ensures that the business meets regulatory compliance requirements.

As for the disadvantages, it's no secret that this solution requires more time and money.  

Which one should you choose?  

Pre-built solutions might offer just enough functionality to cover your business needs for a long time, if this is the case it might be a good idea to go with this option. However, when a company begins to scale and add new features to its operations, it might find itself in a position where they outgrow the out-of-the-box product and have to switch to custom software. 

It’s worth mentioning that many companies choose to mix the benefits of both solutions, by using off-the-shelf software for standard functions, while developing tailored apps to address more complex needs. This hybrid approach allows for greater flexibility, putting team effort where it’s needed, and not on the parts that are not essential to business. This also allows a company to quickly release a working product to see immediate effects and later allocate more resources to develop solutions that will be more long-term. 

Choosing any of the mentioned approaches requires a thorough understanding of technical possibilities and skillful use of available tools in the market. The support of experienced professionals, like our team at Qodeca, can be invaluable in analyzing requirements, selecting appropriate solutions, and implementing and integrating them with existing systems. Our team has a proven track record of delivering and scaling software solutions. We have successfully designed, implemented, and maintained systems for giants in the hospitality and fitness industry, as well as finance and security. Check out our portfolio to find out more. 

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