Custom software vs packaged software: which one is right for you?

There has always been the eternal dilemma of “buy or build”, a question which all companies had to face with before making a decision when it comes to creating the software for their business.  Both packaged software and custom software have their advantages and disadvantages which you have to weight smartly before making a decision in order to find the most suitable one for the needs and expectations of your company. You need to know that when making a choice between packed software and custom software you need to think that you are making a long-term decision which is going to influence the productivity, improve the processes and increase the savings of your company which are essential success keys in order to make your business reach the top of the market.  

Before you decide which one is the right choice for you, whether to buy a ready-made software application or to work with a software development company which can provide you with high-quality custom software services, read below the pros and cons of both types to see which one would fit yours and your business’s needs. In order to understand better the difference between packed software and custom software so that you can decide which one might be the right one for you, first you need to understand the definition of both of them. The packed software is a collection of programs which are grouped together having the purpose to provide the public with tools in the same family at one place. On the other hand, custom software is a program which is developed specifically for unique circumstances, purpose or organization in order to give the best solutions for the particular challenges which might appear.

The differences between custom software and packaged software

The main difference between packaged software and custom software is not that easy to guess as the name of both of them describes the primal feature of both types as it is a matter of the way of creation and availability of the software. While packaged software is a commercial program, a universal “one size fits all” software which is available to the public and sold for special prices, the custom software, on the other hand, is developed specially for an organization or a purpose, containing only the necessary features. 

Pros and cons

  • Packaged software is definitely cheaper than customer ones and also available immediately if you are in a hurry to starting your business. However, the “one size fits all” might prove to not be suitable for the needs of your business which means that it will not be as efficient as you have hoped for and you might have to decide to get a custom software.
  • One of the most important pros of the custom software is definitely the fact that it can be designed in order to meet all the requirements which have been outlined in the evaluation phase. So, instead of paying for a packaged software which might not suit perfectly suitable for your business needs, you only pay for the features which you wish to have and use.
  • When it comes to the costs of the two types of software, surely custom software has a higher price compared with the packaged one because it requires a team of specialists to develop a software specially for your requirements while the packaged software is developed as a “one size fits all” to meet the needs and requirements of numerous users. However, you need to be aware that saving money for the software which you choose to buy is not exactly the brightest idea since it might cost you a lot more if the packaged software proves to be unsuitable for your business’s needs. Also, in terms of the risk of paying money for a product which might not work according to your expectations, paying less for a packaged software which is not working is surely better than paying for a custom software which you purchase for a higher price which might still need adjustments in order to meet your business’s needs.
  • Another aspect which you need to consider is the duration of time until the software is available for you to use. Packaged software is already an available program for the public to purchase, while the custom software requires more time until it is developed and ready to use because of the fact that the process of creating it is more complex since it is built-from-scratch and needs to meet special and unique requirements. So, if you are in a hurry to develop the application of your business, a situation which small businesses usually encounter, packaged software is the fastest solution you have but not necessarily the best.
  • Custom software surely offers you a competitive advantage over the other competitors of your business which exist on the market because you have something which they do not have which might help your business in terms of increased productivity, and therefore increased sales. However, if the needs of your business are not necessarily unique, the rigid work process of the packaged software should not be an inconvenience and there would be no point in paying more for a custom software if you do not mind the fact that all your competitors have access to the same off the shelf software.
  • One pro of the packaged software you should also take into consideration is the fact that since it is a mature solution it is less likely to have typical bugs which need to be fixed. Meanwhile, the custom software is a newly developed program, created according to your requirements, which means that it might happen to have the problems of a new product which has not been tested and improved for a long time.

There are numerous advantages and disadvantages to both types of software, so, the best way to make the right decision when choosing between packaged software and custom software is to think about which one will serve better the long-term goals of your business.