In the Digital Age, just about every aspect of your company runs on software. A new software application or platform is often just what you need to help increase efficiency, streamline operations, and improve your bottom line. But you have a choice: do you want to buy pre-existing, packaged software, or do you want to build a custom software solution? There are pros and cons to each, but at Surge, we heartily recommend a “Build, Don’t Buy” approach to software. Here’s why.
Problems with packaged software
The main reasons why you buy packaged software because it’s cheap and easy. For a simple flat rate, you get a pre-made software package, designed to meet the needs of companies sort of like yours. It’s easy to install and implement, and after a quick tutorial for your employees, you’re ready to go.
Unfortunately, when you buy cheap software, you get what you pay for. These cookie cutter software packages cast a wide net, to meet the needs of as many companies as possible, and in so doing, they offer general solutions to your company’s very specific problems. It’s likely that your company will have a fair few needs that the software can’t meet, and others where the solution is passable, but not ideal.
Furthermore, changing or modifying these packaged solutions so they DO meet your needs is deliberately made difficult. That means even if the software you bought was perfect for your company initially, as you grow and evolve, your software still stays the same. There are occasional software updates, of course, but they come when the developer decides to release them, rather than when you actually need them.
Finally, in many cases, packaged software causes compatibility issues with your existing system. Depending on what operating system you’re using, your pre-packaged software simply might not work with it the way it was designed to. Or it might not be able to be combined with other software solutions your company is already using. The result is a lot of extra work to try to reconcile the discrepancies.
Using custom-built solutions
What turns most people off from custom-built solutions is the price. It understandably costs more to build your software from the ground up than to buy it off the shelf. Companies figure that they can live with the problems listed above if it saves them a little money. But the thing to remember is, custom software is an investment. It costs more now, but the return will be much greater down the line.
For one thing, with custom software, you can design it specifically for your company: custom solutions for your unique issues. It can meet all of your requirements perfectly. You don’t have to sacrifice a particular feature you want because it’s “nice, but not necessary,” and including it won’t drive the overall cost up.
Custom software can be designed to be compatible with your existing operating system and integrate with your existing software. And it’s easy to modify and change as your needs grow and evolve so that you can continue operating at peak efficiency.
That improved efficiency translates to faster turnaround times, lower production costs and increased revenue. And it gives you a distinctive edge over your competitors who try to save a little money and go for the packaged solution.