Technological innovations are on the rise in the world today. Technology is incorporated in almost all spheres of life. Technology makes the running and operations of a business efficient, easier and more accurate. The software is a term used to generally refer to programs used to run computers and other related devices. Business software is thus a software or computer program used to run business functions in a business entity. Today every business entity is faced with the need for software to improve the efficiency of its operation at one time or another. Business entities are not torn in between using or not using some software; rather, they are torn in between buying or ready-made software or design their software. This paper is a discussion of whether businesses should buy ready-made software or design their software. It will look into the pros and cons of ready-made software and the designing new one and recommend the situations in which each is most appropriate.
The ready-made software is software that can be bought, installed and be used immediately. Examples of ready-made software include MS Office and Adobe Acrobat Reader. The ready-made software is made for general use and cannot be modified according to a specific business requirement. On the other hand, bespoke or custom-made software is designed and developed by the business according to the specific requirements of the business. Bespoke software can be modified in the future according to the changing needs of the business (Dickson, 2018).
In recent times, thousands of pre-built software solutions are easily available on online platforms. All these software offer some automated solutions to business functions. Businesses can easily acquire them. However, there are some advantages as well as drawbacks associated with ready-made software.
Pre-built software does not require time for development since it has already been developed. In contrast, the bespoke software takes a lot of time since it has to develop from scratch. Developing software is time-consuming. For instance, a company will have to hold a series of meetings with the development team from the IT Company to address the complex issues in developing the customized software. It also requires time to develop, test and launch. Such time would be saved in case the company decides to buy an already made software (Dickson, 2018).
Ready-made software relatively cost low because the cost of developing them is spread across the many clients. Cost overruns is thus a non-issue. Companies would thus end up paying much less than they would have if they decide to develop the software from scratch.
A ready-made software already has numerous users. Therefore, there are a lot of skilled users available, and hence no formal training and support are required as there is a source of informal technical support available. In the case of customized software, no one would be familiar with the software, and this may necessitate formal training or technical support.
The developer of a pre-built software has the experiencing of dealing with a wider user base and is therefore aware of possible hitches. The developer is aware of common problems and already has their solutions. Additionally, since the software has been in use for some time, previous users already have raised concerns regarding any problems that may have, and thus the developer is well acquainted and thus can give the best solution. In contrast, technical support for a bespoke software may be reliable, systematic or available at all.
A pre-built software already has a wide variety of users. The developer is thus able to receive regular, varied and critical feedback from the users. The developer of the software uses the feedback from the customers to improve and update the software depending on the needs of the customers. The developer does so regularly. In the case of custom-built software, the speed of evolution of the software is determined by the user organization. Consequently, important developments in the user’s industry may go unnoticed leaving the user behind the competitors.
Generally, pre-built software products are user-friendly. Since they have had many users it becomes of whom many have given feedback and input; the software becomes user-centric due to the regular and multiple upgrades (Lau, 2004). Bespoke software is unique by definition. The problems experienced will be the first time and may take time to resolve.
Pre-built software is highly configured to the needs of the business by changes in the industry. This is because the developer is updated on the happenings of the industry.
It is very likely that when buying a ready-made software, companies have to compromise their requirements. It is very difficult to find a software that meets all the requirements of a company and function exactly the way the company would want.
The software may be overly complicated in that it may have features that are not useful to the company. These complications may make it difficult to understand and use.
The future development plans may not be consistent with those of the company. Since there are many users of the company, the features a company may require implemented may be implemented. This is because the company is a just a single customer of the software among many others whose requirements for the future may be similar and thus the developer will consider implementing the requirements of the many customers (Dickson, 2018).
Designing a new software is the better solution because it meets all the requirements of the company. All businesses require to effectively track, manage and store data for their clients or staff in their platform. Bespoke software is the best suited. However, determining the feasibility of developing new software is another matter (Piskorz, 2017)..
When developing new software for a company, the developer considers the specific tasks and requirements of the company. The company can have a software that works they it is needed and delivers the intended results (Hamilton, 2017).
Unlike the case of ready-made software, in this case, the company does not depend on the vendor of the software to upgrade and maintain the software. The software can also be updated and improved according to the specific requirements of the business.
Since the software won’t be shared with competitors, an effective software can give the business a competitive advantage over its competitors. Software that is effective can improve the efficiency of the business and serve the customers better.
Since the business owns the software, it is safe from vendors who may disappear at any time. The intellectual property belongs to the business and hence not tied to a vendor.
High upfront costs are the main disadvantage of the designing new software. Designing a new software usually costs more due to the time and effort put to create a masterpiece.
Designing a software from scratch usually takes months sometimes. Since they are designed to the specific requirements of the business, they require thorough planning and much thought.
There is no outright answer on whether to buy a ready-made software or design a new one. This depends on individual businesses. However, bespoke software is preferable since they are tailored towards the requirements of individual businesses. Before embarking on developing new software, I recommend that businesses to check whether there is ready-made software that meets the requirements of the business. If they are is such software then the business should consider buying it since it would be cheaper than designing a new one. Another factor to consider is whether the business has the necessary capital to fund the development of new software and whether or not they have the time to develop new software (Piskorz, 2017).
In conclusion, business should always consider developing new software apart from the following instances; when there exists a software in the market that meets the requirements of the businesses, when the business does not have the time to develop a new software and when the business does not have enough capital to support the development of a new software.
Dickson, T. (2018). Bespoke software development vs ready-made program? Retrieved from https://magora-systems.com/ready-made-program-vs-bespoke-software/
Hamilton, T. (2017). Build vs. Buy Software: 6 Things to Consider | Praxent. Retrieved from https://praxent.com/blog/build-vs-buy-software-pros-cons-six-questions-to-consider-before-taking-the-plunge
Lau, K.-K. (2004). Component-based software development. (Series on component-based software development ; v. 1.) New Jersey: World Scientific.
Piskorz, K. (2017). Bespoke software vs. off-the-shelf software. Retrieved from https://www.headchannel.co.uk/blog/bespoke-software-vs-off-the-shelf-software/