Custom Software Development vs Generic (Off the Shelf) Products

Custom Software Development vs Generic (Off the Shelf) Products

February 4, 2020

I am sitting in the office of a major distribution company in Dubai. They already have 3 ERPs, warehouse management solutions and CRMs. But the CEO says that the business is still not digital. The reason he invited my team and me is that the current systems are not meeting the company’s needs.

If you are starting a new transportation, trading or production business, having strong enterprise software systems is a must. And you likely want to implement them quick and cheap. In the first days usually, you either don’t have such a system. Or are still developing your own that gives your business distinctive competitive advantages.

At those stages, a Generic (or also called Off-the-shelf) software product is the best option. Let’s say you don’t want to deal with servers, networks and infrastructure, making SaaS Cloud hosted software products a better option for you. So you pick up Quickbooks for finance and invoicing, Soho CRM and Microsoft Dynamics for an ERP.

Why generic software is not a reliable option?

The business in Dubai has grown exponentially in the last years and the owners want to expand on more markets so they need to streamline all core processes. For example, if you are a trading company and you are importing and exporting goods, there are many specific protocols to import/export in each country. Or if you are in the pharma business, there are different regulations you need to adhere to.

Unfortunately, generic software products cannot be customized to accommodate these custom processes. The solution in the first stages of your company is bound to become a liability with multiple disadvantages:

  • highly limited customization
  • no control on the future roadmap
  • some key features might be removed in the future
  • licencing and price might vary and your business can be exposed
  • data storage is not under your control – if you want to operate in a new country, you might be required to keep the data in this specific country
  • you cannot create a specialized version or profit from it

How Custom Software development can resolve all of your issues

That is the time when you want to consider creating your own custom software platform. A solution that is specifically tailored to your business’ needs. The biggest advantage is that by taking this step way all your departments and their processes become digital.

This makes the process much more transparent, easy to assign tasks to different people while adding and metric for accountability and analyzing the time it takes to complete the work. This increases the employees’ productivity, reduces the risk for miscommunication and as a result the number of mistakes.

It also gives you the tools to scale up your business on your terms, allowing you to manage more people, who work in the same unified and controllable way.

Many traditional businesses find free niches. For example, if you are in insurance (or insurance brokerage), likely online insurance is still a free niche in your country and it is a niche that is about to grow. So you can create your own custom insurance software platform and sell it online. As well as starting licensing the platform to other companies and make a profit from selling the software itself.

How do you navigate the risks of custom software?

As you can see there are many benefits to utilizing bespoke software as a part of your company’s growth. However, there are certain things you need to consider when choosing how to approach the development. The main risks when implementing a custom software product or platform are:

  • bad product management and business analysis
  • faulty project management
  • lack of experienced personnel to build a strong software architecture using the right technologies
  • unreliable quality assurance
  • lack of cloud, infrastructure, and DevOps capability
  • unstructured software delivery process

Luckily with the right team, all of the risks are turned into benefits. While you can hire developers and project managers yourself and assign them to develop the software, turning to a company that specializes in custom product delivery is the best way to guarantee the results you want.

Dreamix specializes in delivering custom software products and platforms. Our team consists of experts who use proven methods of business management while staying up to date with the latest needs in the technical field. Working on your team are specialists in product management, project management, software architecture, software development, quality assurance, dev ops, cloud and infrastructure.

With multiple successful projects under our belt, you will be in good hands building your web-based or mobile-based software product.

Todor Gigilev

Having entrepreneurial and business knowledge, I am eager to help innovative companies and startups to build their sales strategy and business model, improve their value proposition and design and develop their product. If you want a software project delivered, you can message me and I will make sure to do my best to propose the best solution. My main expertise is in the Oracle Fusion Middleware stack - I have been heavily involved in actual development, consulting and delivery of Webcenter, ADF, SOA Suite, BPM and Java EE solutions.

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