Custom Software Development Vs Commercial Software: What to Invest In?
Written by: Hrishikesh Pardeshi, Founder at Flexiple, buildd & Remote Tools.
Last updated: May 16, 2023
Running a business means you have to take care of tasks other than the core competencies you provide. As software becomes more vital for businesses, software development needs are also on the rise.
Companies that provide software or software solutions are doing phenomenally well in today's world. They have made software development accessible to many people who do not wish to code themselves but instead want their software developed by professionals.
However, this does not mean that every piece of software should be bought off-the-shelf or downloaded! There are many reasons why custom software development is still the way to go for many companies, especially small businesses and startups. Before you invest your money in anything else, be sure to read this article until the end.
What is Commercial Software?
Commercial software is software that has been developed by a company or person and then sold to the general public. It may be installed on your computer, but you do not own it.
Commercial software includes operating systems like Windows and Apple's OSX, as well as word processing software like Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat Pro.
- Most commercial software can be purchased for one-time use (called "perpetual") or with an annual subscription fee (called "subscription").
- There are many different commercial software types available on the market, allowing people to get their hands on the resources they need quickly without waiting for software to be developed according to their individual needs. This, of course, comes with certain downsides.
- Some commercial software providers may offer software that is designed with features that are specific to your industry or business needs, but the features included with commercial software are usually quite vague to accommodate as many people and companies as possible.
- While commercial software solutions may be more accessible and affordable, they may not be customizable, and this becomes a real problem for businesses looking to perform specific tasks that require advanced technology made for that particular purpose.
- For instance, if you have a software solution that assists you in your marketing tasks, then it might not be feasible to use it if you need customer care software also. It's difficult to find pe-made software (commercial software) that comes with all the features you need for your business.
What is Custom Software?
Custom software is software that has been developed to meet the specific needs of an individual, company, or organization. With custom software development, you can specify features and functions not found in most commercial software. Much like commercial software, this form of software development comes with its ups and downs, as well.
- To start, custom software development is more cost-effective in a number of cases! The software can be customized to suit your business needs and provide what you need. For example, it would be hard to find software for a construction company that will develop software with a lot of building blueprints and features!
- It would also be difficult to find software that will allow you to keep track of your inventory (or anything else such as payroll). With custom software development, these issues can be avoided because the software can be tailored specifically for your needs.
- However, custom software is not the best solution for every business or individual as it also has certain downsides.
Custom software development does carry some disadvantages.
- For one, it can take a lot of time to get up and running. This software often requires features that are not available in software packages which means you will need to invest in software developers who understand your requirements.
- Developing software is also more expensive than buying it off-the-shelf because the software is tailored for your company's specific needs which can make it difficult if you do not have the budget for it, in certain cases.
Indeed, custom software can cost more than commercial software, but the opposite is also just as common. Depending on how often you will use your custom software as well as how many customized features you will need, one option may be more affordable than the other for you.
Therefore, while custom software tends to be more expensive due to it requiring additional skill and knowledge to develop, it can be cheaper in a few specific cases.
Custom Vs. Commercial Software: What Is Better?
If you have made it this far in the article, you are most likely wondering what the most viable software option is for your personal needs. Unfortunately, there is not one specific answer that is true to every reader.
When it comes to choosing whether you should invest in commercial software or custom software development, there are a few factors to take into consideration. They are the following:
Custom software development does not have any licensing fees associated with it because you own all rights to your software after it has been developed. One important factor that should not be overlooked when making a decision about whether or not to purchase pre-made software is support services offered by developers of commercial software packages. If there are no service providers available for the product, then what good does an expensive piece of software do?
While there are no licensing fees that come with custom software development, you must also keep in mind that in order to develop software customized to your needs, you will need to hire someone capable of developing it.
One key point about software development is that it can be expensive. The software market is in constant flux, and software developers are in great demand. The need for software programmers has increased, while the supply of programmers has decreased. This has caused software development to become increasingly expensive over time. However, despite software cost difficulties, software developers are worth their weight in gold when you consider what they deliver - high-quality software!
Development Wait Times
Indeed, if you are working on a tight schedule and need functional software as soon as possible, it is safe to say that commercial software is likely the way to go. The reason for this is that the software is already developed and ready to be used (with certain minor steps prior to beginning use). On the other hand, developing custom software, whether you do it yourself or by hiring an expert, can take months or years, depending on the size of the project.
That being said, custom software development cannot be rushed and requires patience, whereas choosing commercial software allows you to get started immediately after purchasing a subscription.
While custom software takes longer to get started with initially due to the demanding initial development stage, software customized to the needs of your business (custom software) should be able to work faster and more efficiently once it is up and running. The reason for this is that pre-made software is not designed with your personal needs in mind, whereas custom software is, allowing it to work faster and more efficiently while focusing on the tasks at hand.
Therefore, when it comes to efficiency, custom software has the ability to complete more work and work more efficiently than most kinds of shelf-bought software.
All things considered, we hope this article has helped you choose the best software solution for your needs. Whether you choose custom or commercial software, technology is always improving and so is software, therefore, it is safe to say that no matter the kind of software you choose, the possibilities that come with it will only continue to grow.