Common Misconceptions about off-the-shelf softwares

When business managers require to solve a technology issue, the majority of the time their first disposition is to try to discover an off-the-shelf solution rather than hiring a custom software development company to build it for them.

The thinking, of course, is that off-the-shelf software costs less, carries less risk, and still provides the majority of the advantages of a custom software solution. There are a some factors why this thinking isn’t really always right:


With contemporary quick application development structures, custom software developers have more tools at their disposal than ever previously. They can write software much quicker, with far fewer mistakes, at a much lower cost than they could just a decade ago. At the same time, numerous off-the-shelf products were developed years back, using older technologies, and have yet to be re-written.

It means that it is incredibly costly for suppliers to maintain these items– which implies they have to charge their consumers a load of money. It’s not uncommon for us to see off-the-shelf enterprise software costing $30,000 a month, or even $2 million a year, just for license charges.

When you look at what it costs us to design a custom system for our consumers (which commonly can be for less than $30,000 total for the preliminary development stage), those expenses begin to seem absurd.

It is also vital to keep in mind that when you buy something off-the-shelf, you’re paying for 100 % of the functions because product. But what if you just require 30 % of those functions? It is typically much more cost reliable to build a custom software application that supplies just the functions you require instead of spending for the ones you do not.


While it may appear sensible to believe that purchasing an off-the-shelf product is less risky than building something yourself, that isn’t really always the case. At Unstoppable Software, we hear many stories from companies that purchased products that didn’t work as expected. The majority of them do not realize their error till it’s much too late, and once they discover there are crucial functions missing from their product– months or years later– they can’t make modifications to the product themselves, because they don’t own the source code. Which leaves their whole business at the grace of the impulses of the product developer.

This is a big risk! What if that product developer does not have appropriate customer support? What if they eliminate the functions that are necessary to you, or cannot move fast enough to add the ones you really need?

What you actually need is a design group that has exceptional client service, comprehends your vision, and can respond and make whatever modifications you need as your business and market modification. To do this you have to own the source code, and you require to have a team you can rely on to prosper, following a controlled, on-time and on-budget process that delivers speed to value without aiming to do everything under the sun. Purchasing off-the-shelf exposes you to more risk because you lose control while at the very same time you lock yourself into one company forever.


With an off-the-shelf solution, what you’re truly buying is the most affordable common measure: the minimum that will be acceptable and usable to the biggest number of consumers. Believe us– we’ve established numerous industrial software in our day, and this is the # 1 thing that a product manager takes a look at when including a feature– profits capacity.

But what if the features you require (to make your business really competitive and engaging) aren’t what your competitors desire? As well as if they do desire it, why would you want to share your business model innovations with all your competitors– yikes!!!

By embracing an off-the-shelf solution (if one even exists) to your problem, you’re requiring your company to operate at the most affordable typical denominator. However what you need to be doing is innovating and constructing on your company’s distinct value proposal– which in the end needs to be reflected in the software you use to run your business.


Properly designed custom software will constantly surpass a generic off-the shelf solution. Your upfront expenses will likely be higher, but in the long run you’ll save a lot of cash through enhanced performance and lower maintenance costs. Custom software has the included benefit that you only pay for the features you really need, while avoiding paying for all the functions you do not. Custom software also protects your company’s proprietary tricks and assists you keep competitive benefit, while the other people sign up with a race to the bottom. Finally, custom software offers you more control– YOU own the software, YOU decide when upgrades occur, and YOU decide what functions stay and what functions go.


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