Custom Software Development: Why Building is Better Than Buying

Custom Software Development: Why Building is Better Than Buying

When it comes to software, businesses are often faced with the decision of whether to buy a pre-packaged solution or invest in custom software development. While packaged software may be suitable for statutory requirements, such as payroll or general ledger, it may not be the best choice for systems that support the core business. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why custom software development may be the way to go for your business.

I felt inspired to write this article after (re)reading the Apache Causeway documentation. The concepts are great for general development and not unique to Causeway - I'd recommend any software engineer or architect to peruse it.
Dan Haywood and the rest of the Apache Causeway contributors are a great bunch. Over the last several years I've used Causeway (previously Isis) to prototype and build production applications.
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Prepackaged Software and Big SAAS

One of the main problems with packaged software is that it can do "too much" or "not enough." While it may have features that are not required by your business, it may also lack crucial functionality that your business needs. This can lead to end-users re-purposing unused fields to store information, which can result in a system that is difficult to learn and use, with degraded data quality.

Another problem with packaged software is that it may not be customizable enough to meet your business needs. While some software may be customizable to a degree, there is always a limit to what can be customized. This can result in the business being forced to operate according to the way in which the software requires, which can be a disadvantage.

Custom software development, on the other hand, allows businesses to build software that fits their specific needs. It provides the ability to create software that is tailored to the business's unique requirements, ensuring that it operates in the way that best suits the business. This can result in a system that is easier to learn and use, with higher-quality data.

In addition to the advantages of customization, custom software development also provides businesses with more control over the software development process. While pre-packaged software is sold with a support package, the cover of which can vary greatly, custom software development allows businesses to have more influence over the direction of the development of the product. This can result in the creation of software with specific features that are missing from the pre-packaged solutions, providing a competitive advantage.

Furthermore, if a business uses the same software as its competitors, there is no competitive advantage to be gained. However, if a business has well-crafted custom software, it can provide a significant competitive advantage.

There are different types of custom applications that businesses can consider building. For example, a custom application can be developed for inventory management, customer relationship management, or enterprise resource planning. These applications can be tailored to the specific needs of the business, providing greater efficiency and cost savings.

Embrace the "Genius of the AND" with Open Source

“We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits.” – George Merck

"Instead of being oppressed by the “Tyranny of the OR,” highly visionary companies liberate themselves with the “Genius of the AND”—the ability to embrace both extremes of a number of dimensions at the same time. Instead of choosing between A OR B, they figure out a way to have both A AND B."

Jim Collins - Concepts - Genius of the AND

The concept of the "genius of the AND" was introduced by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book "Built to Last". It refers to the idea that great companies embrace both seemingly contradictory ideas and find a way to combine them in a synergistic way, rather than choosing between them.

Open source software is a great example of the "genius of the AND" because it combines two seemingly contradictory ideas: collaboration and competition. On the one hand, open source software is built collaboratively, with developers from all over the world contributing their expertise to a shared codebase. This collaboration fosters a sense of community and mutual support among developers, and allows for rapid innovation and improvement.

On the other hand, open source software is also highly competitive. Many open source projects are developed as alternatives to proprietary software products, and the open source community often views itself as a challenger to established software vendors. This competition fosters a spirit of innovation and drives developers to create better and more effective software solutions.

By combining these two seemingly contradictory ideas, open source software has created a new paradigm for software development and collaboration. It has shown that collaboration and competition are not mutually exclusive, but rather can be combined in a way that benefits everyone involved.

Open Source gives you benefits of building AND buying.

Open source software is similar to building and buying software in that it can be used to address business needs and requirements. Like custom software development, open source software can be customized and modified to fit specific business needs. The source code of open source software is freely available, which means that developers can access, study, and modify it as needed. This provides a level of flexibility and control that is similar to building custom software.

On the other hand, open source software is similar to buying software in that it is already developed and available for use. It can be downloaded and installed just like any other software product, without the need for extensive development or customization. This can be a cost-effective solution for businesses that don't have the resources or expertise to build custom software from scratch.

One key difference between open source software and custom software development is that open source software is developed by a community of contributors rather than a single organization. This means that the development roadmap and feature set are largely determined by the community, rather than the specific needs of a business. However, many open source projects are highly customizable and can be adapted to fit specific business requirements.

Savantly will help you build your custom solution

If you're looking for software that fits your business needs exactly and gives you a competitive edge, then custom software development is the way to go. At our company, we specialize in building custom software solutions that meet our clients' specific needs, and we have the expertise and experience to deliver high-quality, reliable software that's tailored to your business. With custom software, you can streamline your operations, improve productivity, and gain a significant advantage over your competitors. So, if you're ready to take your business to the next level, we'd love the opportunity to build your custom software solution.