Out-of-the-Box vs Custom Software: Brief Overview

Out-of-the-box vs custom software? Which one is better? The choice greatly depends on the type of business and its particular needs. Yet, before making such an important choice, it’s worth discovering all the pros and cons of out-of-the-box software as well as custom written software.

To make sure we are on the same page, let’s start by clarifying out-of-the-box meaning in software, customizable business software, and configured software.

December 2, 2022

Out-of-the-box software is ready-made commercial software tailored towards broad clientele. It is already a pre-configured solution provided by the software vendor. It usually comes with templates and built-in workflow tools.

Custom written software is software created specifically for a particular company’s needs. It’s built from scratch with the sole purpose to meet all the requirements of the customer who purchases it.

Configured software refers to the type of software that allows tailoring the program’s functionality to the user’s preferences by choosing programmable options. So, instead of building software from scratch, developers configure it around an already-made core.

Out-of-the-Box Solution: Pros and Cons

In certain cases, an out-of-the-box solution can be perfect, while in other cases, it might not work well for further business development.

Now, let’s look closer at the advantages and disadvantages of out-of-the-box software.  

Pros:

Even though an out-of-the-box solution is not created for individual business needs, it has a lot of advantages too. Let’s look at some of them:

Short Time to Implement

One of the major advantages of out-of-the-box software is that it takes much less time to implement it than custom software. The majority of the work has already been done for you, so you can start using it almost immediately after purchasing.

Easy to install

This type of solution is very simple for installation since you don’t have to bother about installing and maintaining software on your own servers because many out-of-the-box solutions are cloud-based. Besides, it also comes with straightforward instructions.

You can also use new out of box software that will help you make the initial setup of a Raspberry Pi much easier. Simply go to the download page, get a copy of new out of box software (NOOBS), and unzip it onto a 4GB (or bigger) SD card that has just been formatted.

Cost-Effective

In comparison with customizable business software, out-of-the-box solution is much more budget-friendly so you can save a significant amount of money with your initial payment.

Regular Software Updates

You get frequent updates of the software so you can be sure to get all the updates with new features on a regular basis. Updates are generally released every quarter or two, which is a great thing for your business.

Integrations and Support

Customer support platforms are typically included with out-of-the-box solutions to help you in case any problems or inquiries occur. Out-of-the-box software has also a lot to offer in terms of partnerships and integrations, which is a major selling point for this type of software.

Cons:

While out-of-the box software appeals to many businesses in terms of price and other advantages discussed above, at times it might not be the best solution while thinking long term. Among its cons are:

Limitations with predefined settings

Software that comes out of the box is constrained by predefined settings and, most probably, will not meet all the requirements of your company.

High possibility of having to adapt your business processes

In order for your procedures to meet the updated out-of-the-box software’s requirements, you may need to make certain adjustments to your business processes, which is not always convenient.

Hidden and ongoing payments

In addition to possible additional charges for upgrades and maintenance, the vendor may change periodic subscription or licensing fees, and so you will have to pay extra.

Customization is difficult and expensive

In case you find out you lack some important features for your business that do not come with an out-of-the-box solution, you might face the problem that customization of such a solution is not only very expensive, but is also difficult and laborious.

Customizable Business Software: Pros and Cons

Custom software is made with the purpose to fill a specific demand for individual enterprises and organizations taking into account the peculiarity and specific demand of each business. Among some of the successful customised software examples are customized e-commerce solutions, specifically developed voice recognition software,custom search engine, custom business management, and so on.

 Let’s now examine the benefits and drawbacks of custom written software.

Pros:

Custom software, apart from providing unique solutions, comes with other important advantages, among which are:

Tailored to your business needs

Custom software is created while taking into account your specific business processes. It has all the features that are necessary for your business and are helpful in enhancing it. At A-Team Global, we specialize in product development outsourcing that addresses the needs of your business.

Scalable

Custom software can be easily changed to meet the new business demands. Besides, you can communicate directly with the developer when you require improvements to achieve what you want as quickly as possible.

More cost-effective in the long term

You won’t need to change custom written software in a few years, because it was created specifically for your business. It is a long-term solution and, thus, can save you money in the long run.

Gives competitive advantage

With custom software, you are better positioned to increase market share and revenue when software helps you to improve the customer experience and provide more value which can give you a competitive edge.

Increases productivity

Custom software, created individually for your business and its procedures, can greatly enhance your business workflows, boost accuracy, and let your team operate more effectively with outside vendors and contractors.

Cons

Though it might seem to function flawlessly in  specific cases, using custom software has many drawbacks, including those listed below: 

Time-consuming development

Custom programming can take from months to years to develop, whereas using out-of-the-box technology can be done in a matter of days. In addition, development expenditures are substantial and may be beyond reach for small business owners.

Higher initial costs

 

Even though custom software is more cost-effective in the long perspective, initially, the price for developing this type of software is much higher as compared to with out-of-the box software.

Monitoring

Your customized application needs to be monitored and maintained. While some programs require little to no maintenance, some might require a lot of maintenance, depending on the software’s complexity and the code quality.

Overbuilding

Often, with custom software, one might build a new component for every feature that can lead to unnecessary complex systems that are hard to maintain.

Configured Software vs Customized and Out-of-the-box Solution

If you don’t need and aren’t ready to invest in custom built software, yet require some customization for your business, configured software might be the best solution in this case. It can be viewed as the middle ground between out-of-the box technology and customizable business software.

With configured software, instead of creating software from scratch, developers build it around a pre-made core and customize it to fit specific business procedures.

Configured software development has many advantages, among which are:

  • It isn’t as costly as custom-made
  • it takes less time to build as compared to customizable software
  • it takes into account your business processes and can be adapted to your needs

Some of the disadvantages are:

  • It’s still more expensive than out-of-the box software and requires more time for development
  • There’s no user community for discussion of some issues when they occur

Conclusion

Now that you are aware of all the advantages and disadvantages of out-of-the-box, custom and configured software, ask yourself what your main long-term business goals are and which software would be the best one to help achieve those goals and scale your business.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Will my business benefit from custom software in the future?
  • What is the budget that can be used for software development?
  • What is the time frame I can use for software development?
  • What is the best solution for my niche?
  • Who is going to maintain the software?

Our specialists at A-Team Global can help you in making the right choice. We specialize in creating software tailored to your business needs. 


Contact us for a free consultation, and we’ll help you further in making the right decision for your business.

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