The Truth About Off-the-Shelf Vs. Custom Software for Your Business (Infographic)

Off-the-Shelf or Custom Built Software -- Which Solutions are Best for Your Small Business?

When it comes to the software your small business relies on every day, do you prefer to just use an off-the-shelf option or something custom-built?

The decision is often based on the specific type of solution your company seeks. But like a lot of options facing small businesses, it usually comes down to cost.

Off-the-Shelf or Custom Built Software?

An infographic from IntelligentBee provides a little more insight on the subject and you can use this as a decision-making guide for your company.

Off-the-shelf Software

A lot of the online and automation solutions that a small business uses are of the off-the-shelf variety. That is, they’re ready-made, pay-and-go solutions. They often have affordable monthly subscription plans and, for the most part, provide an adequate solution for small businesses. And, in some instances, you can find a free software solution among these products that will suit your business just fine.

“Some organizations are perfectly content with off-the-shelf software or canned software solutions to improve their workflow,” says Costi Teleman, a tech team leader at IntelligentBee. Teleman discusses the options in a post on the official IntelligentBee blog.  “There are software and tools in various categories from productivity, collaboration, messaging, office solutions, conferencing, marketing, sales, and many more,” he adds.

These versions of software solutions for small businesses do have their limitations. And if your company relies on a particular solution and the company that makes it is sold and it’s discontinued or altered in a way you don’t like, you could be forced to find another solution.

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That can be a costly and time-consuming process for your small business.

Custom Software

So for those times when your company needs a software solution that can’t depend on the whims and business plans of someone outside your control, it’s time to build some custom software.

Custom software solutions can be altered based on your company’s exact needs. The only limits are usually the skills of the person you employ to build the software, the money you’re willing to invest right away to have it built, and your investment into its future (updates, troubleshooting, etc.). These are all features of off-the-shelf software that are generally baked in to the price.

“Custom software development may take months to develop, depending on your specific requirements,” Teleman writes on the IntelligentBee blog.

For a full rundown of the pros and cons of each software solution, check out the full infographic below.

Off-the-Shelf or Custom Built Software -- Which Solutions are Best for Your Small Business?

Images: IntelligentBee

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

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