Business needs are never uniform from one company to the next, even within the same industry. Each company is unique and has its own, specialized needs. In order to keep up with an ever-growing and changing market, your business must adapt or expand to meet customer demands and stay ahead of the competition.
Making changes within your company isn't always easy. Choosing software systems capable of adapting to changes efficiently and effectively is a must. You have options when it comes to your software as a service (SAAS) platform. The first question most ask is, "Do I go with a custom-built program that I know will fit my business, or do I change my business to adhere to a pre-designed system?
We know a decision like this isn't as simple as choosing the best business cards, that's why we're offering some insight on the subject. Here's why we think your SAAS platform should really be custom-built:
The Advantages Of Custom Software
An out-of-the-box solution seems perfect at first, meeting most of your requirements. What if your company has specialized needs? Pre-designed software systems usually meet around 80% of what you're looking for, but are you willing to lose out on the other 20%?
Investing in any software program involves a lot of time for research, and a substantial sum of money. Shouldn't you reserve the option of tweaking programs to work the way you need them to? Most off-the-shelf systems aren't very flexible, meaning there's not much wiggle room for changing existing programs or removing features you don't want.
Chances are, you already have programs in place. Consider compatibility when looking at pre-made software. Many boxed systems are difficult to effectively integrate with software you already have in place. Custom platforms are designed with your needs in mind, including easily and effectively adding them to what you already use.
One thought on custom-built SAAS platforms is the up-front costs are too high. However, because they're custom, you're able to start with only what you need. Pre-designed systems aren't flexible this way, you have to pay for all components up-front (even the ones you don't want). You can add additional features to custom software on an as-needed basis. Spreading costs out over time.
The Down Side Of Off-The-Shelf
Businesses are always growing and changing. Companies need software that easily expands or evolves with them. The out-of-the-box software is slow to form to new business or customer needs. Custom systems are more adaptable. Features can quickly be added or tweaked as new market trends arise.
Do you want to offer your customers exactly what every company similar to yours already offers? You probably answered no to that. Most companies within the same business field, do have a lot of the same need and offer many of the same services. Because of this, off-the-shelf software tends to have a one-size-fits-all all concept. With a custom design, you have the freedom to create a unique platform. Creating a custom platform is an excellent way to stay ahead of your competition. Offer customers special features, something they can't get from the other guy and they'll prefer doing business with you.
You own it, after all, it's your concept. When you choose a custom-built SAAS platform, you own the final product. Off-the-shelf vendors charge hefty fees for changing their systems, adding new features and lock you into a certain design and price for a specific period of time. With a custom design, you're making an investment into your company.
When it comes to selecting a SAAS platform off-the-shelf or having it custom built, weigh the pros and cons. Really consider the long term use and be prepared to make sacrifices now or later depending on the direction you choose.