BUILD OR BUY?
How many managers expected to be jugglers when they took on the job? Yet that’s what the job entails - every day presents a myriad of decisions, vital business choices to make and dilemmas to choose from. One of the tougher choices come up when the company needs new software. “What do we need?” the managers ask themselves, “a fast and cheap turnkey solution that everyone else is using or opt-in for a more expensive bespoke software that will be built for us?” Evidently, being a manager is a stressful job that requires lots of informed decisions.
To choose between off-the-shelf software and custom-built one has to understand what both entail and how that fits with the needs, plans and strategy of the company.
From planning, to design, development, testing, maintenance and future upgrades are made with the understanding the way your company does its business.
Short-term vs. Long-term
“Turnkey”, “boxed”, “off-the-shelf”- there are a lot of names for ready-made, mass-produced software for the general public’s consumption. It is tempting to see it as a quick solution for short-term issues on a limited budget. Yet, all the pros of turnkey software solutions have their own hidden caveats, for example – ready-made means lack of flexibility and adjustment to your particular business and the way you handle clients, processes, accounts and etc. Mass-produced means everyone else in your industry who uses it has the same set of tools and you’re not getting any advantage over them. Worst of all, low up-front costs usually entail the price of maintenance and upgrades in the future that can rack up to a significant bill. If that doesn’t sound bad for short-term, you need to keep in mind, that with turnkey solutions, future software updates will often be targeted at a broader base and may come at a slower pace than your business evolves.
Unless your company is a hospital, that, due to the very specific needs and lack of time to build their own stuff, have to buy their software “boxed”, it may be a risky decision to go for the cheap option and accrue problems and costs with turnkey solutions. Bespoke software, on the other hand, is exactly what it sounds like – made for you. From planning, to design, development, testing, maintenance and future upgrades are made with the understanding the way your company does its business. When a company like Tentacle Solutions takes on a custom software project, they bring on a team of designers, programmers, quality control professionals to do it. Thus, it allows unprecedented flexibility, scalability and control. In this case your software will adapt to your business and not vice versa. Yet the biggest advantage of custom-built software is its biggest flaw (for some) – it is custom-built and naturally requires more time and money up-front.
The software developer in charge of your custom solution will essentially act as an extension of your team, in what should be a lasting partnership. That’s the criterion for differentiating between a good software developer and the rest of the market. Such a relationship, built on trust and mutual understanding, is what makes managers’ jobs significantly less stressful and making the difficult decision of choosing between turnkey and bespoke software a lot easier.