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If you are not a programmer by profession or do not staff a team of talented developers to create bleeding-edge software applications, it might be time to start exploring custom applications. Out-of-the box software can be useful, but limiting. Even worse, you may be paying for features you will never use.
by Peter Prestipino of WebsiteMagazine.com

Understand Your Business and Industry Trends

If you can find off-the-shelf functionality that meets 80-100 percent of your business process needs, you should buy the software. The problem is that when most people buy functionality externally it doesn’t fully meet their needs. The result is a lengthy and expensive process of customizing an existing application.

So how do you know when a custom software application is the right choice? There are several indicators.

If your business is unique, meaning no software exists to support specific functions or your enterprise has outgrown (or over utilizes) the software solutions you currently employ, it’s time to get a custom project off the ground. Furthermore, if your business is an enterprise that can differentiate itself through a proprietary process or unique service, it is likely that an offthe- shelf application has not been developed to manage the business effectively. “Too often people purchase software and then spend more to make it do what they want versus starting with a custom software application,” says Roy Chomko of Adage Technologies.

While custom software may not be a perfect fit for all companies, it does have the potential to help those with a true need take advantage of their strengths. “When considering software to resolve business issues you have to look at what makes your business unique and whether the software you are considering can improve on that process or service,” says Chomko. “Most off-the-shelf software is built to solve simple and straightforward problems encountered by many businesses.”

The advantage of developing a custom software application is that you, the buyer, get to work directly with the developer — gaining complete control of the end-product, if you’re prepared. However, if you do not outline very detailed specifications you simply will not get what you hand in mind.