Technology is one of the most important investments that organizations make to get off the ground and grow. Whether you build houses or provide health care services, as a business leader, you may need to decide whether to buy a commercial off-the-shelf software application to meet your goals, or invest in developing your own custom application.

There are some terrific off-the-shelf software applications on the market for everything from receiving payments to tracking client data to connecting with customers. This makes it tempting for business leaders to choose something that they can implement quickly and with low up-front costs. But that doesn’t make them the best choice for everyone. Here are five compelling reasons to consider building a custom app instead of using an off-the-shelf solution.

Stand out from competitors

It’s easy to buy an off-the shelf solution, which means that others can do the same thing. If you work in a competitive industry, you want to stand out from the crowd, not blend in. While some off-the-shelf solutions offer a variety of custom templates, clients aren’t easily fooled. Investing in a custom app that gives your clients a unique user experience is an effective way to distinguish your brand from everyone else.

Off-the-shelf products typically generate only a limited range of analytics. Custom apps can be designed to collect the data you want to help develop your organization, by capturing data points that others didn’t consider relevant.

Tailor the app to your business needs

Off the shelf solutions have limited options to customize business processes and flows. If you have very standard needs that don’t vary from your industry’s regular business practices, that might be okay. But your applications should serve your business, not the other way around. If you find that you’re adjusting how you work because your app doesn’t do what you need it to, then a custom solution is what you need.

Easily modify functionality

As businesses grow, they change. With off-the-shelf applications, you run the risk of outgrowing what they can do for you, and having to make a wholesale shift to something new. Starting with a custom solution allows you to build only what you need at the beginning, while leaving plenty of room to add on functionality as you need it. Even if the initial investment is a little bigger (which isn’t always the case), it can save you valuable time and energy in the long-term, when it comes to the technology itself, and the time it takes to train your team to use it.

Make it compatible with other programs you use

Off-the-shelf applications are increasingly built to integrate with the most popular companion programs currently on the market, but that isn’t always the case. Custom built applications can be designed to work seamlessly with the other programs you use, which allows you to choose the solutions that suit your specific business needs. A custom app also leaves more flexibility to integrate your app with your key business partners.

Increase productivity

Having an app that serves your business needs will help your team work more efficiently. Custom-built apps are designed to work with your business processes, so they’re intuitive to use. As well, technology is developing quickly, and new apps are being developed every day to help organizations increase productivity. Off-the-shelf apps don’t typically integrate well with new apps that come on the market after the fact. A custom solution will help prevent you from missing opportunities to try new things.

Ultimately, the decision to build custom versus buy off the shelf will depend on what’s best for your organization. To explore what a custom solution can do for you, contact us at [email protected].

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