Buy Vs Build: When and Why to Select Customized Software Solution?

March 4, 2021

As a founder, understanding your company’s growth of immediate and long-term needs is quite challenging and necessary.

Especially if you have just started. Now the question arises if you should spend on long-term campaigns or opt for a cost-effective and more traditional approach. 

The “build versus buy” concept becomes more prominent and challenging both. This is the most crucial aspect every startup or even well-established business needs to face evaluating their software requirements.

Often initially off-the-shelf software becomes faster and effective, in the long run, you will realize that not having well-built and customized software development has often started disrupting your day-to-day functions resulting in more manual and inefficient processes. 

With the growing business and circumstances, these challenges get more and more intense and its scalability becomes difficult to attain. Finally, you would be forced to spend heavily on proprietary software to scale your business effectively. 

Creating custom software can unleash many benefits, but businesses should only pursue that aspect only if a) improved software can deliver a competitive benefit and b) you are creating a big business that can distribute the cost of this system across a large number of clients. 

Better to take into account the following questions before making this decision:

Why spend on custom software development?

While creating a custom system is quite expensive, the results are well worth it. Keep in mind that significant resources, energy, efforts, and time must be spent on its development.

These investments and tasks associated with building custom software may make a canned system initially like a great idea, but it comes with its reasons to consider.

1. Off-the-shelf software cannot meet every need

Canned solutions usually meet many of the requirements of most businesses. If your company has a specific need, a canned system could be more qualified to address them.

2. Canned solutions are rigid

Often most of the off-the-shelf tools will not enable you to customize its modules in the right way.

It could often be tough to add or delete built-in modules, leading to either a lot of or too few functions for your business. 

3. Off-the-shelf software might not be compatible with other programs.

If the two systems do not interact with each other effectively, they may obstruct your efficiency level.

If you create your tool, you are free to integrate with a greater range of APIs from multiple software and data associates. 

When to use canned solutions and not build one?

Under some situations, opting for canned solutions may be the better option. Younger business, in particular, get benefit more by opting for this route after considering the below-mentioned aspects into account:

1. Lack of technical knowledge

In case you are a startup and cannot afford or do not have a strong and dedicated technical team with the required knowledge to build software of your own, it is great to opt for the canned solutions until you can develop a team.

But this situation may not last for long. If you are not able to hire developers, it will be difficult to develop great products.

2. No time to create software

Developing indigenous software takes a lot of time and expertise to complete. If your business does not have so much time you should not attempt it. 

3. Limited budget 

Often developing customized systems could be highly expensive. It could be one of the first and most obvious reasons to avoid selecting this option.

Build solutions are way much cheaper and therefore, can make better financial sense for a company with a smaller budget.

4. Great canned software is already available

If you have a common business, like a restaurant, there are generally canned solutions available that are already proven to be effective for your organization’s purpose.

5. Technology would not be a competitive advantage

Suppose you are running a retail furniture store, creating great technology will not set you apart from others, nor would it help you offer a better quality service at low a cost and encourage customers to opt for your store over others.

How customized software can scale your business?

Your business is an evolving and dynamic company, so it is great for your build tool to implement and grow with your firm and evolve shedding static status.

If you want to grow your business faster, here are several reasons that can scale your business!

1. Increased productivity

A tool specifically made considering your needs in mind can allow your workers to work faster and more efficiently. You can build an extensive technology platform rather than using multiple different programs.

An integrated system can bring about better efficiency since all the information is centralized in one place and users will not have to hop from one website to another to perform their day-to-day tasks. 

2. Competitive edge

When you turn the same off-the-shelf system as your competitors do, it becomes difficult to compete with them.

By creating software that is suitable for your business functions, you can have a competitive advantage over your rivals.

This edge grows as you spend heavily on your proprietary tools.

3. Faster reaction time 

To develop amazing custom software, you should hire an experienced software development company or team.

Once that team is on board, they can build a range of tools and systems. Your business will require new tools and systems as it evolves.

To be able to adapt to the system you need fast-changing technology to stay competitive. 

Despite initial expense, the build tool is well worth the time, effort, and resources it requires.

When you want to build a business of meaningful objectives. Building your own system is specially made as per your company’s needs. It also focuses on efficiency and scalability.

4. Higher gets lower

It’s a fact that creating a custom system will suck up your funds, but it will cost you much less than the canned ones as you will not have to renew your license or subscription.

Also, a tailor-made system does not need any alteration to address your company’s needs. It’s a life-time investment that will pay you off all your life. 

5. Easy to implement 

It’s quite easy to make any changes or adjustments to your tailor-made software. If you ever require to make any changes due to some change in legislation or customer demands, you can easily do it in no time.

Your in-house developer can do it all you might find necessary at any given point in time without causing your business to wait or sacrifice anything.

6. Endless support

One of the primary benefits of having a bespoke tool is the type of support you will get.

Some software companies provide help after the setup, so you should use the services of such a provider.

A trustworthy support plan is necessary to running a business diligently and successfully.

A team of in-house experts who developed your system will be able to fix any bugs or adjust the program faster efficiently.

7. Increased efficiency

Companies are mostly compelled to use a few tools to operate. This leads to poorer efficiency as the programs are not compatible with one another.

It could be quite a hassle to maintain each one of them at once.

With custom solutions, you do not have to undergo any such situation. Having one tailor-made software helps companies to customize it as per their specific needs ensuring smooth and efficient functioning. 

8. What a great accuracy

Courtesy of the automation process. Today human error has been minimized because of automation.

Tasks, therefore, get completed quicker and proficiently than off-the-shelf tools.

Using automation, a lot of manual processes are managed with an increased efficiency of control thus reducing the odds of errors.

9. Best cybersecurity

These days, businesses, as well as professionals, are exposed to various threats, cyber theft is one such risk. 

You can buy commercial products from any vendor, and hackers might easily have many ways to open the loops and break into your system to steal your critical data. 

A self-made customized system makes it much tougher for cyber hunks to learn the ins and outs of your program, thus launching an attack is unlikely. 

10. Unlimited number of users

With canned solutions, you have a limited number of people allowed to use the system. 

For small companies, it may not be a big deal to use the canned solutions, but businesses with nearly 100 employees or more may create issues.

Although software costs can be expensive and may hurt your budget, you must invest in a custom-built platform.

Rather than making cuts, look for other ways to save your company’s bucks.

Step-by-Step Process of building own platform

1. Assess your requirement

You must determine what exactly you want out of the build software. The more complex it would be, the more problems it would solve.

Also, some problems are befitting for more approaches than one. For instance, there is no sense in creating your internal messaging service.

Complex PWAs with ERP integration you can easily outsource. But learning management tools that organize sensitive data must be in-house.

2. Analyze the development budget

You should also see what cost would it incur to buy a canned product. It would not have the full-featured system given your business demands.

It might address your basic needs but not that specific. This will make this option cheaper.

It is, thereafter, necessary to make out the cost of a custom-built software solution. It is customized as per your needs.

All your business needs will be fulfilled by this program. That is why it has a higher cost.  

3. Calculate the liquidation risk

As already mentioned, by licensing your tool, app, or infrastructure as a service, the provider may go bankrupt.

You must always measure all the expected costs including maintenance and development of huge projects. Such projects are quite expensive.

It is best to decide whether or not the product you need will be a part of your business functioning. If yes, it would be safe to create one.

4. Understand the market

Watch out for the options available. By doing beforehand, you get a clear picture of what you’re selecting from.

During this phase, you will assess the advantages of every canned solution and their areas of functioning. Get ready to make compromises.

If you find something effective, don’t rush to purchase it. There are many aspects to consider.

5. Know the data integrity threats

It is not recommended to keep the personal data of the clients, trade secrets, and other IPs on the cloud. It is easy to steal.

It is always better to be safe. An internal process would always have better safety. 

6. Know the level of control you need

Data integrity threat and control on your data go hand in hand. With some systems, you are left at the will of the provider.

Some modules you trust can be removed, the costing can change, and much more. With a custom system, things are in your control.

7. Assess the scalability

Businesses always grow. Try to make out whether or not the canned products can keep up with it.

Many services are associated with some kind of capping and require you to pay the additional cost for premium plans. 

The best choice

Custom tools are not always the perfect or best to go for a case. There are examples of when it proved to be a loss of money.

It is a time-sensitive aspect. However, if this is not the case with your business, you should go on to build your solutions. 

Build custom software if it gives a competitive edge

The personally built software gives you a competitive benefit, then, by all means, create one.

Often, a custom system can be the primary difference between offering a service and offering a specific customer experience.

If your customized system is not available on the market and can offer you a great competitive edge, then it could be a true investment.

You should make build vs. buy decisions very carefully. Just remembers, whatever you build as your custom tool, will incur a maintenance cost that you cannot avoid. 

Put customers’ needs first

For most businesses, the risks and expenses that come with building custom systems often outweigh those of buying an already available tool.

That’s due to the resources of creating and maintaining a system in-house takes away time, resources, and efforts from improving your product and offering your customers improved services.

Custom software – Insights

When creating custom software, you can distinct it into three major categories in their customization level:

  1. Full – customization – In this the software is built as per the given company’s needs
  2. Partial – customization – Such tools already exist and you just have to tweak them partially
  3. Copied – customization – You can use this software developed by a third party as per your specific needs. 

The customization level depends on your needs. You can either select an entirely new solution or integrate it with the existing one to your specific needs.

You can automate many processes of your company like CMS, time tracking, invoicing, purchasing solutions, efficiency booster systems, etc.

If you’re opting for custom software, you need to get ready for to long and tiring process of complicated development. 

The completion process depends on the complexity level and your unique business needs, but it usually takes many months to complete. 


Software development businesses have understood that a tailor-made system is much better and productive in the long run. Irrespective of if you own a startup or run a huge business. 

The demand for custom-built systems is at an all-time high outperforming commercial and canned products. 

If you haven’t thought about having your custom software development, today is the time to hire a software development company to make the best out of this concept.

All product and company names are trademarks™, registered® or copyright© trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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