Developing In-House Vs. Buying Off-The-Shelf

PART III

PUBLISHED 5 AUGUST 2022

Off-The-Shelf Pros And Cons

Following on from our last discussion regarding the Pros and Cons of Developing a product In-House, in this blog we will look at the specific positives and negatives that can be attributed to buying a solution off-the-shelf.

Pros

  • The first major plus point with buying an “oven-ready” package is simply the fact that it is tried and tested; you know that it works, there will be support provisions in place, and you won’t have to worry about being the first to try it out.
  • There is no need to “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to these things, there are already specialised software systems that have already been designed to cater for the problems that you are looking to address.
  • Before you purchase, as with the first point, it is already in place elsewhere so you will be able to go and view the system in operation in a similar working environment.
  • The provider of the package, the software house, will very probably bring considerable experience with them that you can then rely on
  • You can’t take forever to put systems in place, and the implementation time will be shorter when buying off-the-shelf, measured in weeks rather than months, or even years.

Cons

  • In terms of what you require and what you will get, it is possible that the package could be bloated with unnecessary features (although could they be necessary in future?), yet may fall short in some critical areas.
  • There is a risk of the vendor being slow to react to market trends or reluctant to adapt the software to your particular needs.
  • If you have other systems in place there may be potential integration issues with the new software.
  • Support and Maintenance costs can be expensive (although you will also have to support and maintain when developing in-house).
  • Finally, when purchasing from an external provider you are putting a lot of faith in that one company. Some may say that this is a case of putting all your eggs in one basket, while others may tell you to just make sure they are deserving of that confidence you are showing in them.

While these are definitely examples of problems you may experience with some off-the-shelf systems, we should say we don’t believe they can be associated with our own products. We may well be biased, but our years of experience in the industry have ensured that we do tend to know what our customers are looking for.

Next: Part IV – Summary and Conclusion


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