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Custom software vs off-the-shelf products 

By Amy, Eastpoint Software on 10 September 2020

We create custom applications that target pain points, solve problems, and provide a benefit to their users. In this blog we look at why custom software development often delivers better value than off-the-shelf solutions. 

To clarify what we mean by off-the-shelf in this context – we are referring to ready-to-use products that deliver functionality for your customers or your business processes. We are not referring to ubiquitous business tools such as Microsoft Word. 

Focus on what customers want 

Creating custom software is about identifying and solving problems, and doing this in the most efficient way possible. It might come in the form of discovery, design sprints and iterative development. 

Instead of thinking of what your customers might want, or looking to improve a business process but being limited to the way a software provider does it, you can instead focus on what your customers or staff need most, and how to make the most valuable improvements first. 

You can learn about the way we do things here

Adapt as your business grows 

A solution that works now will inevitably need review in the future. Have your business challenges changed? Has an innovative new product provided your customers with a better platform? Do you require the insight of designers and software developers to give trusted advice on the latest technology? 

An off-the-shelf product will only respond as the creator sees fit, a custom solution can move at your speed and reflect your knowledge of your sector as it grows and evolves. 

And then there’s us! Our team will be focused on you in a way an off-the-shelf product can’t be.  

The cost of an imperfect tool 

There may be an off-the-shelf tool that provides a cheaper way to access certain functions (and if it’s not cheaper, it should be). 

But custom software doesn’t mean you build every little thing from scratch and it will be inordinately expensive. Our custom software takes all the knowledge we have from decades of experience and our own libraries and APIs and uses these to power a solution tailored to you. 

When weighing up the cost of something off-the-shelf, consider the fees over time, and remember that during that time, you are not building your own product. If a software package is not responding to your needs in a custom and innovate way, is it worth the investment? 

Phases and stages 

An off-the-shelf solution may look attractive compared to waiting for a consultancy to create something that will be better suited, but will take longer. 

Custom software isn’t necessarily a long wait. Design and development can be phased to deliver something useful as early as possible.  

Solving complex problems 

Ultimately, custom software enables you to drill down into what you really need to do, and do it. 

We have worked on some amazing and varied projects during the last decade and delivered custom software designed to create targeted value to our clients [link to case studies]. 

If you are looking at software options and unsure between custom development and an off-the-shelf solution, we recommend having a chat with the consultancy. If we were approached, we would seek to find out more to make a recommendation on how to proceed, as every project is different. 

When NOT to shelve off-the-shelf 

We work with our clients to maximise value. This might mean recommending off-the-shelf products where we feel they can deliver value at that stage of the project.  

Where we know there is an existing solution that works, we will tell you.  

Contact Eastpoint 

Do you have a custom project in mind? We are a software developer based in Cambridge but work with clients nationally. We have processes in place to ensure that remote working delivers the same care, detail and communication that you would expect from any project. 

We are design and technology focused and all our work is carried out in-house. Our experienced software developers and designers have worked on many custom digital products – call us to find out more on 01223 690164 or email info@eastpoint.co.uk.