Build or Buy – Determining the Right Software Solutions for Your Business

Software Solutions for Your BusinessIn a song that was popular decades ago, The Clash sang the following lyrics:

“Darling you got to let me know

Should I stay or should I go?”

If you’re familiar with that song and you’re trying to decide whether you should build or buy software for your company, you may want to replace the word “stay” with “build” and “go” with “buy” and sing your revised lyrics to The Clash’s enduring tune. Just as the musical group struggled to tell if they should stay or leave, you may be having difficulty deciding whether buying off-the-shelf software or creating custom, propriety software makes the most sense for your business. 

If you are trying to choose between pre-existing and custom software, you can take comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Many business owners and managers wrestle with the same choice every day. While that knowledge doesn’t make your decision any easier, it does mean that taking a look at the benefits and drawbacks to each of your options is a worthwhile endeavor.

A Look at Canned Software Solutions

While some business leaders may insist that you should always use a custom software development company to create propriety software for your business, there are some instances where it makes more sense to go with a canned software solution. This is particularly true when it comes to small businesses and non-tech oriented startups.

Here are some of the factors that may make it more sensible to bypass custom software development services and purchase pre-made software instead:

  • You Have a Limited Budget

    Even if you find a company that offers software development services at a reasonable price, custom software is still going to be more expensive than off-the-shelf alternatives. If you have a limited budget, you may want to choose a canned software solution at least for now.

  • You Don’t Have Technical Expertise In-House

    If you’re current IT team doesn’t have the expertise necessary to build out custom software, it makes sense to go with a canned option. If you’re not satisfied with the pre-existing software that’s available for you to purchase, you at least have to have in-house professionals who have the knowledge necessary to hold the custom software development company you hire accountable.

  • Your Timeline Is Condensed

    If you have a condensed timeline and need completed software yesterday, you’ll want to look into canned solutions. Effective proprietary software takes time to make so building your own software isn’t a viable option if you don’t have a lot of time.

  • Proven Solutions Are Already Available

    If your business isn’t highly specialized, time-tested software solutions may already exist for businesses like yours. If you operate a restaurant, for instance, it probably doesn’t make sense for you to build your own software since many proven options are already available in the marketplace.

  • You Wouldn’t Gain an Advantage

    Many companies turn to custom software solutions to give them a competitive advantage. If proprietary software won’t distinguish your business from its competitors, a canned solution may be more appropriate.

A Look at Custom Software Solutions

Just like there are instances where an off-the-shelf software solution is the best option, there are times when hiring a custom software development company to create proprietary software is the smartest move you can make. Here are some of the reasons why building software is a good idea:

  • Off-the-Shelf Software Can’t Meet Your Needs

    The problem with many canned software options is that they only address some of your needs instead of satisfying all of them. If you have specialized or industry-specific needs, you may not be able to find existing software that can address each and every one of your needs in the present or the future. When you build your software, you can ensure it meets all your current needs as well as those that will arise in the future.

  • Lack of Customization

    While some pre-made software solutions may allow you to add or delete certain functions once they’re installed, too few allow you to make meaningful changes to tailor the software to suit your purposes. This lack of customization can make canned software frustrating at its best and counter-productive at its worst. When you build proprietary software, it will be custom-made for you.

  • Lack of Compatibility

    As was mentioned earlier, it’s unlikely canned software will address all your needs. This may make it necessary for you to purchase several kinds of software for your business. What’s the problem with doing that? The different kinds of software you buy may not be compatible with one another. By building software, you can integrate a pool of different software and data partners that’s as deep as you want it to be.

    There’s another reason you may want to invest in custom software and it’s scalability. Canned software has built-in limitations which may make it impossible for the software to meet your needs. If you expect your business to grow quickly and you need your software to adapt accordingly, building software will be a must in most cases.

    Here are just a few of the ways that custom software can support your business as it grows in the context of volume and/or the number of your locations:

  • Increased Productivity and Efficiency

    Software that’s designed with your company’s needs in mind can increase your team’s productivity. Adding increased efficiency no matter how big your organization gets. Instead of using multiple programs to process and fulfill orders, you can have one integrated platform. This will prevent your employees from having to go from one program to another to complete a single task or several related tasks.

  • Competitive Edge

    If you’re using the same canned software that your competitors are using,  then you can’t use your software to distinguish your business. When you have your own proprietary software, you can use it to give your business a competitive edge. As you expand your system with additional custom programs, you can increase the edge you have over your rivals even more.


When you hire an app development company like Sunlight Media to create custom software for your business, you’re gaining a trusted partner.  Your Partner has the ability to react quickly to your company’s changing needs as well as trends in your industry. This quick reaction time can be the difference between your company merely surviving and it being a market leader. Learn about our software development services and contact Sunlight Media to learn how we can put them to work for you today.


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