Is it still worth developing your own software for your business?

In today’s business world, software is an indispensable part of business operations. Deciding whether your business should buy off-the-shelf software or develop your own can be a difficult decision. Do it yourself! Developing a software is relatively expensive, but off-the-shelf software is inflexible. But why do companies still develop their own software? This article will give you some insight by comparing off-the-shelf software and home-grown software in seven aspects.

1. Suitability: The most important benefit of developing a set of software for enterprises, is that it is tailored by the developers according to your needs and requirements. It is the best way to meet your business needs. It is common for companies to purchase off-the-shelf software from a software vendor and soon discover that the software is simply not fit for their business, and businesses are often forced to use the unfit software just not to waste resources. With home-grown software, you can be sure that the software is tailored to your business needs during the time of software development. 

2. Scalability: Home-grown software is more scalable than off-the-shelf packages. For home-grown software, the developer designs the software according to the basic operational and business logic of the business. The developer will be able to maintain and extend the functionality of the software as the business expands. However, for using off-the-shelf software, companies often encounter maintenance problems when part of their business needs change due to their changes in business scope. As the changes are not covered by the off-the-shelf  software, the business may end up needing to purchase another off-the-shelf software to remedy the situation. Home-grown business software can meet your business needs while allowing your business to continue growing without being bound by software limitations.

3. Security: Home-grown software can help protect your business from external threats. Hackers to enterprise software mostly exploit known vulnerabilities in commonly used software. For hackers, home-grown enterprise software is not a vulnerable target because it takes relatively more time and effort in hacking. The software developer can tailor hacker protection for the business, making it much more secure than off-the-shelf software.

4. Enterprise productivity: Using the right software can have a huge positive impact on productivity. Self-developed enterprise software can simplify the operations according to the enterprise’s operation mode to increase enterprise productivity. Developers can also tailor the job analysis reports to display the work performance graphically based on the data. The management team will have a clear understanding of the company’s operations. In this sense, you can set the direction for your business more efficiently.

There are only a few off-the-shelf software that can share data easily, and since off-the-shelf software isn’t tailored to your business operations, you will not be able to share your data more efficiently. This may result in a decrease in the overall productivity as employees have to adapt using the software. For off-the-shelf software to analyse the work data, they often need to integrate data from different softwares, which may be more prone to errors and not able to get the job done effectively. While self-developed enterprise software can avoid this kind of integration problems because it is designed to fit in your business operations.

5. Maintenance efficiency: Self-developed enterprise software can be properly maintained as required. When using off-the-shelf software, a business customer is only one of those thousand customers using the software, the software developer can only provide limited support for each case. As the initiative of supporting software fixes is taken by the software developer, as a business customer, you have no control on the problems you encountered and finding a way to fix them. Software developers take the control and you could only depend on them providing the fixes. If the software developer decided not to maintain the software, there is a chance your business may need to source and replace the software immediately, and costs your business additional time, effort and money. There is also a chance that there will be a window of time when the software does not work properly. 

There is no doubt that self-developed enterprise software has the leading edge in maintenance, software development companies provide one-to-one maintenance services for their customers. You can be sure that your business and fixes you need is properly taken care of with prompt and tailored maintenance services.

6. Additional costs: Home-grown enterprise software can help you save money on hardware purchases. Off-the-shelf software often has specific hardware requirements, which means that your business may need to purchase additional hardware to run the software effectively. Home-grown enterprise software works the opposite way, the software can be programmed to work with the existing hardware and functionality in your business, saving your money from procuring additional hardware just to meet the compatibility requirement in running the off-the-shelf software.

7. Intellectual Property: The intellectual property of self-developed enterprise software can be fully owned by the enterprise. With home-grown software, there is no need to work with any particular vendor, as you are the legal owner of the product. For off-the-shelf software, you will be required to pay a recurring fee for each user license to obtain access to the software.


Self-developed enterprise software may seem to be more expensive than off-the-shelf software on the surface, however when considering the additional cost in hardware procurement, or the risk of software developers stop providing maintenance for the software, self-developed enterprise software is definitely a more secured and wise choice for enterprise customers. 

It is also worth noting that, for self-developed software, software development and maintenance can be carried out in phase according to the development of the enterprise in terms of scalability. In general, self-developed enterprise software can provide a solid software foundation for your business and support the continued software needs during your growth.

We are ONEs Software Limited, a Hong Kong based software development company dedicated to the provision of the best software solutions tailor-made for your business with our expertise and professional technology. If you are interested in bringing new impetus into your business, or looking for software to support your business growth, or for inquiries, please feel free to contact us.

Tel: (+852) 5538 3410