Custom Software vs. Packaged Software
In the software development process, two terms appear very similar to each other: custom and packaged software. Thus, business owners must weigh Custom vs Packaged Software and consider the pros and cons of each.
Firstly, software development involves creating, designing, deploying, and supporting software. So, there are three software types: system, programming, and application. Custom software, which is specifically made for a purpose, is more expensive but can be altered as needed. Meanwhile, packaged software is sold to the public and includes programs grouped to perform different functions.
In this article, we shall discuss the various similarities and differences between the two. This can help you identify which type should work best in providing business solutions.
What is Software Development?
Software development, according to IBM, involves a “set of computer science activities that are dedicated to the process of creating, designing, deploying, and supporting software.” So because software is a set of instructions, it can tell a computer what to do – a feature that makes them programmable.
There are three basic software types:
- System software;
- Programming software; and
- Application software.
Firstly, system software is vital for a computer to function properly. After all, it provides core functions, including operating systems, utilities, disk management, and hardware management.
In particular, system software is responsible for the following:
- Managing resources;
- Facilitating communication between hard- and software components; and
- Ensuring efficient application performance.
Key components of system software include the following:
- The Operating System or OS
- Device drivers
- System utilities
- Disk management software or tools
- Virtualization software or tools
System software provides a layer of abstraction that shields application software from hardware complexities. As a result, this type of software enables computers to function efficiently.
Secondly, programming software or development tools provide programmers assistance with writing, testing, and debugging software. Moreover, programming software provides tools like linkers, text editors, debuggers, compilers, and others to create code.
So, here are some examples of programming software that improve productivity and software quality:
- Text editors or text editor tools
- Integrated Development Environments or IDEs
- Version control systems or tools
- Integrated build systems
- Profilers or profiling tools
- Code linters
- Documentation generators
Lastly, application software or apps help users perform specific tasks.
Unlike system software, which is critical to a computer’s core operations, applications are user-focused and serve various purposes, catering to specific needs and interests. As a result, application software includes media players, security programs, and data management software.
Also, applications include those used to shop, socialize, and post pictures, such as Lazada, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Here are some other types of business applications:
- Customer Relationship Management or CRM Systems
- Customer Support and Helpdesk Software
- First-In, First-Out or FIFO Inventory Systems
- Restaurant Management Software
- Electronic Medical Records Systems
- Pharmacy Management Software
- Customized Automation Software for Construction
- Synchronized Accounting Systems or Software
- Point of Sale or POS Systems
- E-Invoicing Software
- Project Management Software
- Homeowners Association Management Software or Systems
- Document Tracking Systems
Custom Software vs Packaged Software
We all utilize various software on our devices (mobile phones, laptops, computers, etc.). However, not all of us are familiar with their types. So, we can classify software under two main categories: custom software or packaged software.
On the one hand, custom software is a specifically-developed program created for a particular purpose. As such, this software tends to be priced higher than packaged applications, depending on its purpose and complexity.
However, unlike packaged software, custom software can be altered or modified when needed. Thus, it’s one of the reasons why the cost of Custom Software is pretty high.
For instance, a company may request the development of a custom-built management system to keep track of its employees’ working hours.
Packaged software is made available for public consumption, while custom software is made specifically for an individual or an organization for a purpose. So, it’s developed and sold by developers for an actual market price.
Moreover, it’s a collection of programs grouped to perform different functions. As a result, you’ll find it difficult to modify or alter these programs.
Generally, developers group these programs, give them a specified name, and provide them as solutions to people. A clear example of packaged software would be Microsoft Office, which includes tools such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, and Note.
Comparing Packaged Software vs Custom Software
Below, we have provided a table comparing the two types of software:
|PACKAGED SOFTWARE||CUSTOM SOFTWARE|
|Definition||Collection of programs grouped to provide publicly different tools from the same family||Specific and advanced program developed for one purpose for an individual or a company|
|Availability||Available to the public and sold at particular prices||Not commercially available, but is exclusive to third parties|
|Installation||Generally installed by third-party consultants||Generally installed by an in-house team|
|Usability||Simple to use, owing to a straightforward interface||Complicated to use because it is custom-built|
|Implementation||May not require the design and development team||Involves the design and development team|
|Integration||Usually more difficult to integrate with other software||Easier to integrate with other software|
|Modification||You cannot easily modify||You can modify when needed|
|Upgrades||Tends to follow the supplier’s marketing objectives||Focuses on the improvement of processes|
|Pricing||May be cheaper, but it can end up being costly when making adjustments||May require a higher investment, but the ROI will also be higher|
|Success Measure||Market sharing and profitability||User satisfaction and acceptance|
Utilizing Custom Software to Address Business Needs
Science Soft defines custom software development as the process of addressing a business’ specific objectives and needs. It does so by offering tailored solutions through designing, building, integrating, scaling, and upgrading software solutions.
Upon examining the table above, you can see the many benefits of employing custom software in your workflow.
Thus, if you’re on a software developer hunt, you need to crowdsource or get recommendations from people or businesses who have previously hired custom software development services. Moreover, you should also check a software development company’s previous projects to see if they can cater to your specific needs.
Besides that, you must check if they value the significance of finishing a project on time. You can also visit their social media pages or business website to evaluate their online market presence and reputation in the field.
Hire the Right Software Development Company for the Job!
For business owners, it is only natural to properly weigh your decisions first before employing the type of software to implement into your work activities. Thus, you must consider the question of Custom vs Packaged Software.
But overall, the market provides you with countless programs and tools that aim to help improve your business. However, these programs and applications cannot cater to all business types and requirements. After all, companies require software that offers solutions that can be easily adjusted according to their needs.
However, Custom Software Development from the Philippines can provide you with tailor-made software, programs, and applications. So not only can you maximize your work efficiency, but you also increase profits and Return on Investment.
So, which type of software are you more inclined to use: packaged or custom software? Tell us in the comments section below!