Complexity needs new solutions

Custom software offers some advantages over already existing solutions. But what actually speaks for an individual solution, what against? And can the disadvantages perhaps be viewed from a different angle?

Comparison Individual Software vs. Standard Software

Advantages of customised software: tailor-made solutions

Advantages for individual software can be found quickly: If, for example, a company decides to have a software solution developed, it adapts optimally to its own needs. Business processes remain unaffected by it because it takes them into account right from the start and can even help to improve them – just think of digitalisation. Moreover, it can be seamlessly integrated into existing systems and structures or, again, help to make them more transparent and faster, for example when monolithic structures are merged into one system.

If, despite all the forward-looking planning, adjustments and extensions are necessary if something changes in the size of the company or its range of services, these are possible at any time because there is direct contact with the manufacturer. This also becomes important when companies have to react quickly to changes in the market, which is becoming more and more important in times of rapid change and many global crises, such as the Corona pandemic or the Ukraine war. Last but not least, the look and functions can also be tailored exactly to the company’s wishes.

Disadvantages of individual software reassessed

But what about the disadvantages? At first glance, implementing new software seems like a lengthy process that many would like to bypass. But anyone who has dealt with and experienced the introduction and implementation of standard software knows how many snags there can be before the product achieves the desired result. Because “bought quickly” does not mean that the solution will also run quickly and the seemingly cheaper standard product will quickly become a permanent construction site.

IIf one is also a smaller customer, the interest in successful support is often not very great, whereas the developers of one’s own solution are available for problems and enquiries in one’s own interest alone. Moreover, a standard programme often does not cover all areas of a company, so that one has to deal with a wide variety of providers and maintain different systems, whereas with an individual software solution everything is in one hand.

Cost savings through precise planning and nearshoring

In fact, it is possible for the costs of custom software development to exceed the planned budget.  However, a precise needs analysis and planning as well as strict budget monitoring can avoid a cost explosion from the very beginning. Further savings can be made by using a partner who has outsourced his software development to a nearshoring region. In addition, the balance sheet quickly looks different when comparing customised software with standard products, taking into account maintenance, software updates, licences, etc., which are often incurred with the latter.

Close cooperation with a company that specialises in the development of complex software solutions therefore also prevents misunderstandings about what the finished product must be able to do and achieve. This is also helped by the agile way software companies work, where developers can react quickly to changing requirements.

Conclusion: Individual software is the solution of choice in complex environments

In some cases it can certainly make sense to choose standard software. The question of the complexity of one’s own structures and processes, based on the Cynefin framework, helps with the decision. Especially in times of digitalisation, the challenges are rarely simple, so that the approach of a best-practice solution no longer applies. Because in a complex Vuca world, what counts are procedures and structures that can be adapted easily and quickly. A solution tailored to the needs of the customer, which has already dealt with the special challenges of the company during development, is far more helpful than one developed for standard cases. This is true even if experience from many industries has gone into it, as nothing is as unique as a company’s structure and culture.