What’s left to talk about?!

9 Mar

So far, many aspects of developing and purchasing information systems have been discussed. In particular, the different ways of developing information systems has been addressed thoroughly.So far, my blogs have been about the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing, SDLC and in-house development. As the project is coming to an end, I would like to discuss off-the-shelf software as a means of purchasing information systems.

When I blogged about outsourcing, I compared it to in-house development. Now there is also the option of whether to buy custom software or off-the-shelf products. Custom software is developed according to the organisation’s specification and requirements (whether it is developed in-house or by another company). Off-the-shelf software, on the other hand, is software that is ready-to-use once you install it your computer.

Custom Software Ys. Off-the-shelf products

Firstly, there are many advantages of having custom software built for your specific needs:

  1. Glove fit for your specific needs
  2. Localized & focused customer/user base
  3. Typically, a lower upfront cost
  4. Local Support
  5. Immediate fixes, enhancements
  6. No obsolescence (as long as it is maintained)
  7. Investment in updates and enhancements controlled 100%
  8. A uniquely developed solution can provide a competitive advantage

There are also a number of disadvantages associated with having custom software built for your specific needs:

  1. Changes to the solution are generally costly
  2. Cost to design, develop, deploy and train is expensive
  3. Risk of losing knowledge base with no backfill
  4. Availability of resources may be challenging or seasonal
  5. No economies of scale with a small pool of users driving enhancements
  6. Software development is not part of the company’s core competencies
  7. Internal battles between competing internal projects for budgets to handle software development and ongoing support
  8. Difficulties in supporting new technology platforms on the horizon


Similarly, there are advantages to buying a commercial, off-the-shelf solution

  1. Often meets the majority of your needs
  2. Relatively fast deployment
  3. Software development is core competency
    of vendor
  4. Leverages economies of scale
  5. Low to no internal support required
  6. Industry software development standards are typically used
  7. All design, development is handled by vendor
  8. Knowledge base is spread out over many resources
  9. Many vendors offer flexible software licensing models#


There are also disadvantages to buying a commercial, off-the-shelf solution:

  1. Likely chance that features or functionality are missing or not optimal
  2. Typically, fixes and enhancements delivered on a regular basis
  3. Not all enhancements are relevant to your business
  4. Software vendor may not know enough about your core business to develop a specific application
  5. Typically, a higher upfront cost to purchase application


As can be seen there is a lot to be taken into account before a ompany decides o how they intend to develop or purrchase their information systems. I hope you found this blog interesting!



To Build or To Buy: Comparing Custom and Off-The-Shelf Software Applications by Bob Mango






5 Responses to “What’s left to talk about?!”

  1. sad111708665 March 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Excellent blog! Thank you for that 🙂

  2. sad111505863 March 9, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Really good blog …gave a good summary of developing and purchasing I.S. 🙂

  3. sad111417212 March 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    well done!

  4. sad109566511 March 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    Gave a great summary of developing and purchasing IS,really enjoyed your blogs every week 🙂 going to be great help for revision!!

  5. sad111417672 March 9, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Really enjoyed your blogs each week, good information and descriptions 🙂

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