An off-the-shelf software product may mean a smaller initial investment. Yet this doesn’t mean the cost can’t or won’t grow. With off-the-shelf software, project costs can increase quickly as you try to bend it to work with your existing business systems or processes. This often leads to higher-than-expected fees, longer development times, or a failed project.
Software can have a single use case or hundreds of use cases, depending on your project’s size and complexity. Identifying and prioritizing these use cases is essential to determining the best solution for you. A seasoned software company can help you develop project requirements, estimate costs, and recommend the right direction.
Companies Only Offering Hammers
We all know the saying that if you only sell hammers, everything starts to look like a nail. For projects of almost any scale, you need a company with a large set of tools and years of experience to avoid the potential of wasted time and money. The danger in working with inexperienced companies is that their limited knowledge and solutions may prevent you from getting the best possible solution.
A general rule of thumb is, the more extensive the project, the larger the support costs. So it’s important you know your long-term software support costs upfront.
Is there a contract involved? Will the software need to be extensively customized going forward? Who will host the software? Is the support fixed fee, hourly, or a combination of both?
Custom software and off-the-shelf software can be similarly expensive to support. Work with your vendor to identify these costs upfront so you can decide what is right for you.