Knowing When It’s Time to Ditch Off-the-Shelf Solutions for a Custom Tech Stack

by Shaun Whynacht  - June 24, 2024

As businesses begin to grow, they often invest in a number of different technology solutions to help them streamline their workflows or improve the productivity of their employees.

However, over time, many of these investments begin to lose their value, leaving businesses with the question of whether or not they should consider creating their own custom solutions. But before you decide to ditch your off-the-shelf software, there are some important things to consider.

Common Constraints When Working With Off-the-Shelf Solutions

Although there are a variety of off-the-shelf software solutions that can help businesses in multiple areas, there are signs you should look for that might be telling you it’s time to consider a replacement:

Overly Generic Features

While many commercial software solutions have a range of features and options, they are often built for a large target audience. 

This high level of versatility often translates to using more generic features that most organizations can benefit from, although not really designed to offer unique benefits to organizations that adopt them.

Issues With Adaptability

As a business grows, it needs to ensure that its technology can keep up. Often, though, off-the-shelf solutions hit a cap regarding their long-term flexibility.

In most cases, the customization capabilities of most software solutions will hit a wall unless premium costs are paid or you’re given the ability to modify the software to accommodate more advanced workflows.

Cost Creep

At first glance, many off-the-shelf solutions look very affordable, considering the marketed business value they can bring. That being said, if you’re not careful, the necessary license fees and subscription costs you pay each month can quickly lead to a lower return on investment, especially as the business begins to grow.

Siloed Information

Another common issue with generic technology solutions is that they aren’t all designed to help synergize other systems or databases. 

This means that companies need to modify their operations so they are using multiple platforms at once, which can lead to siloed information and adds to inefficiencies in workflows and the smooth functioning of the business.

Advantages of Having a Custom Tech Stack

Rather than being limited by the boundaries of off-the-shelf solutions, designing your own custom tech stack can provide a variety of benefits, including:

Better Efficiency

When you take the time to design all of the elements of your tech stack, you’re able to ensure that it supports your unique businesses exactly as you need it to. This leads to a level of efficiency that can be very difficult to find in more generic technology solutions.

Improved Agility

Custom technology options managed in-house or by an outsourced team of developers aren’t subject to someone else’s development cycles. 

When you manage your development projects, you can dictate when and how they should be designed, allowing your businesses to stay agile with customer demands or market trends.

Complete System Ownership

Another great benefit of custom technology solutions is that you have complete ownership over them in the long term. You won’t need to worry about unknown cost increases each year or significant shifts in subscription tiers. 

You’ll also be able to implement your own security measures when it comes to data privacy and security, rather than being subject to the protocols of third-party providers.

Custom Integration Capabilities

Because of how important it can be to make sure your tech stack fits well into your current business infrastructure, custom solutions give you a much more flexible format to work with. 

When designing your own software, you’ll be able to ensure it has the integration capabilities you need to complement your other business's investments and create a much more holistic solution that brings all of your systems and data into one scalable platform. 

When You Should Hold Back on Custom Development

Even though a customer technology solution might “seem” like the best option, there are some things you should consider that might signal it’s better to avoid creating a new development project:

Budget Constraints

No different than completing a bathroom remodel or another type of home renovation project when you’re getting your home ready for sale, custom software development projects can come with a number of unexpected costs. 

If you’re running into certain budget constraints, it may be better to wait until you feel more confident about your financial flexibility before starting a project.

Time-to-Market Challenges

Although not all custom development projects may have extended timelines, many of them will hit certain roadblocks that can lead to unexpected delays. 

If your business needs to have a specific solution in place as soon as possible, it’s probably better to explore an off-the-shelf option that can be ready to deploy right away.

Expertise Gap

Software development requires specialized skill sets to plan and execute properly. Depending on your organization, this could involve needing to invest more resources into obtaining an in-house team or paying outsourced teams on an hourly basis. 

This can take time to resource, and if you don’t already have a team present who can handle development, it may not be financially viable to source them.

Maintenance Overhead Costs

When building the scope of a development project, the costs of designing the solution itself are often the primary consideration.

However, it’s important to remember that any custom solution you design will no doubt have a number of other recurring maintenance costs associated with keeping it up and running. It’s important to evaluate all of these potential expenses to make sure the solution still makes financial sense to develop in-house.

Make the Right Choices When Helping Your Business Grow

There is no question that custom software solutions can bring businesses a number of advantages when compared with using off-the-shelf options. However, it’s important to make sure you know the right time to make a switch in your investments.

By following the strategies discussed, you can be sure that you’re making smarter decisions regarding your tech stack and are able to maximize the returns on your investments

This blog post was contributed by: Dalip Jaggi | Entrepreneur, technologist, and passionate business leader sum up the core of Dalip Jaggi, co-founder of Revive Real Estate, a PropTech company with a goal to democratize house flipping. Since its 2020-inception, Revive has since become the smartest solution for homeowners to maximize their home’s sales value across the nation.

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Shaun Whynacht

Shaun, our Founder and CEO has been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at a young age. He knows firsthand how much love and determination gets poured into running a business after spending more than 10 years touring all over Canada learning from different industries. Not only is Shaun passionate about marketing he also developed some very unique abilities to stay current with changing technology in this ever-progressive world

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