When it comes to introducing digital technology to your business, there are two options: custom tech or off-the-shelf tech. Custom technology can be built to your specs. Off-the-shelf technology meanwhile is already predesigned and prepackaged.
Both custom tech and off-the-shelf tech can have their benefits and drawbacks. This guide compares the two of them to help you find the right solution for you.
Why choose custom tech?
Custom tech developers are able to build software or hardware to meet your personalised needs. For example, custom machinery could be built to fit into a certain space or it could be branded to look unique in order to impress customers. Custom software could meanwhile be made to be compatible on a variety of devices with a UI catered to your needs.
A drawback of custom tech is that it can be quite expensive upfront. This is particularly the case if you want to create something complex and new – this could require hiring a large team of developers or engineers. Custom tech can also take a long time to produce, particularly if it is quite elaborate.
Custom tech may of course end up being more economical and more efficient in the long run. Instead of using six different programs, making your own software could allow you to consolidate all the features you want into one program – instead of paying six software subscriptions, you may be able to get away with one. You may also be able to create tech with handy shortcuts and automated features to improve productivity.
Why choose off-the-shelf tech?
Off-the-shelf tech is designed by a developer/manufacturer to be sold in a mass-produced form. Upfront costs are unlikely to be as high for such software and you don’t have to wait for it to be built.
Of course, off-the-shelf machinery of software may not always tick all of your boxes. While some software companies may have a variety of plans to choose from and some hardware companies may have a variety of models, you may still find that none meet your exact criteria – they may lack some features you ideally want while containing other features that you don’t want.
Fortunately, you have the choice of a lot of different programs and machines. There may also be times when off-the-shelf software or machinery offers features you didn’t even know you needed. When buying from a popular brand, there’s also likely to be a good support network and you may find it easier to iron out glitches and bugs.
Which one is right for you?
If you require software or hardware with very specific needs, you may find it more beneficial to opt for custom tech. Just make sure that you’re able to finance it and that you don’t need the technology immediately. Different developers/manufacturers may have different budgets and time scales, which is something to consider.
If you’re looking for tech with a more general purpose, you may find that off-the-shelf tech is all you need. Just make sure to shop around and do your research before choosing a product. Some products may have more flexibility when it comes to different plans and models, which is something worth exploring.