When Should Your Company Develop Its Own Software?

The Right Move for Your Company?

When you’re thinking about developing your own software, there are many factors to consider. This includes whether the company will be using the solution internally or if it needs to be shared with other departments or businesses. In this article we’ll explore some of those factors so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not starting up your own development team is right for your company and its needs.

The advantages of buying a ready-made software solution

You’ve decided to go ahead and develop your own software, but why? The benefits of using a ready-made solution are:

  • It’s cheaper. When you buy off-the-shelf software, you know that it’ll work for your needs and won’t require any additional development time or cost.
  • It’s usually more secure than developing your own program from scratch (though this may not always be true). Most companies have strict regulations regarding the security of their data and systems; if they don’t have time or resources to implement these measures themselves, they’ll likely pay someone else to do so on their behalf. This means that even if an employee makes mistakes with customer information or misuses company funds as part of an illegal scheme (which happens), there’s no risk in purchasing a ready-made product instead.
  • It comes with majority of pre-built features already. Think about a typical e-commerce platform. The amount of time that you would need to spend on features that are standard already in some application is astounding. Buying a pre-built solution is significantly cheaper when you think about the amount of development hours that you would need to invest in to replicate the features that are already there. With pre-built solutions, you can focus on the features that set your business apart from others.
  • Pre-made software is usually more reliable than developing your own program from scratch. You can count on it being relatively bug-free and work exactly as advertised, or at least very close to the way advertised (if not 100 percent so). This means that users won’t experience any downtime due to bugs or crashes, which would be unacceptable for many businesses.

Advantages of custom code

When dealing with sensitive or proprietary information, buying a ready-made solution may not be an option. You may need the information tightly guarded and may need to limit the amount of plugins that touch it. Some other advantages of custom code include:

  • Custom software can help you integrate your existing systems and make them more efficient by streamlining the way they work together.
  • A custom software development team will be able to build specific features that meet your needs in terms of functionality and performance.
  • It’s important for companies like yours to develop their own solutions because doing so allows them to create unique services that suit their needs better than those offered by other businesses.
  • Custom solutions may make your business more sellable if you’re competing in an environment that resembles majority of other businesses.

Licensing Fees

Licensing fees are often expensive. If your business is small, you may not need to pay licensing fees at all. And if your business is a startup, you may be unable to afford them.

However, when it comes down to it — and this is where many businesses get stuck — you probably do need some form of software for your company’s operations and processes. If you don’t want the hassle (and expense) of dealing with licensing fees, there are plenty of other factors at play that can help determine when developing your own software makes sense:

  • What do you need the software for?
  • How much will it cost to license your current software vs. develop new software?
  • Is there a way around licensing fees by developing your own enterprise software solution instead?

If a software developer already exists within your company

If you already have a developer in your company, it might be best to let them develop the software. This can save money and time by giving you access to an experienced team member who knows what they’re doing.

However, if there’s no one in your company who has ever developed software before (or even worked on any type of project), then hiring one could be beneficial for both parties: You’ll be able to get someone who knows how to do their job right and they’ll be able to learn as well. You’re still going to need to do a cost-benefit analysis and figure out if it’s cheaper to hire a developer or get off-the-shelf software.

Internal Development Factors

Before deciding on developing your own software, consider the important factors, like company culture and type of data involved.

Company culture: A company’s culture can be defined as a comprehensive set of shared beliefs about what is important at work. The values that drive your organization’s success and growth are often reflected in its organizational structure and processes — for example, if you’re looking at going into new markets or expanding into new countries where English isn’t spoken as well as it is here in America (or elsewhere), then making sure everyone understands these differences early on will be crucial for success down the road.

If you have a culture of do-it-yourselfers, it may be more difficult to get everyone on-board when it comes to getting new software. There are numerous reasons why individuals want to develop solutions themselves, but it’s important to figure out why and communicate the pros and cons to them before deciding either way.

If you’ve just hired a team of developers and are looking to move away from using off-the-shelf software, first ask yourself whether or not this is really the best option for your business. In most cases, developing custom software can be much more expensive than buying something that’s already been developed by someone else.

Some companies will have very specific needs for their software development projects, so it may make more sense to outsource those tasks rather than hire an in-house team. This could mean anything from creating a custom operating system to designing new hardware that requires special programming languages.


The decision to develop your own software can be a difficult one. You might have to consider the risks, but it’s also worth taking into account the advantages and disadvantages of buying ready-made solutions. Don’t rush into this decision; weigh the pros and cons carefully, and make sure that you’re aware of all potential problems before making a final decision on whether or not to purchase an off-the-shelf product or develop one yourself.


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