Case #2: Transitioning From Off-the-Shelf to Custom Software
An organization had an off-the-shelf (OTS) system, with annual licenses amounting to thousands of dollars per year. The system generally worked to run their business. The organization was using it well, and staff was familiar with its operation. However, gaps remained – including reporting and other needed add-on tools.
They approached Digital Mettle and initially requested a custom software alternative to the OTS system. After assessing their system and its weaknesses, two things became immediately clear:
- Creating a custom replacement for them would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (far beyond their budget).
- It likely would not include many of the bonus features they wanted.
Instead, they followed our recommendation of custom additions to their existing OTS system. We were able to fill the gaps in the OTS incrementally – providing new reports and add-on tools as they were needed. This avoided the wait time to build the full custom system, a major workflow transition to a new system inhibiting productivity, business downtime and budget-busting costs. [Read the full success story here.]
Custom or Off-the-Shelf? Know Yourself and Your Organization.
These two cases highlight the complexities involved in business software development and optimization. The important lesson to be learned from these two projects is that the best solution is often found in the project details.
Cost-driven decision-making is fine, but it demands a clear understanding of project scope and objectives. An inability to modify team behavior (e.g., adapt to different workflows) can have a tremendous – and as demonstrated in the first case, above – disastrous impact on the success of a software development project.