In the age of Software as a Service (SaaS), when a company needs software for the business, they usually look for an off-the-shelf solution. But off-the-shelf or SaaS software might not be a good investment for a growing company due to the inflexible nature of those products. Custom-building business software is often a better investment choice for a mid-sized company because of the level of control over the software it provides. The benefits of custom built software solve a lot of the problems presented by SaaS software.
Issues with Using SaaS
The business model of most SaaS software options follows a similar layout: your company buys a (usually monthly) subscription to the software. While this method works for some, it also creates issues that are hard to reconcile for many businesses. First, you don’t own the software, you are just “renting” it. Your company has no ability to make changes to the software as needed, nor can you really dictate anything that goes on with the software. SaaS companies will also often charge you more as your business grows and you have more and more users. Second, you have no guarantee that the company that owns the SaaS software will remain in business or keep supporting the specific software your company uses. In other words, your company has no say in the fate of the software that keeps your business competitive. And finally, you have to turn over your business’s data to someone else. Most SaaS software companies keep their software (and your data) on their servers, which is much less secure than storing your own data.
Due to the fact that the SaaS company own their software, they control what the software does. That may seem obvious, but this simple fact has repercussions for companies that use SaaS software. Because the SaaS company controls their software, they dictate what features are included in each of their software packages. This means that in order to get one or two features your company really needs, you might have to pay for five other features that you know you won’t use. It could also mean that to build your business in the way you want, you’ll have to buy multiple SaaS packages to implement the different features necessary for your business. Suddenly, it isn’t as cost effective to use SaaS software, especially as those charges build up monthly. Another related issue that arises from using SaaS software is the challenge of not supporting your own software. The SaaS company may choose to make changes to their software that you wouldn’t have changed or that don’t integrate well with the rest of your business.
The SaaS business model relies on having many customers using the same SaaS product. Unfortunately, this means that your company will have a very generalized experience when using SaaS products. Due to their large customer base, SaaS companies typically only provide online training videos or demos for their software. None of that training is specific to your company or to the way you want to implement that software in your business. If you need help implementing a part of the software, you will have to go through the normal customer service channels, which sometimes can cause serious delays within your company. It is also difficult to get the kind of metric reports your company wants to track when using SaaS software. The SaaS provider decides what reports their software provides based on the general needs of all the companies using that software, but those general needs don’t always line up with your company’s needs. Due to the general nature of SaaS products, your company won’t be different from anyone else using that software. Your platforms will be very similar to the competition’s platforms and customers won’t remember your product as anything special.
Benefits of Custom Built Software
When your company decides to use custom built software, many of the issues created by SaaS platforms are resolved. By implementing a custom built solution, you ensure that your company is in control of the entire system. You own the software, which means that you have many more options when it comes to choosing how the software is supported and used. You get to keep your data in house because the software is running on your servers, which is a much more secure method of operation than SaaS platforms offer. Using custom software also allows you to have increased scalability; you can add users or build more interfaces without incurring charges because you own the software. Custom built software also allows you to have direct control over any changes that need to be made in the software, and you can rest assured that those changes will be in your company’s best interest because you’ll be working directly with the company building your software to your specifications.
Having custom built software means that everything is exactly how you want it. Unlike with SaaS products, when you’re in the process of building your software, you get to choose what features are included and what features you don’t need. All features will be designed to work together to produce the results you need. When the design team builds your software, they keep your business model in mind. You will never have to compromise your business model to fit the software you’re using, which isn’t the case when using SaaS products that are liable to change in ways that hurt your business. Every part of custom built software is designed to meet a specific need you want to address.
As the term custom built software implies, this software is built for your exclusive use. You get to pick what reports the software delivers so that you can pick what metrics you use to measure company success. If needed, it is also very simple to use third party apps to gather more metrics because you own the software. The design team knows your company by the time they’ve finished building your software, which means that they will know exactly what type of training is necessary to make your team successful when using your custom built software. This personal relationship also means that if you ever need customer support in the future, the wait time for help will decrease dramatically when compared with SaaS options. And because no one else is using your software, you stand out from your competition because your software is unique to you.
SaaS solutions might work in some situations, but if you want control over your company’s software options, want a solution or feature that’s not readily available in off-the-shelf products, or want a product that’s been designed specifically for your company, custom built software is the better choice in the long run. There may be more upfront costs when using custom built software, but those costs are worth it. Contact SolutionStream to figure out how custom built software can benefit your company.