Are you confused about the choice of ready-made solution or tailor-made solution for your software application needs? Let me try to bring you out of this situation.

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Don’t worry, it is very common situation, At Rightway we see dilemma with every 2 out of 5 clients. So let me share our experience in resolving this confusion which we gathered through lots of brainstorming sessions with our clients.

The very first step is writing your requirements which you are looking to have in your system in a document, also note down the requirements which are surly coming to your way in short span of time. Once the document is ready, start exploring the available ready-made solutions which are fits closer to your requirements or are of similar nature. While exploring ready-made solutions, not only evaluate it from requirements point of view but also analyze its market place, size of community, developer community, application architecture, ability for third party application integration and extensibility for custom requirement. If 80% of your requirements match with the selected ready-made solution and rest of the criteria are fulfilled, then you can go for the ready-made solution. Opting for ready-made solutions is very common for E-commerce and CMS kind of application requirements or if you have standard CRM system requirement. Joomla, WordPress and Drupal are very popular CMS while X-Cart, Zen Cart , osCommerce and Magento are very famous open source e-commerce solutions which cater all most every e-commerce requirement.

Benefits of ready-made over tailor-made solutions:

Ready-made Solution Tailor-made Solution
Saves Development Time Require longer time to develop.
Inexpensive Expensive
Ready Tested Solution Takes time and cost for quality assurance
Prebuilt Add-ons are readily available No prebuilt add-ons are available

If your requirement is very specific to your business and huge customizations are required in the available ready-made solutions to meet your requirements, then it’s better to go for a tailor-made solution.

Benefits of tailor-made over ready-made solutions:

Ready-made Solution Tailor-made Solution
Very big solutions: Ready-made solutions are made to cater generic set of requirements; hence sometimes they are very huge, complex and include many features than your requirements. Tailor-made solutions are specifically made for your requirements; hence the application size & complexity depends on your needs.
Hard to upgrade: In ready-made solutions, upgrades come very frequently. So sometimes if you have done big customizations, then it becomes hard to upgrade it to latest version. Easy to upgrade as in tailor-made solutions you have the total control over release.
Hard to source developer: Ready-made solutions used to be huge with complex architecture and workflow. So it is not easy for a software company to work in every available ready-made solution. So sometimes it becomes hard to find a company who can work with your chosen ready-made solution and customize it as per your requirements. Easy to find software companies for realization and maintenance.
Hard and expensive to fix specific needs: Sometimes it becomes very hard to meet your specific business requirements in ready-made solution as it requires a lot of exploration and analysis and testing when we customize a ready-made solution. Because they are made for you, if your future requirements are considered while developing basic architecture, it becomes easy and less expensive to fix further requirements in tailor-made solutions.
Dependency: Sometimes It makes you depended on developer and ready-made solution provider to meet your requirements as desired. No third-party dependency, easy to handover work from one developer to another developer too.
Extensive training: Because they are made for generic purpose, their size is huge and it requires extensive training to use ready-made solution. As tailor-made solutions are made for you for your convenience so it’s easy to use and learn them.

This write-up is totally based on our years of experience and I tried honestly to put all points without any bias.  I hope it helps you in your planning & decision making for any software application development requirement.

Please feel free to contact Rightway, if you need any consultancy in the matter, our experts will help you out.

Posted by : Nidhi Agrawal Date : August 21, 2010

Nidhi Agrawal is Director of Engineering at Rightway Solution and Head of Design'N'Buy Web-to-Print Products.

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