When it comes to digitizing business processes, businesses are usually presented with two options: choose a packaged cloud-based SaaS software solution or build your own custom software.
While the multitude of SaaS applications and features provide an easy and quick way to get your tech solution moving, it may not always be the right choice for your business. Choosing between these two options requires a good understanding of your actual business needs, features and functionalities needed. These requirements should be drafted for the present but also the long-term future needs.
Let’s compare SaaS solutions and custom software development so that you can see for yourself which is the right choice for you.
SaaS vs Custom software development
SaaS stands for Software as a Service and is a type of cloud-based software solution that anyone can use under a subscription pricing model. Under the SaaS delivery model, cloud vendors like AWS, Azure, and more host applications and the required resources such as databases, hardware, and the code make up the application. The users access the application via a web browser and require an internet connection in order to connect to the cloud’s services.
Custom software development, also known as enterprise software, is the more traditional approach followed by businesses to develop their own software solution exclusively for their specific purpose. As the name implies, it involves highly tailored development, which is more focused on the business's specific needs unlike the commercial off-the-shelf solutions provided by a SaaS package.
It enables organizations to create unique and innovative features for their business and provides better opportunities for greater productivity and optimization.
Here are some of the fundamental differences between these two types of software solutions:
SaaS offerings usually have very little to no upfront charges and can be availed using pay as you use pricing models.
Custom software requires a good amount of initial investment but can be more profitable in the long run.
SaaS products come as ready-made commercial solutions with generic features that are meant for a mass audience. They usually comprise of standard features that you’d expect from a software solution and could come at different premium levels if you require advanced features.
Custom software is highly tailored to the needs of the business and will have all the features the company needs. It’s targeted towards a specific user or organization.
Updates and maintenance
With SaaS products, the update and maintenance tasks are all taken care of by the cloud vendor and organizations have little control over the software product releases and updates.
In the case of custom software development, companies can request a change or update in features as and when required as long as their budget allows for it. As a result, you get better adaptability and control over your software development.
With SaaS, your application will be hosted on the cloud service platform and you’ll need a stable internet connection at all times to use your software.
Enterprise software can be hosted in on-premise servers, individual systems, and your own company network meaning it can be used even when you’re offline. You don't have to move your data to the cloud platform.
Benefits of custom software development
While packaged SaaS solutions are an easy way to access software solutions, they’re not as powerful as custom software. SaaS solutions offer limited functionality that a growing business can use in their initial stages, given the low upfront costs and scalable features. But in the long run, companies would want a software solution that doesn’t just focus on core functionalities. Once the business is booming, you would need more services and specialized features to help you maximize your productivity and efficiency.
There are many reasons why custom software development is regarded as the ultimate software solution for businesses. Here are some of them:
Suits your specific needs perfectly
Custom software is developed to fit your exact requirements which can make it very easy to replicate your existing business processes. In addition, the digital transition could require little training and can be readily adopted which can better productivity.
Easy to scale
When you build custom software, it requires no extra effort in order to integrate it with your business and scale it as your business grows. With the right planning, your development team can deliver updates whenever you need them to.
Cost savings in the long term
While SaaS products may seem cheaper initially, having to pay the subscription charges for a long time can prove to be quite costly. Whereas personalized software is less expensive over time as there will be no recurring costs involved. You’re also bound to get a better return on investment with custom software.
You’re the owner and can maintain the software for as long as you need to
SaaS products are mass production products meant for generic use meaning they may not be malleable enough to adapt to your specific business needs. At the end of the day, you don’t own the product and have little control over the optimizations and customization you can make to help your business get an edge over your competitors.
With custom software, ultimately, you’re the owner and can control your software solution and use it for as long as you want to.
You have better control of how your data is used and don’t need to rely on the cloud vendor to provide you with the updates you may need.
SaaS applications are inherently less secure compared to custom software products. While cloud vendors do assure robust security mechanisms, moving your data to external servers nevertheless puts it at risk of external security threats. Custom software is a harder target for hackers and provides a better advantage in terms of security.
As you can see, custom software development provides you with better flexibility, features, and customization options. However, this doesn’t mean that SaaS solutions are never the right fit. Depending on your requirements, you might want to explore both options. For instance, Vault ERP, a cloud-based ERP by Rare Crew, although a SaaS solution can improve your productivity and efficiency. Contact us today to learn more about custom software development and SaaS, and how it can be the right fit for your business.