Some people buy their suits off the rack and have a tailor make adjustments for a better fit. Those that believe 'the suit makes the man' visit the tailor first and have the suit designed around them for the absolute best fit. Do you view your software and application purchases like this? In order to achieve the best possible outcomes for your IT expenditures in today's enterprise software landscape, you should. There is a large difference between customizable and custom-built, and that difference is the difference between your needs and your vendor's.
Customizable, pre-built software packages abound in today's marketplace. Unfortunately, by design they can only go so far in terms of their adaptability for the specific business model of a unique enterprise. Even with the most customizable system you almost always end up with gaps that need to be filled by extensive customization or worse yet, extension. As the "Mega-Vendors" themselves point out in their "Customize At Your Own Risk!" warnings, extensive customization impedes upgradability and take-up extraordinary amounts of internal IT resources and increase risk. Additionally you are then left with the additional expenses of customization fees, hiring and training complexities, and integration headaches. At the end of the day, you have a solution that was created to maximize the vendor's sales figures and not your competitive advantage.
While simple logic may lead you to believe that a fully customized solution will have a higher TCO than a pre-packaged offering, the fact of the matter is that even with the best pre-packaged offering that allows for customization within the vendor's defined parameters, one would still have to:
- License the software most likely per server core or per user account basis.
- Purchase a support contract for the software, usually about 40% - 80% of the licensing cost.
- Hire an integrator or expand in-house resources to custom integrate the software, costing another 80% - 150% of the licensing costs.
- Hire a third party management firm or use scarce and finite in-house IT resources to manage the system.
- Go through the entire process again each time a new version of the software is released
- Hope that the customization you receive will actually solve your business issues and be enough over time for your always-changing business needs.
Any experienced CIO or business unit executive will know that pre-packaged software licensing, integration and management costs can quickly run into the millions. Our loyal clients know that with our Custom - Software as a Service approach we have already saved them millions of dollars while still providing a superior level service and expediency by building solutions that fit their business without subsidizing irrelevant, unused feature sets. Over the past 10 years we have built our organizational structure to maximize the benefits of both on and off-shore development while striving to continuously improve our processes and pass on those new efficiencies and cost savings directly to our customers.