SaaS Versus Custom Development

SaaS Versus Custom Development

When you’re running a business it can be challenging to balance the immediate needs of your business with what you think will be needed further down the line as you grow. Without knowing exactly what your needs will be in the future, how do you know if it’s better for your business to build a custom software application or invested in Software as a Service (SaaS)? Creating your own software isn’t easy, but there are some very attractive elements that make it an option worth researching.

If you’re still trying to decide between build or buy the software that you need for your business we can help! Here are 6 reasons why it may be better for your company to go with an existing SaaS service rather than taking the time to build out your own platform.

Time to Implement

A custom build may allow you to create the exact piece of software that you need, but how long will it take to develop? Taking on a large task like a custom build typically requires input and signoff from multiple people just to get started. And once the build is underway it will take time to get the code exactly right, make tweaks, fix bugs, and deliver a solid piece of software. This may be time you don’t have, as data is going unused while you wait.

SaaS on the other hand, is ready to install as soon as you commit to the purchase. If the software is cloud hosted all you’ll need is a log in to get started. If it’s a locally hosted piece of software there may be a slight delay due to download and install times, but it’s minimal compares to the time it would take to build and entire application from scratch.

Easy Integrations with Other Applications

A custom build can be great for your company as you can set every little detail exactly the way you want it so that it fits perfectly into your workflow. But when it comes to connecting to other applications, custom software may stumble. Most applications require an API to set up in order to connect, and you’ll need to configure each one separately, which can take quite a bit of time to get working properly.

With the SaaS option, connections to the most popular applications for your field are likely to be included directly out of the box. Connection is easily, usually done via your login for each individual app, and you’ll be up and running, able to share information back and forth within minutes. And if there’s not an integration or your favorite app included right away? It’s likely to show up down the line as a new option.

Customization

When it comes to customization, you’ll have the greatest flexibility with a custom build. Every element from beginning to end can be crafted in a way that fits your business’s unique data needs. This allows you to create the perfect workflow for your employees based on their job responsibilities, making it easier for them to get and share the information they need.

In contract, the SaaS option may have some customization options available, but they will never reach the same level as a custom build. You are limited to the elements the vendor lets you adjust, while others have to be left as is. The workflow you are able to create may be completely functional, but it will probably never be perfect.

Upgrades Made Easy

With custom builds, you will be responsible for maintaining and scaling the software as you grow. For every new application you start using, you’ll have to figure out a new way to connect, and for every new idea you implement you’ll need to figure out a new way to track and store the data you pull in. The build can become bloated fast, and it can be difficult to maintain let alone upgrade.

If you don’t want to worry about the software being able to keep up with your usage and growth, a SaaS option is a good bet. The vendor is responsible for upgrading and maintaining. Typically incremental updates, or point releases, for the version you own are typically free, while version changes may come with an additional cost to purchase, depending on the vendor.

Budget and Cost Considerations

Time is money and a custom build option can get pricey fast. For a custom creation you’ll need to hire someone to build it (either in-house or freelance) and you may end up having to buy new equipment, servers, or web hosting space to house your application. Those costs can add up quickly and eat through your budget faster than you realize.

In contrast, a SaaS option can be significantly cheaper with all of the costs laid out upfront. You know exactly how much it will cost you monthly or annually to use the software you’ve selected and you can even factor in paid upgrades in certain intervals if the software requires them. This makes it easier on your budget in the long run, with fewer surprises likely to pop up.

Data Security

When it comes to your data you can never be too secure. With your custom build the data is usually stored on a local server and not the cloud. And depending on the industry you are in there may be strict standards you are required to maintain for privacy reasons. However, if regular updates to the security measures aren’t put into place it could mean that your server is vulnerable to attack and your secure information could now be accessible to outside parties.

Security is an important feature for most SaaS vendors; every company is competing to be the most secure and the least likely to get hit by a data breach. This means that the software you purchase is always updated with state of the art data security to keep your information safe. It might not be bullet proof, but it’s incredibly reliable.

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