Your company is out of business if it is not represented online. Your employees’ effectiveness drops if you do not support them with digital tools or cutting-edge software solutions. Your income is interconnected with the appearance of your business and user-friendliness online.

In the information technology industry, we have two approaches to implementing complex software solutions:

  • Using open-source software solutions or tools,
  • Implementing your custom software solution or tool (by working with a custom software development company or individual software developers and engineers).

There is no right or wrong option between choosing custom software (tailor-made software) and open-source software. Your choice depends on specific characteristic features of your business.

This article will explain the difference between custom software and open-source software solutions. We will clarify the advantages and disadvantages of tailor-made and open-source software solutions and let you decide which is the most suitable for your business.

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What Is Open-Source Software?

Open-source software (OOS) is computer software that is publicly accessible. The copyright holder of the OOS is licensed to grant users the right to enter and use their software solution.

A typical example of open-source software is various business management tools or business technologies, such as:

  •  Task management tools,
  •   E-mail marketing tools,
  •   SMM or social media scheduling tools,
  •  Messaging, project management, and communication tools (for staff and clients),
  •  SEO (search engine optimization) tools,
  •  Tracking and human resource tools,
  •   Accounting tools,
  •  E-signature open software,
  •  Lead generation, as well as document collaboration tools.

It is a never-ending list of numerous open-source software solutions designed for various professionals coming from diverse industries and backgrounds.

Companies prioritize various tools based on their goals, field of operations, and initial services. For example, a small software development company may use free or paid plans of famous marketing tools such as Semrush, Moz, Hubspot, and Hootsuite to manage its marketing campaigns. For some businesses, these open-source solutions are enough. However, most of the time, banks choose custom CRM and accounting systems for their employees.

In other words, open-source software's source code is accessible to the public and can be used and modified at any time without any charges. Software developers and engineers can play around with the code and make iterations and necessary revisions. Therefore, open-source software is open to changes, updates, and evolutions by various professionals worldwide.

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Advantages Of Open-Source Software Solutions

Here are the top reasons companies prefer open-source software solutions over custom software solutions.

Open source software is free, the user is not responsible for its quality

Open-source software is free

Open-source software solutions save money for companies worldwide. If you are just starting up or need a minimum solution, using open-source software is absolutely a resource saver.

Public software solutions give a chance to access the open-source code of a proprietary software package free of charge. You can run business processes and operations without spending money on software licenses.

78% of organizations worldwide run part or all of their operations on open-source software, making open-source software implementation in the global economy a justified and beneficial business plan. This single advantage of open-source software is enough for professionals to work with software vendors globally to release a new tech solution.

Open-source software is constantly improving and evolving

Open-source software solutions are evolving due to public access to their source code and the possibility of adding new solutions. Professionals worldwide add new solutions to their preferred open-source software to better customize their business goals.

For example, lately at CodeRiders custom software development company, one of our full-stack software developers worked on adding a new software solution to the Figma collaborative interface design tool. She added a new plugin to Figma’s plugin library that further eases the work of UI/UX designers. This new plugin translates a ready-designed page into another language without hurting its design. The user only copies the design file and translates it into the preferred language by cloning the whole work. Our dedicated full-stack software developer built this plugin for an Italian company that requested this solution from CodeRiders. The plugin will be released into the Figma plugin community soon.

Open-source software solutions provide quick support and bug fixes

Security is one of the concerns of open-source software solutions. The open-source code owners do their best to provide high security and usually have numerous software developers and even software development and maintenance teams. The software development team or the software vendor responsible for the maintenance and support of the code constantly has an eye on bugs and issues.

In open-source software, your role is "the user"

As a user, you are not the owner of any open-source code. It means you do not need to worry about any bugs appearing in the project, open bug-fixing tasks, or communicate with the software development team responsible for the code. As a user, you need to report the problem through the customer service platform (a CRM system).

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Disadvantages Of Open-Source Software Solutions

These are the most concerning disadvantages of open-source software solutions.

The list of disadvantages of open source software include its distracting futures for some as it is not customized, software security issues, hidden and long-term costs

Open-source software solutions are often difficult to use

As open-source software is for public use, it is less "customized" and more adapted to the medium standards of the target user market. It is common for numerous open-source software solutions to have less user-friendly interfaces or features for diverse companies. Opinions vary. However, if your preferred open-source software solution is hard to set up and use for your employees, this may cause serious employee productivity issues.

Market compatibility is extremely high

We have millions of open-source software solutions in every industry. Building and selling open-source software has become a beneficial business, and if marketed the right way, it can generate income. However, standards get higher with the rising number of similar public software solutions. It is crucial to be unique and offer different functions from other software solutions.

We should also not forget about the technical and functional matters of your open-source software. Your software should have minimal bugs, excellent customer service, fast speed, and various functions. On the flip side, before releasing an open-source software solution, you should know that many types of proprietary hardware need specialized drivers to run open-source programs. These open-source programs are often available only directly from the equipment manufacturer. Sometimes, an open-source driver does not work with specific software or proprietary drivers. Either way, the cost of your project increases.

Liability and security issues

The licensed owner of the open-source software is in complete control of the product and its underlying code. Open-source software licensees contain only a limited warranty and no liability or indemnity protection.

Hidden costs

Most open-source software solutions have free and paid packages. To implement more complex actions, the users have to buy paid packages. Sometimes, open-source software is free up-front but charges money to run. It is a major issue if the user does not intend to pay.

Long-term costs

If you use the paid version of open-source software, you should make a fixed payment each month. On the other hand, custom software implementation is a one-time investment in the case of software outsourcing. The business owner finds a suitable software outsourcing company or software vendor and requests time and money estimates, and pays one time for their custom software development and implementation.

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To sum up, if you know the pros and cons of your business and are certain about your goals, investing in open-source software that offers innovative and creative solutions will be a success. At CodeRiders custom software development company, besides building custom, private software solutions for various companies abroad coming from different industries, we also worked on open-source business projects. Our open-source software solutions resulted in a serious return on investment for our partners.

For example, CodeRiders software developers and engineers worked on the back-end functionality of a CRM and an e-mail marketing system, as well as integrated API applications (Worldsoft Business Suite). Currently, WBS is a leading CRM portal, a SaaS application for business management. You can test the software by creating a free trial account.

What Is Custom Software?

A custom software solution, also known as a closed-source software solution, is only accessible to users who are authorized by the software owner under the licensing agreement. The code of the custom software is revealed only to the software development company or the software developers working on and maintaining this custom software solution. If the client works with a software development company (software vendor), the latter has no right to make changes to the software without the consent of the owner. If the custom software code owner has in-house software developers, these are ordinary employees who complete tasks given by the code owner.

In other words, custom software or tailor-made software is a software solution built, designed, and implemented based on a specific company's or individual's business needs.

Typical examples of custom software solutions include:

These are only a few instances of the kinds of custom software systems and solutions we develop.

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Advantages Of Custom Or Tailor-Made Software Solutions

Although building and implementing custom software solutions is expensive and requires serious investments, including hiring software development teams, it is the only solution in certain situations. Investing in tailor-made software services will cost you less if you encounter all the risks of open-source software solutions. These are the typical advantages of tailor-made software.

The advantages of tailor made software solutions include their simplicity, high level customization, one time payment for custom software development services etc

Custom software is secure

Custom software is more secure as it is a closed-source solution used only by the relevant professionals and the software development team that works on the software. The possibility of hacker attacks and intrusions is minimized if the business uses custom software, while open-source software is generally easier to hack because of its open-source code.

Custom software only includes necessary functions

The creators of open-source software try to customize and adapt it to their general target users' requirements and goals. It is built for various companies worldwide, while custom software is built only for a single company for private use. It is logical that custom software solutions are more comfortable to use as they do not include distracting functions that a specific company does not need.

On the other hand, the UI/UX design of custom software is also completely tailor-made for a specific company's preferences and niche.

Custom software saves a significant amount of time

As custom software is tailored for a specific company and its requirements, it is easier and more convenient to use. It increases work quality, speed, and productivity.

Custom software is innovative

Although the owners of open-source software also upgrade and update their software solutions and functions, the software is still generalized for public use. On the other hand, in tailor-made software solutions, private users search for cutting-edge strategies and solutions in the market and instruct their software outsourcing team to implement innovations.

Custom software is flexible in upgrades and changes based on your business growth

If the business owner needs to add specific functions or make changes to their custom software, it is easy, fast, and affordable. The custom software owner is the one who controls and has access to the code.

Custom software offers maintenance and support

It is affordable and easy to keep in touch with the software development vendor to add new solutions or fix bugs if the software owner hires a software outsourcing team or dedicated software developers.

Disadvantages Of Custom Software Solutions

The disadvantages of implementing custom software solutions and working with dedicated remote software developers

Custom software may cost more than usual

Anything private or customized is expensive in this world. This "law" does not bypass custom software development either. Custom software development requires a big investment in the beginning, such as using resources to find a qualified software vendor or spending money on hiring individual software developers. The time and money estimates for building and implementing tailor-made software will also be higher. These are important points to consider before investing in custom software development.

On the flip side, you should also pay attention to the hidden costs of open-source software solutions. You should weigh these two options, considering all the potential costs of each, to make a final and beneficial decision.

You will need to fill up technical documentation, SOW, or get involved in the software development lifecycle (SDLC)

To cooperate with a qualified software vendor, you should clearly define your goals and primary expectations for the project. No qualified software vendor will provide time and money estimates to a client who is not clear about their software development needs.

Fortunately, we have various software outsourcing engagement models that support those companies who do not have the final view of their products. Software vendors themselves have technical documentation writers who help clients file SOW documents.

However, even if you do not see the final version of your custom software, you should still have a business plan. It is even more evident if you hire individual software developers and form an in-house technical team. At CodeRiders custom software development company, we have created a white paper about "How to Write a Solid Scope-of-Work/SOW Document" with a real example from the EdTech industry. You can download the document below.

free white paper

how to write a solid scope of work sow

If you invest in custom software, you add more responsibility to your shoulders

If you are the owner and private user of the software, the quality and functionality of your product are your responsibility. Whenever your product faces bugs or issues, you do not report the issue and wait for a solution. You are responsible for working closely with your software vendor or the software developers in charge of the product to fix issues.

In the end, it is better to choose a custom software implementation and find a reliable custom software development company or hire dedicated software developers and engineers if your company's security is important and any lick of information can be fatal. Custom software solutions are also absolutely the right choice for companies that have demanding clients or need software solutions that are not available in open-source software alternatives. A tailor-made software solution is ideal for a business that is unique and streams innovations.

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Finally, both open-source software and custom software are serious investments. If the business carefully examines and assesses the pros and cons of each solution, it will choose the one that best matches its business goals and strategy. In the end, businesses are less competitive if they do not have at least a minimum online presence. Investing in building and selling open-source software, building private software for your business, or using open-source software solutions are all beneficial business moves if done in the right place and at the right time.

For consulting on which model suits your business best, you can schedule a free call with our team at CodeRiders. We will get back to your message within one business day. 




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