When it comes to choosing the best software for your business, there is no shortage of options. Depending on their industry and needs, companies can select a wide variety of programs and systems from countless developers. Likewise, businesses have a choice between going with out-of-the-box software or unique, custom-developed business applications. Picking the right programs is an important step, so it’s important to understand your options.
What Is Out-of-the-Box Software?
In the context of business systems, “out-of-the-box” is a term used to describe any product that can be purchased in a predetermined, ready-to-use form. This can refer to physical items as well as computer programs. Out-of-the-box products stand in contrast to tools or products that cannot simply be activated as soon as they’re (literally or figuratively) taken out of the box they came in.
Out-of-the-box business software comes in many forms. Some business software is industry-agnostic, meaning that its usability is not limited to any single industry. This may include internal chat platforms, inventory management systems, project management tools, or other commonly used systems. These programs are meant to be widely applicable and appeal to companies in almost any area.
In other cases, business needs may demand software that is more targeted. This could mean selecting out-of-the-box software designed to provide solutions for specific challenges in a particular industry. But if a task or workflow is particularly unique, perfectly suited out-of-the-box tools may not exist yet.
The Importance of Modern Business Software
Like any other tool, the goal of business software is to make it quicker, easier, and simpler to get tasks done. Some organizations and industries have been adopting various forms of business software for decades. Others have been relatively slow to adapt, sticking with “tried-and-true” legacy systems to get things done. This strategy of staying the course with existing workflows may seem like the simplest option, but these systems are often tedious and inefficient when compared to smarter, more capable modern systems.
Data-heavy industries like insurance have benefited significantly from advancements in business technology, especially in the areas of data management and integration. Programs in this niche save time and money by optimizing or automating previously time-consuming tasks. Additionally, these systems eliminate many of the issues that are traditionally associated with data management, such as inconsistency and data silos.
But as useful as business applications can be, not all programs are created equal. The right system can transform companies for the better, so choosing wisely is essential.
Pros of Out-of-the-Box Software
When it comes to conventional, out-of-the-box software, there are a number of common advantages. These can be true for general-purpose programs as well as industry-specific tools that are available out-of-the-box.
Due to the economies of scale, premade, mass-market systems tend to be significantly less expensive.
Another benefit of out-of-the-box software is familiarity. While no two systems are identical, many mass-market programs have well-tested, established ways of working. This makes it relatively easy for employees to learn how to use the system, cutting down on the time and cost associated with training.
Similarly, maintaining widely-adopted systems is often simpler, with common issues and fixes well-documented and readily available.
Cons of Out-of-the-Box Software
While the benefits above are meaningful, there are times when common, out-of-the-box solutions may not be the best choice. While these may not apply to all organizations equally, they are worth considering before choosing a program for your company.
One of the greatest limitations that out-of-the-box software can come up against is the limits of its design. In order for a program to be universally applicable, certain features that you require may not have been integrated into the design. By the same token, they may be bloated with features that don’t apply to your needs or workflow, bogging down your processes.
While most systems are made to work with a variety of common platforms, they may not integrate smoothly with your pre-existing business processes. Unlike a program developed for your system, “plugging in” new tools can present a challenge.
Data security is paramount, especially in industries that handle sensitive information, such as insurance. The more widely adopted a program is, the greater effort hackers put into breaking in. So if the software you’re using is compromised anywhere, your data can be left vulnerable as well.
Out-of-the-Box Software vs. Custom Software
A variety of factors must be considered before deciding whether your company needs a custom-developed business application, one of which is the specificity of your business. Some sectors may already have industry-specific tools available that can be more cost-effective, assuming they’re capable of fulfilling your business’s needs.
When considering which solutions to implement, it can be challenging to weigh each pro and con to make the right decision for your company. Often, speaking with an IT consultant can be the best way to assess which options are best suited to your business. Not only can a consultant help you objectively choose the best programs, but developers can sit down with you to help you understand what your needs are and determine opportunities to streamline workflows and future-proof your business.
Finding a Software Provider
When it comes to creating optimized processes, success often comes down to having the right partners. A company specializing in your industry is often the most prudent choice. After all, a partner with a comprehensive understanding of your business and needs can be far more impactful than jack-of-all-trade developers who only have a surface-level grasp on your requirements.
The right development partner can help you determine the best steps to grow your business, optimize your strategy, streamline workflows, and improve customer interactions. And whether you’re trying to decide which programs can work best for your organization or looking for a partner to develop a custom business app, Populus can help.
Populus offers a range of technology-based solutions that can dramatically improve your day-to-day operations. We have helped insurance providers optimize their processes and automate their financial and operational business processes for years. As leaders in the industry increasingly turn to technology to improve their business processes, it may be time for you to reevaluate if you’re maximizing your resources.
Populus Technology has years of experience providing technology solutions to our partners. We help support their growth by developing custom solutions that meet the unique needs of our partners. To learn more and find out how Populus can help your company, contact our team today to learn more!