Custom vs Off-the-shelf Mobile Solutions

For many small to mid-sized businesses searching for mobile solution implementation, one of the major decisions is the decision between choosing a custom solution tailored to your company’s processes, or a general off-the-shelf product. There are pros and cons in going either direction. Typically custom solution development is a more involved process, requiring more time and investment and may require ongoing support. Off-the-shelf or out-of-the-box solutions are usually cheaper upfront, but then require customizations to fit certain integrations and often lack some of the features available with custom solutions. We will take a more detailed look at both of these options to help you decide which direction is best for you and your company.
Custom Solutions
Custom mobile solutions are specialized products developed from scratch or from a base product directly to the precise needs of a company. This can include specific workflow requirements, data integration points, branding standards, and more which allows for a fully seamless and unique mobile experience integrated with your business operations and ERP.
With a custom solution, you can control UI and graphical elements such as your logo, colors, navigation menu, and buttons to reflect your brand identity as well as specific placement of things for the ease of your team. Finally, in the instance your company grows or changes its processes, a custom app maintains flexibility to evolve with your changing needs, albeit costs and time needed to develop and implement those changes.
  • Completely tailored to your unique processes - a custom solution allows you to map out every detail of your sales workflows and data integrations precisely.
  • Branded to your company standards - With custom work, you control UI elements like your logo, colors and navigation to fully reflect your brand identity.
  • Futureproofed flexibility - Because it's built specifically for your needs now and future growth plans, a custom app maintains flexibility to evolve with changing requirements.
  • High upfront costs and lengthy timelines - Expect to pay $100K+ and wait 6-12 months typically for full custom development.
  • Ongoing maintenance and support which can lead to technical debt accumulation - Over time, technical debt from changing business needs and software environments makes custom solutions increasingly difficult to maintain cost-effectively.
  • Lacks scalability - A solution custom-made for your individual processes does not easily scale up to support broader salesforce growth or new market expansions.
In summary, while custom gives you total control and futureproofing, pre-packaged alternatives offer faster deployment, lower costs and scalability - at the expense of some process customization. Consider your timelines, budgets and long-term goals.
Off-the-Shelf Solutions
On the other hand, off-the-shelf, pre-built, or out of the box mobile apps offer a faster deployment time at a fraction of the cost, often priced per user. With these pre-built solutions, a company can be up and running in just weeks or a few months compared to 4-8 months on average for custom development. Vendors also typically handle ongoing support and upgrades, eliminating the need for internal IT maintenance teams to manage it themselves.
However, off-the-shelf apps inherently require some flexibility because they can’t mimic the workflow as well as standardized solutions. Existing systems may also require vendor integration alignment. Ultimately, custom solutions are best suited for organizations that do not require features that require complex data, sophisticated workflows or industry-specific nuances Off-the-shelf apps are suitable for smaller companies to mid-range with travel needs in areas such as field service, sales or warehouse logistics
  • Fast deployment - Pre-built apps can go live within weeks versus months for custom solutions.
  • Lower cost - No custom dev fees. Often subscription-based pricing scales with your needs.
  • Less IT maintenance - Vendor supports backend infrastructure, updates, 24/7 support.
  • Scalable architecture - Platforms can scale from small to enterprise-wide deployments.
  • Less customization - Can't fully tailor every UI element, data mapping or process to your unique operations.
  • Dependency on vendor - Reliance on 3rd party platform. Risks if they change strategy, pricing, get acquired, go out of business.
  • Limitations discovered late - Not until live do you find areas that don't perfectly address your specialized needs.
  • Steep learning curve - Bandwidth required internally to learn new platform interface, configs, integrations.
At Dynamics Mobile, our products strike an optimal balance to fit most use cases. Through an intuitive configuration interface, each pre-built app can be tailored to fit your specific integration requirements, data mappings, menu structure, and look-and-feel elements. Then our seamless integration with Microsoft Dynamics ERPs allows for smooth dynamic workflows and sharing of data on the road and to the office. And with round-the-clock support, new updates keep your mobile deployment optimized for years to come - all at a monthly subscription rate which varies based on number of users not including implementation and deployment costs as well as support costs. In short, if you want to make advanced user-friendly changes, try out Dynamics Mobile and ask us for a demo!