The custom vs generic field service software is a common dilemma faced by businesses implementing new field service software. Balancing immediate business needs with long-term growth is both paramount and challenging. Ultimately, it comes down to devoting significant resources to custom software development or leveraging turnkey solutions.
The perennial custom versus generic question continues to haunt field service business in search of a field service software solutions. Generic or Off-the-shelf software is ready-to-use once they are installed on a computer or device. Custom field service software, on the other hand, is developed according to specific requirements and specifications.
There is a huge gap between these two technologies in terms of performance, functionalities, and usability. Each option has its own merits and demerits, and here is a rundown of the same.
- Fully Customized Field Service Software
So, you have clearly defined your business needs, processes, and desired functionality, and compared these to a number of generic or off-the-shelf field service solutions. However, none appear to be a good enough fit for your business. In this case, it may be worthwhile considering a custom development approach. This will allow your business, or the hired software development company, to create a custom piece of software that meets every need; a fully integrated and holistic solution to match your business processes.
According to Forbes, building custom software can unlock a host of benefits. However, companies should only pursue this approach if:
- Customized software can provide a competitive advantage relative to your competitors.
- You are building a large business that can spread the cost of a proprietary system over a large number of clients.
Just like off-the-shelf solutions, there are downsides and risks to custom development. Developing custom software can allow your businesses to scale effectively. However, significant resources must be dedicated to the development, and this can be expensive. Since the software is built to match your business requirements, this increases both project costs and timeline.
Pros & Cons of Fully Customized Field Service Software
- You can start with the core-essentials and add features and functions later at any time
- Solution tailored to match business needs, processes, and security requirements
- Easier to orientate staff to the software, because it follows your business practices and vernacular
- Can be developed using a software language and infrastructure/platform matching your business needs vs. those of a ‘mass market’ nature
- Possible integration with legacy and additional systems
- You own the software
- Possible competitive advantage
- Direct vendor support Unlimited options ultimately provides for an extensible, evolving solution that can stay current with your business
- No obsolescence and investment in updates and enhancements is 100% controlled
- Changes can be made quickly
- Often without any additional licensing fees
- High upfront costs
- Changes and features requests may be billable
- Requires developer sources (with inherited risks)
- Requires developer communication during the software development cycle: requirements, design, development, QA/testing, and training will require business involvement
- No user community to provide self-help (but direct relationship with vendor negates need for this)
2. Generic or Off-the-Shelf or Turnkey Field Service Software
Generic prebuilt apps are much less tailored. They’re marketed to an audience so large, it may impossible to find one that checks every box on your list. They might get close, but they’re broad solutions that attempt to meet the needs of as many service enterprises as possible. Companies such as Repair CRM also offer generic field service apps.
A generic or turnkey field service software solution can be immediately and easily implemented into current business processes. These types of field service solutions are aimed at addressing distinct needs that are often targeted towards specific companies or industries. As such, these solutions are feature-rich however may include functionalities your business does not need.
Generic Field Service softwares can give businesses the necessary boost to perform more efficiently and productively. More specifically, generic software can reduce total project time, create more efficient workflows, and offer ongoing support. This approach to field service software is considered ideal for businesses with:
- Limited budget. The costs associated with building custom software may be a significant reason for businesses to avoid choosing this option. Generic solutions are less expensive and quicker and easier to implement.
- Lack of technical proficiency. If your business does not have a strong software team with the necessary skills to build custom software, it may make sense to choose a turnkey solution.
- Lack of time. Building custom software takes a great deal of time to complete successfully. If time is limited, then a turnkey solution may be a better choice.
Pros & Cons of Generic Field Service Software
- Lower up-front cost
- Feature rich
- May meet most of your business needs with customizable options to refine further
- Customized boxed solution would have less community support and potentially none from the original vendor
- Customization is typically quite a bit more expensive than with a more traditional customized software solution
- Upgrading through the original software company may no longer be possible
- May come with upgrade costs, licensing fees, or per-seat costs
- May be variably out-of-sync with your business vernacular
- May include security or technical solutions that do not conform to internal business guidelines
- May have infrastructure/platform requirements that your business cannot support, or can with additional cost
- Missing features and functions that your business needs may not be possible to add through customization, necessitating additional software or solutions from
Looking for a reliable field service solutions provider?
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