Nicholas Langley

SaaS or Modular or Custom?

Our aim is to provide the right custom software solution for our clients. To do that we need to understand when we’re the wrong solution. Here's a  simple guide that we use when engaging with prospects to work out which route they should take.

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)

The landscape of the SaaS market has changed rapidly over the last few years. As a general rule of thumb the SaaS market is aimed at smaller businesses. There are of course anomalies to this, most notably industry specific solutions. The biggest advantage is the speed at which you can get up and running. The biggest draw back is it's configurable NOT customisable, this means you'll have to make some process sacrifices and bend to the software.

Pros

- Fast-to-market solution, for companies who know they have a problem and need a solution now. (1-2 days self-service set up)
- Systemises your processes, which means you'll give your customers a consistent service.
- Usually in-expensive user licenses, sometimes even cheaper if paid yearly.
- Usually no set up fee.
- Can configure the solution within the bounds of what's been developed.

Cons

- You will have to adapt your processes to fit with the solution.
- You may need to invest time and effort into finding work arounds to retrofit your processes.
- You will need to find multiple solutions to cater for the whole business needs, creating data silos.
- Licenses can become pricier per seat the bigger you get.
- Limited customisation
- You're at the mercy of a solution which was designed without any understanding of your business processes, objectives or values

Modular Solution

Modular Solutions have been around for a while and there's a lot of venders out there touting different solutions, each one better than the next. Smaller solutions are normally created by independent software agencies, whereas larger solutions (Microsoft Dynamics-et-al) offer more modules but with higher costs.

Pros

- Fairly quick to market. (Small Solution: 10-40 days consultant set up. Large Solution: 40+ days consultant set up)
- Systemises your processes, which means you'll give your customers a consistent service.
- Some solutions can be customised to fit your processes.
- Some solutions can be customised to provide automation.
- Larger vendors have 24/7 Support.

Cons

- Effectively lease the solution.
- Expensive user licenses
- You will have to adapt your processes to fit with the solution.
- Expensive set up fee.
- You may need to find multiple Solutions to cater for the whole business.

Custom Software

Custom software solutions are designed to be holistically tailored to businesses and to mould around and support their processes. A deep understanding of the business on the part of the software company is vital in order to deliver the most effective solution.

Pros

- Some Software Companies may offer consultancy to make processes more efficient.
- Customised to fit exact business processes.
- Customisation to provide high degrees of automation.
- Larger vendors have 24/7 Support.
- Can be written on the balance sheet as a Long Term Asset under PP&E .
- Can in some cases qualify for R&D Tax Credits.


Cons

- Slow to Market
- Expensive set up fee.
- You're at the mercy of the competency of the Software Developers.
- Custom solutions often require custom support

We hope this simple guide helps you to decipher the right solution for you, but if you have any questions surrounding custom software or how we may be able to help then please get in touch via email - info@langleyfoxall.co.uk or call us on - 01785 220892