[Blog Article] Of course, software is not just software. Of course, there are serious differences between standard software and individual development: long vs. short introduction periods, high vs. low price. In short: tailor-made vs. “eating what comes on the table”.
The advantages and disadvantages of these two options are typical subjects of discussions in all relevant blogs magazines. Especially when it comes to price, the discussion often only targets the following issues: What price difference should I accept as a customer? For which type of software should I accept the higher price of an individual solution? However, a very crucial question usually is neglected, although it is just as important for software customers as it is for software manufacturers: where do these large price differences between standard software and individual solutions actually come from? Why does a highly complex and famous software such as Microsoft Excel only costs $ 109.99 (from: Microsoft website), whereas a software programmed individually for our company costs several tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of euros?
It is obvious that above all, the sales figures play a big role here. While Microsoft sells its software ten million times without adapting it to the individual needs of customers, an individual software is only sold once. And although has to cover all of its costs. Especially because it usually cannot be sold a second time.
But what if it could? What if a software developed individually for your company could also be used by other companies – even though it is actually adapted to your processes? And tailored to our requirements? Just then, a kind of software production appears, more and more frequent: so-called “co-innovation projects” or “conceptual projects”. They offer a good compromise between individual development and standard software.
“Other companies must have the same or at least similar requirements as we do?”
A software manufacturer and several customers develop the scope and content of a software in a joint project, which then meets the requirements of all project participants. Thus, customers can bring their individual needs before developing the solution and influence the development of the software. The software manufacturer, in turn, can distribute the costs of manufacturing to multiple customers and in the best case is later able to sell the software to other customers. This makes it much cheaper. To do that, however, the software must be adaptable to individual needs at certain points. These points become obvious to all parties involved in the co-innovation project: Customer A wants the process to be to the right way around, Customer B and C would prefer it to the left. Both options have to be possible to realize in the so-called customizing – that means in the individual adjustment after installation. A win-win situation for all concerned.
Since all project participants also benefit from the experience of others in the respective topic, this aspect is also very important. A solution created in a conceptual project always represents a best practice. It combines all the best methods and processes of all the participants.
When asked “standard solution or individual development?” a new answer emerges: Combination! Why not combine the benefits of both? The lower price of a standard solution in combination with features adapted to your requirements – just like an individual solution. It will be interesting to see where this trend will lead us, as more and more customers recognize the advantage of already participating in the technical conception of “their” software and getting into the process of defining content earlier and earlier.