Open Source vs. Custom Software: What’s the Difference?

Operating a business of any size can be both challenging and expensive. There are a variety of decisions that need to be made on a daily basis, employees to manage and customers to assist.

The one tool that keeps a business operating smoothly helping to make the right decisions at precisely the right time is software. From accounting to website management, these seemingly innocuous, but powerful lines of code execute over and over again often communicating with other systems, devices, employees, customers and vendors.

Since many small business owners are unsure of the differences between open source and custom software developed especially for them the former often becomes the software of choice by default. It’s inexpensive and it gets the job done. However, there is one very important trade off that business owners may not be aware of. That is to say that one of the main benefits of open source is its primary drawback: The source code is freely available for anyone to use. In other words, everyone has access to the source code of every open source application your business is running. But as a business, do you really want everyone to have access to the source code for applications that are a fundamental part of your business operation?

Whilst custom software development may appear to be costlier up front, the added benefits of tighter security combined with applications built specifically for a business’s systems, workflow and infrastructure often proves to be a more reliable and affordable solution in the long run. Plus, as the business grows the respective software applications can be easily modified to include additional features and users as necessary. Ensuring that a business doesn’t outgrow their mission-critical applications in the future is an important component in protecting their software investment. Also, having a business relationship with a software development company who truly understands their client’s business provides a higher level of service without having to compromise on maintenance, compatibility and security.

Although there are many outstanding open source software applications, it’s of paramount importance for businesses to invest in software that will streamline operations and improve the bottom line. The future of a business depends on it.

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