A continuation of a series examining certain arguments for buying commercial software an minimally customizing it versus custom-developed software.

Polish and Quality

Typically, vendor-supplied software includes install and configuration wizards and GUIs that are more extensive and more polished than what is developed for in-house software. This is driven by the need for customer to be able to implement the system without in-depth expertise. While there is certainly value in those kinds of features, are they worth the additional cost? They are primarily an example of the kind of additional development done that is not directly attributable to customer business needs. If those features are of value to the business, why doesn’t the in-house development process reflect that value? If the purchased software is perceived as better-tested and more robust than in-house developed software, those cost of those aspects is surely included somewhere in the purchase and support price. Again, if these aspects are valuable enough to enter into the purchase decision, why doesn’t the in-house development reflect this value?