IT strategies are known to evolve at a rapid pace, and over the years we’ve witnessed a handful of megatrends. Once there were mainly centralized mainframes, where every application including bookkeeping and payroll were customized and home-grown. Then there were distributed Windows-based client-server systems running mostly commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software with only industry-specific business process logic written in-house. Next we saw highly virtualized servers running multiple OSs, and finally we landed in the current era of the Cloud, mobility, and consumerization – where software and infrastructure can be offered on a subscription basis “as a service,” and there’s an app for… everything.
Of all the current technology trends, the consumerization of IT has had the greatest impact on the demand for custom IT solutions. Business users now expect IT to be able to rapidly deliver new functionality on demand with built-in support for the broad range of client devices including PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets – right from the outset. It’s no surprise then that demand for custom solutions is on the rise. A recent IDG Research survey of IT leaders conducted for WEI found that 38 percent of companies have a problem that an off-the-shelf solution can’t solve.
Often, the need for customized IT requires hardware as well as software customization, whether to integrate with legacy applications or support growth and scalability demands. For businesses starting from scratch, utilizing cloud infrastructure can eliminate the need for up-front capital investments and hardware maintenance woes, enabling a focus on the custom business logic that will differentiate them in the marketplace. Other businesses with existing infrastructure investments may take a hybrid approach or elect to bring on-premise gear up to date to support new virtualization, security, and mobility features not available in older systems.
What is the cost of custom IT solutions compared to commercial off-the-shelf solutions? First, a business must consider what trade-offs it makes by choosing COTS solutions. Shoehorning a software product that isn’t a perfect fit often requires additional manual processes that can become bottlenecks and waste employee time, so a lower up-front investment often still yields a higher total cost of ownership. And thanks to the desire to integrate existing databases and processes with new analytics, social media, and mobile applications, off-the-shelf solutions increasingly just don’t work for many organizations.
Whether your business is just developing an IT strategy, is struggling with obsolete infrastructure that doesn’t meet business demands, or is looking for ways to turn IT from a cost center to a value center, adopting a customized IT approach will help ensure users have the right solutions and that business is getting the best return on its IT investment.
WEI helps businesses of all size build custom solutions for singular business challenges. We are a technology solutions provider that is passionate about solving problems and helping drive your desired business outcomes. WEI believes in challenging the status quo and thinking differently to provide the most innovative solutions for customers. Whether you need a little input or a lot of guidance, our team can tailor a plan to meet your needs.
Survey results from IT Directors, CIOs and CTOs revealed that 38% of respondents have a challenge that an “off-the-shelf” solution can’t solve. Check out this research from IDG that explores the top IT priorities and how they are driving the need for custom IT solutions. Download the white paper, “IT Operations Evolution: IT Priorities Shift Toward Customized Solutions.”