Why Go For Turnkey Software Development Projects
To buy or to build? That is the question. Companies in search of software face the dilemma of deciding between a turnkey solution or a custom system.
Maybe the answer is not in the question: they can buy and build. You start with a turnkey foundation and customize it to your needs down the road.
With global I.T. spending skyrocketing to $572 billion in 2022 as businesses take the path of digital transformation, we won’t be short of these build-buy questions thrown up in the air from now to next year, often with an exasperated sigh. But it need not be.
The first step is to understand what turnkey software development is and how it differs from a custom solution. In the following article, we’ll show the pros and cons of both software strategies and why a hybrid solution may be an excellent route to take.
Whatever your preferred approach, a nearshore software development center like Growin can help.
What is Turnkey Software?
A turnkey solution features preset functions designed around general processes and targeted at a broad client base. With setup and operation happening “at the turn of the key,” the solution helps you boost efficiency and productivity fast. Its off-the-shelf features are ready to use and can be deployed quickly to a large user base.
However, as a typical turnkey solution tries to cover all bases with a general system, a company may find a feature it doesn’t need. Still, a solution with at least 80% usability delivers a good ROI.
Turnkey software is usually targeted at general business processes such as sales & marketing, accounting, and logistics. Examples are ERP, CRM, and HRM systems, where processes vary hardly across industries.
On the other hand, a turnkey solution can be designed as a boxed solution for a specific industry. Typical examples include construction management, legal practice management, restaurant management, and property management.
Ideal Businesses for Turnkey Projects
Not all digital transformation goals suit a turnkey software development approach. Given its broad-based, all-in-one goal, turnkey software benefits organizations with constrained budgets or limited technical competence, especially companies without a development team.
Likewise, turnkey projects do well for situations calling for an immediate software rollout or deployment. Companies wanting to focus on their core business other than software development benefit greatly from turnkey software, too.
In all of the above, tapping a nearshoring or outsourcing team like Growin for a turnkey solution allows organizations to leverage its benefits with ease and efficiency. Nearshoring teams dealing with clients of different sizes and types like Growin are experienced with turnkey solutions.
10 Benefits of a Turnkey Solution
With the right goal and context, a business can reap multiple benefits by getting a solution off the shelf.
Rich Feature Set
Businesses often follow predictable processes that can be bundled into a turnkey solution. You see these in industry standards in accounting, project management, sales & marketing, and more. That said, a turnkey solution often comes with a broad feature set.
Of course, having rich features can go both ways. You may end up with a few tools you don’t need or features that you don’t know you need. In most cases, the benefit outweighs the cost considering that the processes you need—and will need—have already been anticipated by the solution.
Instill Best Practices into Your Team
Turnkey features are usually based on the best practices across the board. Someone somewhere may suggest a tool or a bug fix that further enhances the user experience. Not a few turnkey vendors are known to release an upgrade or patch based on crowdsourced feedback.
That means a turnkey solution also introduces your people to doing processes at par with the industry. Take, for example, a ready-built accounting system. In a manner generally accepted in regions worldwide, a turnkey accounting system “forces” your people to follow strict procedures and regulated practices, lending to your financial management greater transparency and compliance.
Low Capital Outlay
Off-the-shelf solutions have development costs, but you don’t take them all in. In a way, you share the costs with the vendor’s other clients. The result is lower upfront costs without paying much for fees associated with development, beta testing, maintenance, and iteration. Many turnkey pricing only charges for licensing, subscription, and setup.
Better Cost Control
Turnkey pricing gives you greater cost control in different ways. The typical payment terms include the ability to cancel a subscription at any time, tiered pricing based on the number of features or users, or a fixed annual price. Think, for instance, how you can juggle the budget for a help desk system to get more agent seats only during the holiday season when the number of customer queries spike.
In short, you know the cost down to the dollar month to month, allowing you to account the solution into the budget with accuracy. The same scenario is nearly impossible with custom projects, which are vulnerable to scope creep and budget overruns.
A turnkey solution is built on a preconfigured and multi-tenant architecture, allowing it to be deployed to different users on-demand and at once. You can have it set up in minutes and implement the system right off the bat.
For instance, you can send quick access to a turnkey ERP to different teams via email. Finance, Marketing, Purchasing, and Operations can start consolidating their documents and activities right after setup.
In a typical turnkey setup, what is installed is just the application layer on the client-side, while the system and middleware are already set up on the vendor’s server-side. A step-by-step installation walks you through configuring the administrative controls, integration with other apps, and networking end-points. The result is reduced time to benefit when using turnkey software.
A Broader User Base
Turnkey solutions also prioritize device compatibility to cover a broader user base. That allows you to deploy the application across iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux ecosystems and devices. When deployed via cloud, a turnkey solution further extends the system’s flexibility by allowing employees to access the application via their mobile phones or laptops.
A turnkey solution often comes with user-friendly features because of two reasons. First, it needs to appeal to a broader user base for more revenues; hence, it must be intuitive even to the least tech-savvy segment. Turnkey software vendors aspire to a simple-to-install solution, easy to navigate and one with a pleasant interface and efficient error reporting, the better to attract more customers.
Second, with a widely distributed user base, a turnkey solution can generate a collective user experience spanning different case scenarios, industry needs, and practices. All these inputs help the vendor to fine-tune the features.
Road Test to Digitization
Companies wanting to implement digitization may be unsure of the road to take. Should they abandon their legacy system or extend its life with new features? Are all departments ready for an organizational-wide rollout, or is it better to scale the digital transformation by teams? Similarly, are all processes prepared for digitization, or should a pilot process be implemented first?
An organization that considers different digitization routes to modernize the business may test the waters first by “practicing” with a turnkey solution. It may sound wasteful to adopt turnkey development for proof-of-concept. Still, the cost is minimal compared with paying for an expensive custom system that falls flat on its face because of a wrong judgment call.
Available Tech Support
A turnkey solution typically comes with tech support via email, phone, or ticket to get you up to speed with the features. Depending on the provider, a support rep may walk you through from setup to integration to customization and upgrading.
The developer may also point you to a self-service portal with an extensive knowledge base or forum for FAQs or case studies. Here, you may access tips on unique cases, basic troubleshooting, and, if the developer permits, even technical documentation for integration, patch fixes, or expansion.
No doubt, bugs, and glitches will happen. But companies without an I.T. team need not feel helpless when they can turn to third-party tech support.
For example, when you work with Growin, you get a team of specialists adept at translating business workflows to technical processes. They are armed with the latest technological know-how and tools and calendar an organized rollout for you.
Software upgrades are necessary for updating security and fixing bugs. They are also a great way to experience new features. This said, you can upgrade a turnkey solution with a click of a button on the user side. You need not wait for an I.T. team to install new software.
The benefits aside, consider the following factors before you choose turnkey software:
- The software should follow your process, not vice-versa
- It should cover your critical processes and significant needs at the least
- It should disclose all fees, for example, for upgrades, additional users, and maintenance
- It should be intuitive to your non-tech staff
- It should have preferences and permissions for flexible administration
- Ultimately, the turnkey solution should meet your business goals
5 Scenarios When Custom Solution Is a Better Fit
Turnkey software isn’t a zero-sum game. There’ll be instances where building a solution from the ground up makes more sense. Here are six scenarios where a custom solution is a better fit.
Your Business Need Is Unique
When the business has unique processes or requirements, it should build a solution from the ground up. Defense contractors following high-level supply chain and manufacturing protocols or institutes dealing with space exploration or vaccine research come to mind.
A custom solution lends itself to an iterative development around your needs, where you can add new features in the future because of shifting business priorities amidst rapid market shifts. Similarly, a company may want a solution aligned with an agile team’s iterative approach to doing things.
Perfecting the Features
Businesses with the drive to develop the best system—and the money—go through perpetual beta to perfect the features. In this case, a custom solution fits them best.
In-House Development Team
An organization filled to the brim with tech talents will have no trouble developing its custom solution. That said, it may prefer to outsource developing its internal systems to give its team more time to focus on the core business. This is how nearshoring providers like Growin can help tech companies grow their markets.
Ensure More Security (in Theory)
In a numbers game, and all things being equal, a system exposed only to your organization has fewer chances of being hacked because it has fewer users. There will be fewer device entry points and fewer breadcrumbs left in the network.
Furthermore, a custom system will be less distributed, significantly limiting its exposure to exploitation by hackers in other parts of the world.
Again this is in theory. An attack can be instigated internally, negating the security advantages above. The same can be said of a negligent employee, for instance, saving confidential details in the cloud.
Customized Turnkey Software Development: The Best of Both Worlds
Many businesses share similar processes with some variations to meet a few unique scenarios. In most cases, your company needs a turnkey system architecture with customizable components.
This hybrid approach can help you start with a turnkey solution and work your way to more custom features fit for your business needs as it grows. This way, you implement the system faster without compromising future business requirements.
Growin, for instance, has teams adept at both turnkey and custom software development. We can work with your legacy systems to integrate turnkey features or deliver a scalable turnkey foundation with features aligned with your processes. Our specialists work in close collaboration with your people to provide you with a structured approach to system security, end-to-end testing, and tech support.
So, which direction should you take: a turnkey, custom, or hybrid approach? To help you decide, map out your business goals, identify your processes, work out a budget, and anticipate your future needs. Only then will the answer be as clear as day.
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