Is OOTB Retail Software the Right fit for you?
Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Is OOTB Retail Software the Right Fit for You?

In the world of retail, the question of custom code vs OOTB retail software comes up quite often. Custom code is software developed for an application for one specific organization. OOTB stands for Out-of-the-Box software. OOTB is a system designed to be used by many different organizations, with little customization. Here ease of configuration is the key.

Is Custom Software For Me? 

A Big difference between custom code vs OOTB are the features you get immediately.

There are so many things to consider when choosing a retail software. After speaking with many prospects, it is a surprise that some retailers still look to custom coding. Yes, the attraction is that the software was specifically designed for your firm. It exactly meets your current business processes and workflows. The coders will make the software do exactly what you want it to do, right now. By hiring your own coders, it may even seem like a good deal. You COULD get a custom solution at a price that appears to avoid many high upfront costs. Or will it?

No Brainer: Do Your Research

If you are serious about your decision, download and read the brief on Build or Buy. Choosing between Custom Code vs OOTB is extremely important. This brief reviews the research on the build vs buy decision. Frankly, it points out the perils of building mission-critical systems if you are not a development company. Here, it is important to make a sound and grounded decision. It simply can’t be up to the toss of a coin. Equally, it’s not about whether you have a team that can do this type of work. That seldom plays well on further scrutiny in the boardroom.

Comparing Custom Code vs OOTB Retail Software 

Today, software like Order Management Systems (OMS) is fairly standard. An off the shelf, or boxed solution will support 80%-90% of a retailers’ needs. They are designed to match your business requirements. They should have been designed with best practices built-in. All the features and functions needed by a retailer are ready to go, with the right package. This in stark contrast to having to build your own system.

Things to consider in your comparison:

  • Features & Functionality
  • Time to Develop and Implement
  • Flexibility
  • Costs
  • Quality Assurance
  • Compliance
  • Long-Term Competitive Edge

Features and Functions Gears - Finding the right retail software fit for your company

A big difference between custom code vs OOTB are the features & functions you get immediately. There is no waiting with an OOTB solution. Some systems are more robust and feature rich than others. What you need to consider here is whether it is a good fit for your needs. You may not immediately need all the features of a powerful system like that of OrderDynamics. However, it is reassuring to know that it is available to your future adoption. When considering features and functions, consider your current and future business requirements.

Time to Develop and Implement

Need to Improve Your Order Accuracy? Here's How Browns Shoes Did It. Get the Case Study.I won’t lie. Implementing and integrating some out of the box systems can be time-consuming. That’s the case whether it is sales software solutions, a POS system, or an OMS / DOM. It all depends on the other systems to which the solution must integrate. As well, in retail, every merchant has a unique set of tools. For most DOM systems (distributed order management), it typically takes 3 – 6 months for an integration. This is for the retailer with 20 – 1000+ stores.

Keep in mind that implementation times are improving. Most recently, OrderDynamics deployed two customers in under 2 months. These are often special cases where the retailer is well prepared. If a vendor tells you they can do substantially better, keep a VERY close eye on the details. What did they miss, or failed to tell you?

Comparing custom code vs OOTB, you must consider the development cycle. Most order and inventory management systems on the market are software platform solutions. That means the platform is deployed first. Only after that is an order management system coded on the platform. Here a systems integrator will architect and hard code the solution for you. Make sure to consider the entire project, end to end for your comparisons.

If you are attempting to develop an entire OMS from the ground up – timing is highly variable. Scope creep, new business demands, and non-specialist IT staff are all issues to consider. For these projects, you can safely count on much longer development cycles.

Flexibility

Flexibility is a key strength of out of the box software. Considering custom code vs OOTB; OOTB wins on flexibility. Since out of the box systems are designed for many customers they must flex to meet many needs.

Look for ease of configurability among the key features. System configuration is something a systems admin can handle. It will let them adjust and run minor customizations. These done to meet your business process needs. Look for No Coding solutions.

Unfortunately, custom coded solutions leave retailers with fixed systems. Yes, they can be adjusted. But that’s always done by a consultant or coder, with all the associated costs.

Cost

Key features of a DOM / OMS are similar across retailers. As such, you will find the vast majority of your needs in off the shelf software. This without writing a single line of code. If your system is cloud based (SaaS), then it also includes continual enhancements at no added charge.

Custom built software will give you fewer features (bells and whistles). Yet, it will be more expensive. That’s the case because the coding is all unique to your business. Not only will you have the cost of the platform, but you will have the cost of the system coding (OMS). Then add system maintenance, upgrades, updates, recoding, adjustments, and improvements. Do you want to afford always reaching out to a coding consultant for these needs? Hard-coding costs, to consider.

Quality Assurance

OOTB systems have many more test cases running, improving the overall robustness of these solutions

QA is an often forgotten dimension in the custom code vs OOTB discussion. Yet, this is another key part for mission-critical systems. A fault with custom coding is the lack of thorough QA structures and rigour. All custom coders will run test cases on their system. However, it seldom runs to the depth and rigour level of a professional quality assurance team. QA teams for an OOTB system also have the advantage of many field testing customers. When problems are found in-field, OOTB vendors fix them and release patches or updates. In effect, OOTB systems have many more test cases running, improving the overall robustness of these solutions.

Compliance

Another challenge to consider in the custom code vs OOTB question is compliance. This is particularly important to retailers. Retailers tap into payment gateways. These have compliance requirements. Be it GDPR, SOC II, PCI or others, custom coding puts the onus on the retailer. OOTB systems handle compliance, without the need for full compliance across the retailer’s organization.

Long Term Competitive Edge

Close up of gears - finding the right fitOverall there are many compelling cases for purchasing off the shelf retail management software. For a retailer needing order management technology – there is absolutely no reason to consider the build option. Comparing custom code vs OOTB in DOM technology, it is clear across the various criteria that OOTB is the winning option.

Long term, it is about choosing retail software solutions that will adapt to your retail business. It is also about choosing the solution that evolves to keep your company at the competitive edge. Retail is often referred to as a hypercompetitive business. The only way to succeed is to focus on your differentiators. Focus on your competitive edge. Then outsource the non-core parts to specialists. When you do this with your order management technology – think OOTB as your best option.

For a balanced discussion about a system to meet your needs, call us. Complete the contact us form, and we will be pleased to discuss OOTB order management and your retail needs. Alternatively, see a demo of the world leading out-of-the-box DOM technology.

 

Author: 

Charles Dimov, VP of Marketing at OrderDynamics

Charles Dimov is VP of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 23 years experience in Marketing, Sales and Management across various IT and Technology businesses. Previous roles include Chief of Staff, Director Product Marketing, and Director Sales. Charles has held roles in brand name firms like IBM, Ericsson, HP, ADP, and OrderDynamics.
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