Blog >

3Q3M — Software Products vs. Custom Software with Ken Auer — Episode 2

Theo Luciano


April 06, 2021

In the second episode of our video series 3 Questions in 3 Minutes (or 3Q3M), RoleModel Software’s marketing director, Jamey Meeker, sits down with founder and newly appointed Chief Product Officer Ken Auer to talk about Ken’s CPO role and what it means for the company. Ken is excited to devote more time towards developing RoleModel’s internal technology and leveraged products. He’s hopeful that this will allow small to medium-sized businesses, who may not normally be able to afford true custom software, to achieve the success they’re looking for with a solution that fits their needs while remaining within their budget.

The three questions for this episode center around software products versus custom software.

The first question is “How are software products different from custom software?”

Ken explains that a software product is the result of a lot of research into a particular field, and then a compiling of a set of features that can then be offered to others within that field, with some sort of fee that makes the most sense for the type of solution (monthly, yearly, one-time, volume, etc). For a product, you’re presented with a list of features, you take a little time learning what they do, and then start adapting it to your business. For custom software, you would come in with a vision of what you need your software to do, and it gets built around your requirements. You’ll spend a lot more time and money on a custom software package, but it will usually provide a more personalized and complete solution.

Question number two: “How should one decide between custom software and a software product?”

Ken says that the first thing to do is find out if there’s a product out there that does what you need it to do. A lot of times, you’ll find products that sound good at the surface level, but when you dig deeper, you find many shortcomings. Sometimes a product can also be more costly than what you originally expected, but it’s still almost always going to be cheaper to find an already-built product than building from scratch. Ken encourages the viewer to try the product option first, and if it works, great! But if it doesn’t meet your needs, then you’ll need to search for a reliable and trustworthy software partner. In theory, custom software will do exactly what you need it to do, but Ken suggests a thorough look at the company’s record and make sure they can actually deliver on their promises. In the end, you’re not just getting software, you’re getting a software partner, and you want to make sure you partner with the right people.

The third question is “Can software products be customized?”

Ken acknowledges that most software products have a least some level of customization. You just need to decide if what is provided meets your needs. If it doesn’t you can always go to the product company and ask for the added level of customization, though they rarely will. Besides, if a product isn’t built with customization in mind, it can be a very difficult and frustrating experience. Ken goes on to point out how RoleModel Software’s products, like LightningCAD and Dock Designer, are made to be customized. We expect that customers will want to make tweaks for their own version and we are fully equipped to make those changes.

Watch the full episode here!

Check out the last episode of 3Q3M where Caleb Woods discusses three common misconceptions with custom software and stay tuned for more episodes in the coming days!