Office 365 Add-Ins: Off-the-Shelf or Custom Build?
Office 365 add-ins are extensions that can improve the performance of Office programs. As more businesses use them every day, it’s important to decide whether to acquire ready-made add-ins or opt for Office 365 development services for customized ones.
This article compares the two options, explaining what they’re good at, where they fall short, and what you should think about when choosing.
Brief Overview of Office 365 Add-Ins
Office 365 add-ins represent extra apps that work together with Office 365 to expand its capabilities. They range from simple tools to more complicated ones that connect with other services to help you get the most out of Office software.
With these extensions, you can automate tasks, access info from different places, team up with your colleagues, and tweak Office applications to fit your workflow.
What Are Off-the-Shelf Office 365 Add-Ins?
Off-the-shelf Office 365 add-ins are pre-made extensions you can buy or download for free from the Office Store or similar places. They’re designed to assist with your everyday tasks, and you can instantly begin using them without the need to make many changes.
Advantages of Off-the-Shelf Solutions
Pre-designed Office 365 extensions offer several convincing advantages for companies that want to work better and faster:
- Price: First of all, ready-made solutions are usually cheaper than custom-made ones because the cost is spread out among many users.
- Quick Deployment: Second, pre-made add-ins are ready to use right away. With just a few clicks, you can install and set them up and then start using new features.
- Reliability and Stability: Popular pre-designed options are tested a lot and have already been used by many people, so you can trust that they work well and won’t cause problems.
- Access to a Wide Range of Features: Off-the-shelf software comes equipped with lots of different features for things like handling emails, working on documents together, managing projects, and sorting out data.
- Support and Updates: Finally, pre-made add-ins get regular updates from their engineers, so you always have the latest features and fixes.
Limitations and Considerations of Off-the-Shelf Add-Ins
Although readily available Office 365 add-ins have many benefits, organizations need to regard these drawbacks when deciding if they’re right for them:
- Limited Customization: While pre-made options have many features, they might not be adjustable enough to match your specific ways of working or special needs.
- Scalability Challenges: Despite the ability to work for lots of users, off-the-shelf extensions can slow down or have problems if your organization grows quickly or starts performing tasks differently.
- Dependency on Third-Party Vendors: When you use ready-made add-ins, you heavily rely on the companies that produce them. So, if they decide to stop supporting your add-in or don’t update it on time, you can run into trouble trying to keep your operations working properly.
- Integration and Compatibility Issues: Off-the-shelf add-ins may not fit all the other programs your organization uses. In case there are compatibility issues, they will refuse to work with your existing applications or older systems.
- Limited Control over Updates and Features: While updates can bring lots of improvements, they can also mess up your routine, cause hardships with other programs, or unexpectedly change settings.
What Are Custom-Built Office 365 Add-Ins
Custom-built Office 365 add-ins are specially made tools created to fit exact business needs or ways of working. Unlike ready-made alternatives, custom-built ones are built from scratch to match each organization’s needs.
Characteristics of Custom-built Add-Ins
Tailor-made solutions are highly flexible and can fit perfectly your existing systems and ways of working. They let organizations automate complex tasks, use their own data sources, and give users an experience that’s just right for them.
Advantages of Custom Office 365 Development
Custom extensions offer several benefits for companies seeking to address specific business requirements and workflows:
- Customization: Custom-built solutions let organizations design add-ins as they see fit. They can customize everything from how it looks to how it works with their own systems and data.
- Greater Control over Features and Functionalities: With custom solutions, organizations are in charge of everything in the development process. They can decide what’s most important, set goals, and determine what the add-in should do based on what they need to achieve.
- Scalability and Future-Proofing: Unlike ready-made solutions that might struggle to keep up as more people use them, bespoke options can be set up to handle more users, data, and new features as time goes on.
- Easy Integration with Existing Systems and Workflows: Custom-built add-ins can fit right in with the programs and ways of working your organization already has. They won’t have trouble working with old systems or other special programs because they’re made to work with them from the start.
Challenges of Custom Office 365 Development
Even though bespoke Office 365 add-ins have many benefits, organizations need to consider potential downsides when choosing custom Office 365 development:
- Higher Initial Costs: Custom development usually means spending more money upfront compared to ready-made solutions.
- Longer Development Time: Creating custom add-ins from the ground up often takes more time than using ready-made solutions, especially if you want something complex or unique.
- Maintenance and Support: When choosing custom Office 365 development services, companies have to control their add-ins and provide support to always keep them up-to-date, which can cost more and require extra time and struggle.
Factors to Consider When Making the Final Decision
If you hesitate and are not quite sure whether to choose ready-made and custom-made Office 365 add-ins, think of the following aspects:
- Time-to-market: Ready-made extensions are normally set up faster, while custom ones take longer to create and put into action.
- Ability to Grow and Expand: Organizations that have special or changing needs might find that custom add-ins can adapt better over time.
- Security and Compliance: Both ready-made and custom add-ins need to follow security and rules, but custom ones give you more control over how data is used and who can access it.
- User Experience and Customization: If organizations want a really personalized experience or specific features, they might choose custom add-ins to match exactly what they need.
Office 365 add-ins are vital instruments for making the most of Office software.
Outlook4Gmail, made by SCAND, is a prime example of a successful custom-built Office 365 add-in. This powerful tool syncs Google Calendar and Contacts with Outlook, so users can access both in one place.
If you want to build your own Office 365 add-in, contact SCAND. Our team of skilled Microsoft developers is dedicated to delivering high-quality solutions to bring your ideas to life.