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Why customised software isn’t always the answer: Aged Care providers reap the benefits of an off-the-shelf solution


The Aged Care industry has been hit with a double whammy in talent shortages, with both healthcare workers and software developers now ranked as two of the most in-demand jobs in Australia.  Fortunately in the case of the latter, there is little impact on the ability for Aged Care providers to still find a solution that can meet their evolving needs. 

Commercial, off-the shelf software solutions (otherwise known as COTS) are what many providers are now turning to in lieu of the expense and other headaches associated with customised software solutions. 

That’s because COTS can target both broad markets (in the case of an ERP) or industry-specific needs.  While many providers may believe their business is unique to other industry providers and have historically made many customisations in their software choices, once their needs are unpacked, they often find that COTS solutions like AlayaCare meet most if not all of the business’s needs. 

While custom software might have higher initial costs, providers often incorrectly assume that they will have lower operating costs, particularly if in-house developers are used. Yet a real and increasing problem for organisations who have gone down the customisation track are the loss of those in-house developers, who are lured away to higher paid employment. As a result, organisations end up experiencing huge gaps in their software workflows and documentation. 

COTS software on the other hand is readily available and easily implemented with a predictable cost structure. It also eliminates internal silos that customised workflows can often cause  – indeed, manual, labour intensive work-arounds legacy scripting to extract data between business units are not uncommon. Furthermore, solutions are often either over or under engineered, which flow onto clunky workflows. This prevents any future agility when new regulatory requirements are introduced.  

The evolution of the care economy means making changes that keep up with business needs, regulatory compliance and customer expectations is becoming increasingly challenging.  COTS can offer a relatively predictable and scalable solution that keeps up with the stakeholder mix. 



A main differentiator for us, amidst a very competitive market, is that we always provide consistent care and support for our clients. We also needed to keep our costs down, so we needed to find new efficiencies that were sustainable, We believe AlayaCare is the most efficient user-friendly system that is available for an organisation, allowing us to grow our business quickly and efficiently while maintaining excellence in client service and consistency of care. Rolling it out was very straightforward  – It did not require a lot of time, intensive training or skill development for staff.” 
Carol Bain, Director,  Perth Care & Companion Company.


Still not sure if a COTS solution is right for you? Here are some key considerations:  

  • What is the COTS sweet spot – what are its core competencies?
  • How configurable is the app? 
  • How easily can COTS be integrated into future software applications you might be considering?
  • How easily can the COTS integrate with new or existing systems within your organisation?
  • What functionality is a deal breaker in the COTS offering?  
  • How are software vendors investing in their developers? What’s their strategy for attracting and keeping them? 
  • How will COTS keep up with regulatory changes now and into the future?  What is the track record for doing so? 
  • How much visibility does the software vendor give you into future enhancements?
  • How often does the software vendor consult their customers or industry groups on future industry trends? 
  • What’s the vendor’s track record on adapting and evolving as industry needs change?
  • Does the software focus more on UX or CX? In Aged Care, the UX ultimately will influence the CX (for example, if support workers spend less time report writing, then they are freed up to spend more face-to-face time with clients.)  

No matter if your final choice comes down to either COTS or customisation, the key to your success lies in workflow designs that are both scalable and agile to meet business needs now and into the next decade.   

To learn more about how our COTS solution can quickly and effectively grow your business, contact AlayaCare.

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