If bespoke software is built to meet the exact specifications of the client, it is guaranteed to always out-perform off-the-shelf software since it meets and only meets the specific need that it was actually designed for. This eliminates unnecessary processing and functionality, which combined tend to add unnecessary workload and complications thus leading to business process overhead.
The key issues that are typically associated with bespoke software may include a loss of expertise on the platform and neglect, but it is easy to address both of these by properly planned and built bespoke software development that evolves with the business’ changing needs allowing you to work towards your own roadmap of development changes.
Advantages of Bespoke Software
– You own the development roadmap and are in charge of the development path and pace.
– It is designed to work how you work, which makes it easy to use and efficient.
– Applications are built to meet your team’s needs, which aids motivation and morale.
– Software can be built to tie in with other business systems right from the architecture stage.
– Reduced administration overhead and increased productivity through the automation of repetitive tasks unique to your workflow.
– Increased efficiency through alignment to your workflow and processes thus minimizing unnecessary business process change.
– Software that’s bespoke to your business distinguishes you from the competition, building or maintaining your competitive advantage.
Disadvantages of Bespoke Software
– Off-the-shelf software solutions can have useful features that you may not have considered and would be beneficial for your team.
– Initial time for implementation can, if not properly planned and executed, be higher than buying an off-the-shelf solution.
– Upfront investment can be higher, but the total cost of ownership is lower in many cases.
– It can sometimes be challenging to get stakeholders to agree on the roadmap.
– There’s a time cost to the business in the planning and delivery of a bespoke project.
– Maintenance of the software afterwards can cost more than an off the shelf solution.
Bespoke or Off-the-Shelf?
Off-the-shelf software is designed for a wide range of businesses that all have different processes, needs, systems, and end customers. Off-the-shelf solutions are all about picking which compromises are most palatable for both you and your business.
It is much like deciding whether to buy or hire a dinner suit. You must compromise on a variety of factors, which include fabric, style, fit, cut, and design elements. If a bespoke suit is made for you, it is possible to ensure that every detail is to your liking and the fit will complement the shape of your body in the best way the tailor can.
In the example above, you are essentially paying for a suit that should last you many years and you will break even on your investment vs, hiring over the lifetime of the suit.
Just like is the case with hiring a suit, there are usually recurring costs associated with off-the shelf software and while this might not be very expensive on a monthly basis, the total cost of ownership over a period of 5 years can be far greater than the cost to have it built bespoke from the outset.
While off-the-shelf software has its advantages, it is always important to consider whether bespoke software will end up being the better option for your business. If you’re considering your next bespoke software project, contact us, we would love to hear from you.