Off the shelf software is made to suit a wide range of businesses. It helps automate systems by incorporating technological advancements to streamline operations. But there’s a ‘but’. Out of the box solutions inevitably come with compromises. Not every software feature in a product is required by every customer, so it’s fit for purpose can be lacking and its usage can become unnecessarily cumbersome.
It is uncommon for off-the-shelf software to address all the needs and requirements an organisation has. Upgrades and modifications are at the behest of the vendor; users can never know with any certainty what direction the solution will take.
That said, many businesses still prefer relying on off the shelf software. It can be more convenient for smaller businesses, and doesn’t particularly require the hiring of software developers. The ease in accessing this kind of software also means that they’re often the only options businesses even conceive of when they’re trying to think about how they can use digital applications for their benefit.
But bespoke software is crafted precisely to the individual’s needs. By its very definition, “bespoke” software, unlike off the shelf software, is designed and created specifically for what a business requires software to achieve. The business effectively owns the software, and can nuance its relevance to its business by determining the kinds of operational needs the software functions for. Of course, bespoke software development doesn’t necessarily require software developers being employed by the business itself.
In fact, most businesses tend to outsource the process of acquiring bespoke custom software to independent software development companies. These software developers, after designing the bespoke software – be it as a bespoke application to be used by the business’s customers or as a bespoke operational software to be used for employees – completely give over the actual ownership of the software to the clients they design it for.
Here, we review the important benefits bespoke software offers:
What’s better than having something that is exclusively made for you? Bespoke software – like a tailored suit – is custom made to address your particular needs. It is developed according to your specific business requirements.
Software made for a particular business gives full control to the end-user. It also allows further customisation to suit the changing demands of a business. In an ever competitive environment, it gives an edge to a business from those using off-the-shelf software which is based on generic – and often complicated – feature sets. In a way, bespoke application software can also emphasize the branding power of a business, as it conveys to customers its capability in grounding itself in the new digital economy.
The sense of security that bespoke software offers is altogether more. Off-the-shelf software, because of its innate widespread usage, is more prone to security breaches. Hackers generally have greater ease of access leading to a greater sense of data vulnerability as compared to bespoke software.
Bespoke software is more difficult to break into since there is minimal information openly available for exploitation by hackers.
3. Scalability & Flexibility
Flexibility is another key driver for choosing bespoke software. As an organisation’s operational needs change, the ability to adapt and develop the software accordingly is more easily met with a bespoke package.
Along with the expansion of a business, its bespoke software may also require functionality modifications. In such scenarios, unlike the standard off-the-shelf systems, new features can be incorporated into the bespoke one as and when required.
Since customized software already belongs to the user, developers can readily add additional features. Furthermore, because the development team already has a full understanding of the implemented software, it doesn’t take too long to understand and implement the required changes.
Scalability, in this way, makes the software further customized, and adapted to the business’s changing requirements.
4. Support & Maintenance
Companies offering off-the-shelf software support and maintenance provide generic incremental improvements. This can prove a hindrance if users lose a feature they hitherto relied upon, and/or when the changes don’t actually provide any specific meaningful progress.
On the contrary, bespoke software comes with individualised customer support which inevitably means organisations will benefit from timely and necessary enhancements that they have specifically requested and need.
5. Value for Money
Although it may appear a hefty investment to choose bespoke over off-the-shelf software (tailored suits cost more than off-the-peg right?), a simple cost-benefit analysis validates the value for money the former offers over the latter.
Off-the-shelf software can include additional costs in the long-run with respect to troubleshooting, waiting for upgrades and poor maintenance packages. Bespoke software automates business processes through optimising the client’s specific existing business operations, which delivers a level of improved efficiency that off-the-shelf products simply can’t match. The savings achieved through deploying tailored software solutions can then be invested in other areas of the business.
6. Quicker Integration & Implementation
Because the client is front and centre of the service, the process is more easily manageable for all concerned, especially the end user. It doesn’t therefore, take any extra effort for the user to train and use it, after all they created the specifications. From a standing start, implementation is embraced, not stressed over. Integration is considered from the outset, and only wanted features are included.
Going live with a new software solution, as any developer will tell you, can be a challenging period. Deploying a bespoke software solution, rather than an off-the-shelf product, nudges the odds more favourably towards a quicker and more positive impactful deployment.
The Power of Bespoke Software
Choosing bespoke software is an important decision and when it’s done right, can propel a forward thinking business in the right direction. Deploying cost effective, tailored solutions for long-term business growth and stability is undeniably an ultimate business driver of success. With the ever increasing proliferation of companies creating their own software solutions for the diversity of requirements they have to take into account, bespoke software can become a fascinating industry of software innovation of its own – and a key factor in shaping the future of businesses.