Advantages and disadvantages of bespoke software

A well designed bespoke software application built to meet a client’s exacting requirements will always out-perform an off the shelf offering because it meets, and only meets, the specific need it was designed for. This removes unnecessary functionality and processing which together complicate and add unnecessary workload causing business process overhead.

The main issues that can arise with bespoke software include neglect and a loss of expertise on the platform, but these can easily be addressed by a well-planned and well-built custom software solution that will evolve with the changing needs of the business enabling you to work to your own roadmap of development changes.

Advantages of bespoke software

  • Designed to work the way you work, making it efficient and easy to use
  • You own the development roadmap and are in control of the development path and pace
  • Increased efficiency through alignment to your processes and workflow hence minimising unnecessary business process change
  • Reduce administration overhead and increased productivity by automating repetitive tasks unique to your workflow
  • The applications are built to meet the needs of your team, which aids morale and motivation
  • Software can be built to tie in with other business systems right from the architecture stage
  • Software that is bespoke to your business differentiates you to your competitors, building or maintaining competitive advantage

Advantages of bespoke software

  • Off the shelf tools can have useful features that you might not have considered and would aid your team
  • There is a time cost to the business in the planning and delivery of a bespoke project
  • Getting stakeholders to agree on the roadmap can at times be challenging
  • Initial time to implement can, when not planned and executed well be higher than buying an off the shelf solution
  • Upfront investment can be higher, though total cost of ownership is in many cases lower

Bespoke or off the shelf?

Off the shelf software is designed for a multitude of businesses, who all have different needs, processes, systems and end customers. An off the shelf solution is about picking which compromises are the most palatable for you and your business.

This is much like picking whether to hire or buy a dinner suit. You have to compromise on a range of factors including cut, fit, style, fabric and design touches. When you have a bespoke suit made you can have every detail to your liking and the fit will complement your bodies shape in the best way the tailor can. In this example, you’re paying for a suit that should last you many years and over the lifetime of the suit, assuming regular wear you will break even on your investment vs hiring.

Much like hiring a suit, off the shelf products will very often have a recurring cost and whilst this may not be very expensive month by month, over a 5 year period the total cost of ownership can far exceed the cost to have built bespoke from the outset.

Whilst there are advantages to off the shelf software, it’s worth considering whether bespoke will end up being a better choice for your business.

If you are considering your next bespoke software project, get in touch we would love to hear from you.

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