What are the Advantages of Bespoke Software?
In our last post we asked and answered the question, What is Bespoke Software? In this post we continue our theme of answering our customers, and hopefully your, most frequent questions about bespoke software. So, what are the advantages of bespoke software?
All companies do similar tasks in a different way and most companies also have business processes that others do not have. In business, being unique is what separates the “me too” crowd from the market leaders.
If doing things differently is one of your key selling points then shouldn’t your software promote that difference? Off-the-shelf promotes doing things the same way. At best it might be the market leading way to do things but more often than not it is the way the developer has designed the software.
Bespoke software allows you to continue being different and do things the way you want to do them.
There is a misconception that off-the-shelf software is cheaper than bespoke software. The payment profile of bespoke software development normally requires a large upfront cost but then benefits from significantly cheaper ongoing costs. In comparison, the payment profile of off-the-shelf software is usually based on licence fees. Historically that was in the form of a pay per computer fee but more commonly nowadays it is a per user per month fee. In most cases, especially where the number of users is in the double digits, bespoke software will work out cheaper than off-the-shelf alternatives over time.
The goal of great bespoke software is to be as simple as it can be to meet your requirements. In that way simplicity doesn’t mean simple, it is about just building the features you need without any bloat and making those features as easy to use as possible.
Every piece of off-the-shelf software has extra features in that you will never use, sometimes there will be more features you don’t use than you do.
Issues with overly complex software, or software with lots of unneeded features, include the need for much more training or employees not even using the software in the first place.
There is a great saying in software development, “You aren’t gonna need it” or YAGNI. If you just develop what you need it keeps the software as simple as it can be and also has the benefit of keeping the costs down.
Flexibility and Scalability
There is quite a lot of pain involved in swapping one-off-the shelf package for another. So much so that if you have done it once you probably spent quite bit of time thinking about what features you need in the future to avoid having to do it again in the future.
Predicting your future requirements is incredibly difficult. Even worse is paying for features you think you might need in the future but never do. Bespoke software just makes these issues go away because it can constantly change along in line with changes in your business. You only ever need to concentrate on what you need now.
Control and Being Top Priority
Like trying to stop an oil tanker, trying to influence the direction of off-the-shelf software is incredibly difficult. Features get added, changed and probably most difficult to deal with is when one you are using is depreciated and scheduled for deletion. Bugs are fixed in some order of severity, normally based on the number of users it effects, which is little comfort if something that you need fixing is given a low priority. Finally, you have no control about when any of these things happen.
None of this is a problem with bespoke software. You decide when things change, you are in control and with the right software development partner you should always feel that you are priority number 1.
Taking all the advantages of bespoke software above and creating the perfect software for your business that promotes what makes you different from the competition leads to one final advantage. At least with the right software development company you own it. The intellectual property is yours; it is an asset that helps widen the gap between you are your competitors.
If you are going to innovate, own your innovation!
We hope you can see from the advantages above why we are so enthusiastic about bespoke software development. We are also realistic and contrary to popular belief we love off-the-shelf too. Not every bit of software needs to be. So, in our next post we are going to cover the disadvantages on bespoke software. In the meantime, if you need help with deciding which way to go then please contact us.