Why Choose Bespoke Software Development?
If you’re looking for software that will truly transform how your company operates, look beyond off-the-shelf solutions and towards bespoke software development.
As every CIO knows, there can be a lot riding on the success of new software. The consequences of failure are high – and rollout failures are not uncommon.
A recent article in CIO.com highlights some of the worst blunders in recent times, including millions being poured down the drain after discovering a solution wasn’t fit for purpose, leading to expensive lawsuits with shareholders and huge percentages being wiped off stock value.
So many of these failures follow a similar pattern.
The off-the-shelf software doesn’t fit into the established business processes of a particular company. This kicks off a cycle of expensive customisation, multiple go-live attempts and spiralling productivity losses. Eventually, the project becomes unviable and after months or years of mounting costs and splitting headaches, is ultimately scrapped.
In many cases, these risks are inherent to choosing one-size-fits-all software – and can be completely avoided with bespoke software development.
Bespoke software is tailored from the first line of code to the last, to meet your business’ precise requirements, resulting in more defined process improvements at you company, a better return on investment and a flexible, future-proof system you can adapt to your company’s ever-evolving business needs.
We delve into these three key areas in more detail below.
1. Bespoke Software Development Puts Your Needs First
Off-the-shelf software is built to be sold on the mass market. In other words, it offers a compromise – it may well meet some of your baseline needs to a certain extent, but is likely to fall short on addressing your more complex requirements, especially those that are unique to your business – be it an MVP or enterprise software.
Off-the-shelf products are, by their very nature, one-size-fits-all solutions. What you see is what you get with them – rather than what you need.
As such, unless you’ve got the resources to spare and are prepared to go through the expense of customising the product to meet your needs – always being wary, of course, that you’re not violating any terms in your licensing agreement with the vendor – you’re limited to the functionality provided as part of the pre-packaged solution.
Integration can be another issue. While many off-the-shelf solutions offer integration capabilities, these are usually limited to only a specific range of other software products – which your organisation may or may not use.
In addition, by design and by business model, off-the-shelf products try to be all things to all businesses. As such, they nearly always come laden with a profusion of built-in components and features you won’t ever need (but ultimately pay for) – and these unused assets waste valuable system resources, slow down site speed and clog up workflows.
With bespoke software, on the other hand, developers work hand in hand with you to find out precisely what your unique requirements are, and then build a unique product that meets them.
Rather than being lumbered with a heavyweight off-the-shelf product with tons of features you’ll never use, you dictate what features need to be included and which don’t and you can detail exactly which systems the software needs to integrate with.
In this way, you get a leaner, highly personalised solution made up of only the components your businesses actually needs, which solve your specific pain points and which is designed precisely to improve your workflows and processes.
This all means that user buy-in is easier to achieve, you won’t get caught out by technology incompatibilities, and you’ll ultimately end up with a highly-tailored solution built to meet your business goals.
The Benefits of Bespoke Software: A Few Real-World Example
Consider the following scenarios:
- You want to extend the analytics data available to your sales team. You’re considering a new CRM, but vendors only seem to offer this functionality as part of a premium subscription package that comes with a range of other features you won’t use.
- Your warehouse is an early adopter of IoT technology. Your competitive advantage relies on you staying ahead of the curve, but you can’t find a supply chain management system that could reliably support the emerging technologies you want to invest in.
- You set monthly sales targets for your retail staff via a manual process. You want to automate this so that employees’ payslips are updated based on real-time information from your point of sale software – but you don’t want to replace the point of sale software completely.
In all of these situations, off-the-shelf software wouldn’t fit the company’s priorities.
The new CRM would result in a huge overhaul and you would end up paying for functionality you don’t need.
Your warehouse would end up with a solution that nullifies your major competitive advantage and you would run into implementation issues as you struggled to integrate the software with your ahead-of-the-curve IoT tech.
Your retail organisation would embark on an unnecessary and expensive software project over one small but important requirement.
This is where bespoke software development really comes into its own, because you call the shots on what your software should prioritise.
The result is a no-compromises solution that addresses your precise business goals and needs – not just those that align with the market as a whole.
2. Bespoke Software Development Offers Better Value for Money
Don’t be fooled by the upfront price. Whilst off-the-shelf software might seem cheaper based on what you’re paying for the software itself, there are numerous hidden costs you should factor into your budget:
- Licensing: Because vendors typically charge based on the size of your project and the volume of data you’re working with, enterprise-level companies can end up paying huge fees to accomplish relatively basic tasks.
- Software customisation costs: Off-the-shelf solutions often need some degree of customisation to fit with your business. If you don’t have the in-house expertise, you’ll need to budget for external development resources to do this.
- Labour costs during implementation: If you’re implementing an off-the-shelf solution with an internal IT team, you’ll need to budget a significant amount of overtime to see the project through. You might also need to bring in consultants if you haven’t got the resources in house.
You should also consider how much you’re paying for features you don’t need.
It’s not uncommon for businesses to buy a premium package for access to a few key features, and never use 75% of the functionality that accompanies them.
Because of how these costs stack up, bespoke software development often works out cheaper than implementing an off-the-shelf solution. There’s no need to pay for licensing (you own the software) or customisation (the whole solution is tailored to you) and you’re only paying for the features you need. Labour costs will be lower, too, as a bespoke system should take less time to implement and software development agencies can typically scale teams quicker than in-house IT departments.
3. Bespoke Software Development Future-Proofs Your Business
Right now, technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate. If you’re purchasing commercial software, think about how long it’s going to take for it to become a legacy system that holds you back.
Bespoke Software Development and Scaling
Successful businesses don’t sit still.
Over the next decade, your business will change – and whether you experience a drastic change in direction or more gradual scaling, you’ll need software that can evolve with you.
Whilst off-the-shelf systems offer limited flexibility (and you might be stuck with a lengthy contract or expensive early release payments), bespoke software is yours to develop as your requirements change.
Taking Advantage of New Technologies
You should also consider how much current off-the-shelf software limits you in terms of making the most of new technologies. Essentially, you’ll be at the mercy of the vendor’s development process – you might be able to request additional functionality, but there’s no guarantee the vendor will accommodate this request and release a suitable update any time soon.
If you want to dictate how and when your business reacts to things like virtual reality, the Internet of Things, advanced analytics and automation, bespoke software development is the fastest and simplest way to do it. You need the flexibility to incorporate new technologies as soon as it makes sense strategically – waiting for third-party suppliers could kill any competitive advantage you hope to gain.
Choose Expert Bespoke Software Development
Bespoke software development is a highly-skilled process that takes a significant amount of expertise. It is therefore essential to find the right development agency to work with.
That’s where Evolve comes in.
We’re an award-winning, UK-based software development agency who put your business requirements at the centre of everything we do.
Everything we create is designed just for you, ensuring your business growth isn’t restricted by generic, one-size-fits-all solutions that force you to compromise where you don’t want to.