Every business is unique and has different approaches to successfully solving complex challenges. Whenever this is the case, off-the-shelf software just doesn’t cut it and investment in bespoke software development is the best option. Most often, companies have to change the way they operate to accommodate the turnkey solution.
Sometimes, enterprises also demand custom software development to modify and better integrate off-the-shelf applications. This approach helps them adapt and scale to the ever-evolving demands of their customers.
However, when businesses hear the term “bespoke software,” the knee-jerk reaction is that it’s a highly complicated undertaking and an exorbitant expense. Most assume that they can save some money by changing how they work to accommodate a one-size-fits-all solution.
But in reality, the opposite is true, especially for large and rapidly growing businesses. The upfront investment leads to increased productivity, improved operational efficiency, and better return on investment.
What’s Bespoke Software?
Bespoke software development is the process of developing enterprise or startup software to meet the specific needs of the organisation or a set of users. For example, whenever you engage in online banking, you’re using a bespoke application developed to meet the bank’s unique demands and that of its customers.
What’s Off-The-Shelf Software?
Commercial off-the-shelf software is designed to fulfil the general or everyday needs of most businesses. It’s sold as a “plug-and-play” solution built to automate a discrete set of essential business operations.
The philosophy behind this turnkey solution is the idea that most companies have the same business problems that can be solved with this particular software. It’s often sold on a subscription basis. So it translates into significant savings in the short-term. The vendor is also responsible for bug fixes, maintenance, and upgrades.
However, with little room for customisation, most companies find little room to adapt the application to meet their unique requirements.
So let’s break it down further and explore the seven advantages of investing in bespoke application development.
1. Enhanced Efficiency
As bespoke software is designed specifically for your business, it’s better placed to boost productivity, operation efficiency, and more. The primary advantage here is that you’ll get the most out of your enterprise software without changing the way you work.
2. Respond Better to Change and Scale
As your business scales, your operational processes will grow more complex. However, bespoke software is developed with your future in mind. When you take a custom approach to application development, you can scale your software seamlessly.
As a result, you won’t have to contend with incurring additional costs like licensing fees or subscriptions for additional apps and features.
Read how Evolve built a bespoke solution and saved £4 million per year for Lafarge, a leading UK aggregates supplier.
Furthermore, if you’re working in a highly regulated industry, custom software helps you adapt to regulatory changes rapidly while remaining competitive. If you’re working with a turnkey solution, you’ll also have to wait for the vendor to make changes and release the necessary updates.
3. Seamless Integration With Existing Apps
One of the biggest challenges of working with commercial enterprise software is integration. You’ll often find that your plug-and-play software doesn’t work well with all your existing applications.
In this scenario, companies will have to invest in bespoke software that helps better integrate with existing business applications. If you took a customised approach from the beginning, you could avoid this situation altogether.
4. Bespoke Software Provides a Competitive Advantage
Commercial software comes with standard functions that are used by most businesses. However, it’s probably your unique non-standard functions that provide a competitive advantage.
This makes it vital to invest in bespoke software to support your specialised services. When you choose to change your business model to accommodate off-the-shelf applications, you lose your competitive advantage.
DYK? Bespoke applications allow you to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and cut costs. You can even patent the customised software, separate yourself from competitors, and increase company value.
5. Deliver Highly Personalised Customer Experiences
As customer experiences become critical to business relevance, bespoke software helps better address their unique demands. In this scenario, you can also leverage a customised customer relationship management system. So it’s important to see if it helps address the customers’ needs adequately.
6. Access Robust Security
Out of the box solutions aren’t as secure as bespoke applications. As your security protocols are unique and unknown to threat actors, your highly customised system will be less susceptible to cyberattacks.
Check out how the pharmaceutical giant Merck Sharp & Dohme built a bespoke rebates application with Evolve and massively reduced their turnaround time.
7. Effectively Meet Both Your Internal and External Demands
Bespoke software is developed to meet all your enterprise needs. So business owners can address both internal and external requirements in a highly integrated solution.
In this scenario, you can add all the functions and features you want and leave out what you don’t need. This approach helps your company streamline operations efficiently.
Is Bespoke Software Right for Your Organisation?
Bespoke software comes with higher upfront costs compared to turnkey solutions. For bootstrapped startups and small businesses, off-the-shelf applications are more accessible.
However, it’s important to note that if you’re paying third-party subscription fees over a long period of time, it’ll eventually surpass the costs of a bespoke application. So make sure that you’re ready to make a long-term investment that provides the most benefits.
Bespoke software can also take a long time to build and deploy on your infrastructure. It’ll require a significant investment of time to ideate and iterate. However, with proper planning, you can use your time more efficiently.
Ask yourself the following questions before making a decision:
- Do I have a sizeable budget to accommodate bespoke software development?
- Is my investment in bespoke applications justified? How? What would happen if we went with an off-the-shelf application?
- Will an off-the-shelf solution meet my unique business needs?
- Which approach is more cost-effective and thriving in the long-run?
Your answers to these questions will help determine if bespoke application development is right for you.
Do you require bespoke software development? We can help! Schedule a commitment-free consultation now!