Bespoke software has been an increasingly popular phenomenon in the business world, and now even small businesses have started adopting it for various reasons. This brings up a question: what are the causes behind the widespread popularity of bespoke software, what do they offer you that off-the-shelf software doesn’t, and is it worth it? This article attempts to answer these questions by exploring the advantages and disadvantages of bespoke software.
The Advantages of Adopting Bespoke Software
There are undeniable advantages to having software tailor-made to you and your business’s needs, and you need to learn about them to make an informed decision on whether you need to adopt bespoke software or not:
Greater Control of Your Business Process
The amount of control you need to have over your business processes depends on what sector you work in. Investing in a bespoke software solution lets you decide how you go about approaching different parts of your business in non-standard ways that might be beneficial to your business.
On the other hand, good off-the-shelf software comes with support for a lot of standard functions of businesses in your sector and could serve as a guideline on how to best approach each process, but the fact is that they are heavily standardized and simplified to appeal to the largest client base. If your business involves non-standard processes, you’d have a difficult time adopting the software solution to your needs. You’ll find yourself spending more and more time trying to make the software do something it doesn’t have the capacity to deal with, and the quality and quantity of your services will decrease.
One other advantage your business gets from updating the software’s approach to your business processes is updating it to industry standards and making it compatible with all the new technologies that have become prominent over the last decade, from SEO to Cloud, etc. This means you’ll have a much easier time adopting SEO best practices and making your business more visible with the new bespoke software solution. It also means that SEO agencies like Neadoo Digital SEO agency can give you excellent results quicker and cheaper, which is crucial for sustainable growth.
Future-Proofing Your Business
Businesses need to continue growing and evolving if they want to survive in our competitive market, and that’s why it is important to have a vision for your company and prepare for the future. This usually involves monitoring market trends, being on the lookout for short-term opportunities, and having long-term growth goals.
If you have a detailed and factual plan for the future, it is important that it gets reflected in the business intelligence solution you adopt. That’s exactly what you can do with custom-made software. You can account for the business sectors and markets you want to expand to in the future and get the software development company to put them in the solution.
On the other hand, if you decide to go with off-the-shelf software, you won’t have the same level of flexibility to buy something that matches your future plans exactly, and your business will be constrained after a few years of operating the software, and you’d need to change it. This will not only include the cost of buying a whole new software solution, but you also have to include the cost of training your employees and the time your business loses implementing the new software.
Bespoke software isn’t without its disadvantages, and hasty adoption of bespoke solutions has contributed to a lot of loss and stunted growth for many businesses. This was partly just because they were following the bespoke solution trend instead of considering the pros and cons carefully and deciding whether or not the extra investment in bespoke software was really worth it.
Higher Chance of Failure
If you decide to go the bespoke route, you have to know that the success and the quality of the bespoke software solution are almost entirely dependent on you. Although it is true that a competent software development team will be able to create an optimized and bugfree software for you to use in your business, no matter their skill, they don’t know your business processes and the vision you have for the ideal software solution.
That’s why you need to have very clear requirements for the software solution, its functions, the areas the software team needs to prioritize, and everything else related to it. The software solution will basically be as good as your research and planning for it, and that’s why there is a much higher chance the bespoke software solution might become a failure. Especially if you are relatively new in the sector you’re working in, it is hard to come up with all the necessary requirements and have enough foresight to create a truly quality bespoke solution.
Off-the-shelf software, on the other hand, is created by software companies that extensively research the sector, its requirements, and common processes, and the best practices to create appealing software solutions for people working in the sector, and that’s why you can be sure you’ll get all vital functions of a competent solution when you adopt off-the-shelf.
Bespoke Solutions Take more Time and Money
Adopting a bespoke solution includes investing time in research, finding a suitable and experienced software development company, and then commissioning them to create the software while monitoring their progress and guiding development along the way until the project finishes. This can take anywhere from two weeks to a couple of months, and all meanwhile, you won’t have a software solution installed in your business.
This not only means incurring a lot of costs doing research and paying for software production, but it also means your business processes not having access to the new and shiny software solution for that period of time, which might translate into quite a large sum in lost profits. That’s why it is important to consider the opportunity cost of bespoke software solutions, and you need to make sure the investment is justified.