First of all, before diving into this question, lets take a look at what bespoke software is, and what other options are available.
The other type of software available is “Off-the-shelf” software. This is widely available and can be purchased from a 3rd party supplier often on a subscription basis.
The difference between bespoke software and off the shelf software is that bespoke software is customized for one company whereas off the shelf software can be used by any company. The most important difference between these two types of software is that bespoke software allows companies to have complete control over their data and how it’s used.
What are the advantages of off-the-shelf software?
While bespoke software is tailored exactly to your needs, that is not to say off-the-shelf cannot suit a business perfectly well.
For start-up companies, or business that perhaps don’t have any huge reliance on their software and tech, bespoke software can sometimes be too much. If you aren’t going to utilize the software to the full degree, then it’s an expense that isn’t necessary.
Furthermore, if you are reliant on software but the processes you carry out on them are fairly basic and rudimentary then getting software that is tailored for you specifically is almost redundant as you can find similar software that has already been created and exists in the market.
Carrying on from that point, the time taken to develop and create a piece of software from scratch is understandably a fair bit longer than the amount of time it would take to purchase and integrate an off-the-shelf package. If you are in a hurry to get some type of software up and running, it can be beneficial to look at off-the-shelf solutions due to their nature of having little to no development time (since they already exist).
So why would I want to go bespoke?
Bespoke software is ultimately the best software you can employ in your company. Having features that are designed and tailored exactly as you need them, with the flexibility to add, remove, change and alter features as and when you see fit is objectively a better position to be in than the one you are in with off-the-shelf.
While the up-front cost of bespoke software is initially higher, we have found that after a few years of using the software, the price evens out. While you would have to pay a larger up-front sum for development of your own software, this is ultimately negated by the fact that the subscription package for off-the-shelf solutions is ongoing.
Think of it like renting a house as opposed to buying it outright. With renting one, it might be cheaper initially, paying small amounts monthly rather than having to buying the house outright, but over the course of the years you will notice you have effectively paid the same, if not more than, what the house was worth to begin with. And what is worse, is that you don’t own the house after renting it. This is not too dissimilar to the off-the-shelf vs bespoke argument.
Bespoke software is an asset
As with any decision made within your company, you’ve got to look at the long-term vision and value of your company. Owning bespoke software is not only a huge time saver and ultimately money saver, should you wish to sell your company in the future, or get investors attention, having your own custom-made software is an asset that will make your company objectively a more appealing and valuable venture.
Automation? No problem!
Bespoke solutions offer the perfect counter to redundant and monotonous tasks carried out daily in your current workflow. Automation!
One exercise that can help you understand whether or not you need bespoke software and/or automation within your business is to write/draw out your current workflow.
For example, upon receiving a potential lead, what do you do? What happens next? Where do you enter this data? So on and so forth.
A lot of people quickly begin to realise that their workflow has a lot of the same stuff over and over again. Duplicate data, entries, dragging data from this file to the next, so on so forth.
With even the most basic and limited bespoke solutions, data can be automatically pulled and pushed wherever you need it to go saving you time and effort when sorting out your databases.
What is the better option?
Ultimately it comes down to the simple question, what do you need your software for?
If you’ve got the money to spend upfront and know you’ve got unique processes that aren’t currently solved in the market, bespoke is perfect for you!
If you’re just looking for a very simple bit of software to help you get a bit more efficiency when working with documents and the like, maybe off-the-shelf for you.
Whatever the case, we here at Web Alliance are always more than happy to help. If you would like to get in touch for a free 1-2-1 consultation, please don’t hesitate!