Planning for the long term can seem expensive when you sit down to crunch the numbers – and this is never more apparent than when you are trying to decide whether or not to make the aggressive investment in a bespoke software solution.
Your other option – to buy an off-the-shelf product – will inevitably come with lower price tag attached, as well as the attractive benefit of an almost immediate setup and launch (when you have software built from scratch, it naturally takes a lot more time than if you were to download a ready-made product from the cloud).
Off-the-shelf software is fast and cheap, and that’s why a lot of companies seem determined to struggle on with it for years on end. But, that’s not to say that they’re happy with the software. On the contrary, off-the-shelf software lacks customisation, and, more often than not, organisations find that they are forced into contriving inefficient work processes to get around the limitations that the canned “solution” imposes.
What is more, when the business starts to grow, scalability of off-the-shelf software can be become very tricky indeed to accomplish, and so, ultimately, the company in the end is forced to make the investment in a bespoke solution anyway… if they’d only invested earlier then they could have avoided a lot of problems and would be enjoying a much higher productivity rate by now.
If you don’t need it, you don’t need it
Of course, sometimes the off-the-shelf product will do everything that you need it to – you don’t need to scale, you don’t need anything customised, you don’t have the budget for it anyway. If this is the case, then you can stop reading right here. If you are going to see no meaningful ROI on the purchase, and if a bespoke software solution is not going to give you any significant advantages over your competitors, then the off-the-shelf product is serving you well, and you should in all honesty stick with it.
But that just isn’t the case for a lot of organisations.
Bespoke solutions are for companies whose needs either transcend or are a lot more niche than what generic ready-made software products will normally afford. They are made to be flexible, scalable, and, above all reliable. They are custom made to meet the exact requirements of the business, and, as such, are fully optimised to process and enhance the business’s operational functions and productivity levels.
10 Reasons You Should Start Developing Bespoke Software
If you’re still unsure as to whether or not your company needs a bespoke software solution, then take a look at the following list. We’ve put together 10 reasons that explain exactly how developing bespoke software will help your business grow.
After all, growth is what nearly all businesses are ultimately aiming to achieve. And, as your company grows and evolves, it makes perfect sense that you should have software in place that can grow and evolve alongside it – and the great thing about bespoke packages is that they can be customised to grow at a fast rate to keep up, since your business is just about to skyrocket off the charts.
So, here we go with the 10 reasons. First up…
1. Increase productivity
With an off-the-shelf product, your workforce’s productivity is quite simply limited within the confines of the programme. Put simply, your team can only ever go as fast as the software will allow them.
But, when you go bespoke, you will have in place programmes that are custom-built with your company’s very specific productivity needs in mind. Long before a single line of code is ever written, you will have sat down with your experienced developer, and outlined with him or her exactly what the working requirements of your company are, and your software will have been designed to match.
With a bespoke solution in place, your team will be able to start working a lot faster and a lot smarter, and, as a result, your productivity will rise and your business will start to grow.
2. Gain A Competitive Advantage
Outperforming your competitors will be very difficult indeed if you are both relying on the same off-the-shelf software product to complete your business tasks. But, when you’re using something that you have designed yourself for optimum efficiency and productivity, then you will find yourself in control of a competitive advantage, meaning that you will be able to offer a better service to your customers, who will hopefully take advantage of this and choose you over your rivals.
3. Evolution and Innovation
With an off-the-shelf product you will be stuck with whatever’s in the box. Of course, every product develops over time, and the developers responsible for building canned software will release new versions and updates of their products intermittently. But, there’s no guarantee that these updates will meet your requirements.
With a bespoke solution, the private developers of your software will endeavour to innovate your programmes and add any new functionalities as and when you require them. So, when your business starts to grow and evolve, so will your software to keep up with it.
4. Reaction Time
Following on from the previous point, once you’ve got a super development team behind you, any time you need your software updated – be it for security reasons, or if you need a new tool or added functionality to an existing one – then your development team are ready and waiting to respond and get the add-on built and implemented.
With an off-the-shelf solution you can be waiting around forever for a very particular update that never comes. And so, by going with bespoke, this quicker reaction time can very quickly set you apart from your competitors.
5. You Are Unique
You don’t run a bog standard business, do you, so why should you settle for bog standard software products? The way you engage in your business activities is unique, and therefore you will require an equally unique bespoke software solution that will reflect this.
Rather than adapting your business processes to suit your software, your software should be adapted to suit your business processes. And this is why bespoke software is perfect for businesses like yours, as it can be moulded and adapted to fit your very particular needs.
6. You May Not Have A Choice
If there is simply no off-the-shelf package that suits your needs, then developing your own software for the job may be your only option. As outlined in the above point, your needs are unlike any of your competitors’. In fact they’re unlike the needs of any other businesses out there. And, since this is the case, there is no existing demand for the mass market to produce the very thing that you need – and, as such, it doesn’t exist on the shelves.
If this describes your business, then your only option will be to have a bespoke software solution built for your company, which, handily, means that you will be able to reap the benefits of every point on this list, and much more besides. So, in essence, you are in fact forced into a good thing.
Although it is true that a lot of off-the-shelf software comes with its own back end analytics features bundled in, these, just like the rest of the product, will be very standard and generic in nature, and may not equip you with the information that you require.
If you are in a position where you need more powerful reports, or want to measure some very specific sets of data, you will find yourself much better equipped if you have a bespoke software package built for you from the outset – one that is designed to capture all of the precise data that you need to make those important business decisions.
Off-the-shelf software is well-known and a big target for potential hackers. Since it is so commonly used, cyber criminals have all the time in the world to study the programmes and work out their vulnerabilities. They will also have very easy access to the software.
When you have a bespoke solution built, on the other hand, it will by nature be unique, and so therefore any vulnerabilities will be concealed from potential attackers. What is more, just as the software is custom built, so is the security, which again means that your bespoke software package will enjoy a unique level of protection form outside threats.
9. You will own the product
For absolute surety of protection, when you’re drawing up your contract between yourself and the developer, you want to make sure that you will own the rights to the finished product. This means that there will be no chance of your competitors ever getting hold of the same software as you (unless, of course, you decide that you want to sell it, in which case you might be able to make all of the money back on your investment – though you will of course lose any competitive advantage that you gained by having the software developed in the first place).
10. Ease Of Use
Oftentimes, off-the-shelf software comes with a whole host of features, most of which companies don’t even use. This is because they have been designed to try and cater for as many different users as possible, but, in doing so, it means that the features that they do include are usually pretty thin and not particularly powerful.
When you have a bespoke solution developed, it will only contain the precise functions that you require, with all of the fat removed. This means that it will be much easier to use, as users will not have to wade their way through reams and reams of hidden menus and buttons that never get used in order to locate the specific feature that they want. What is more, since your bespoke solution will only include the features and functionality that you need it to, the product will actually be a lot lighter, which means it will perform better and be a whole lot more powerful than its off-the-shelf counterpart.