Bespoke or Off-the-Shelf Software?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches so, as the correct choice of software will make a big difference to your business, it’s advisable to take a long hard look at both options.
‘Off-the-shelf' packages and related applications will typically be run by thousands or even millions of users. However, bespoke software is custom developed for your particular business, and designed to meet your needs and specification.
There are 3 main differences to consider:
Off-the-shelf Software is usually quite affordable, whereas customised software can be relatively expensive to spec-out and build. The cost of development of an off-the-shelf product is distributed over a large number of projected buyers, however a customer requiring bespoke software will have to foot the bill for planning, development and build, as it is created uniquely for just one buyer.
Off-the-shelf software is made for a wide range of consumers. The development team produces a standard design to a pre-defined specification. Off-the-shelf software products are fairly standard, so they may not deliver all of your individual requirements. Often, adjustments and customisation need to be made in order to implement an off-the-shelf product.
Bespoke or Customised software embraces your current business processes and builds an electronic framework to automate them. There is no requirement to change any processes and it takes a matter of days to familiarise yourself with the software. Customised software can be changed to suit your needs, and fine tuned to adapt to new performance criteria.
As new revisions of off-the-shelf products are released, you will be required to pay an upgrade fee. However, these revisions may be few and far between, and you could end up using obsolete software which could potentially have negative repercussions on your business.
Customised software will be updated as and when your company deems it necessary.