Bespoke Software Solutions vs. Off the Shelf Software?

Horses for courses… if you want a Word Processor then you probably wouldn’t consider funding the development of this software because useful products already exist, and your word processing needs may be common to many different businesses. Likewise with accounting systems, money comes in, money goes out, paperwork needs generating, records need keeping and the legal requirements need to be addressed etc. However, businesses, even though they may do the same things, may do those things very differently. For example, internal business processes can be wildly different, so a management software solution that perfectly meets the requirements of one may cripple another. This is why many companies, of all sizes, often choose to have a bespoke system of some kind. This may be to increase efficiency in some area, to allow data that exists in disparate database to be pulled together to provide key management information or even to enable customers to place orders with greater ease.

For bespoke software to be an effective solution to a business problem / opportunity it must be properly specified, coded, tested and documented. If any of these aspects fall short then the software development project as a whole may very well fail to deliver. When buying bespoke software you’re not just paying for software development skills, you are also paying for business analysis skills to ensure the business requirement is fully understood and specified, and also project management skills to ensure activity is coordinated, people are informed, and the software project is delivered on time and to budget. The best developer in the world will not be much use (to you!) without solid business understanding and project management disciplines… we can provide the full package, meaning that the project will probably cost you less and have a greater chance of being successful.

The main advantages of bespoke software (or custom software) are:

  • Specificity – the software is designed specifically to meet the needs of your business, you do not have to compromise. The bespoke software can do exactly what you want it to do and nothing more (i.e. there aren’t heaps of menus of options that you will never need… the terminology that is used is yours, not what somebody else thinks you should be using).
  • Systems Integration – the software can be designed to link together / integrate with your existing systems to help provide more useful management information as well as giving you new functionality that would not be possible if a standalone system were built.
  • Flexibility – well designed bespoke software can be extended and changed over time as your business, and the needs of your business, change.
  • Opportunity Exploitation – bespoke software often allows you to do things better and more efficiently, or enables other markets to be tapped into or opportunities explored. Being able to do what your competitors are doing but faster or more efficiently presents you with the opportunity to generate more profit for the same turnover, or to reduce your prices and take market share from your competitors (or at least to keep up with the competition if they are investing in similar custom software projects!).

In summary, bespoke software systems are not appropriate for every situation, but there are many situations where they can be usefully employed to a significant strategic advantage if you partner with the right developer!

If you have been looking for a Leeds software development company then your search is over… tell Leeds Software Development about your software project…