Bespoke Software VS off-the-shelf Software

Date Published: 21-05-2020 | Author: Ryan Smith



Organizations today look to software solutions to shed the burden of administrative heavy tasks in their daily business processes and functions. The first step is to decide what type of software product is right for your organization.

This is where organizations typically reach a cross-road, do they look at investing in an off-the-shelf software product offered to the general mass market. Or do they invest in a bespoke software solution which is designed to specifically meet the organization's requirements and business processes?

In the end, the ultimate deciding points will be how unique your business processes are to the standard norm and how scalable do you want your software to be.

Off-the-shelf software

Off-the-shelf software solutions are already fully-boxed products which are ready to ship off to customers and can be used as soon as the customer purchases the product. The solutions are normally cheaper than bespoke developed solutions and there is normally no further development required on the product.

The off-the-shelf products also usually have a large community of users where support can be received from other users.

Because the product was designed to be useful to the mass-market it will have most the standard features required in the specific industry to perform required business functions. Think of it as more of a shot-gun approach to the software product offering as the product is trying to target as many potentials users as possible.

The product is packed with features which is great but the other side of the coin is how many of those features would you end up not using which essentially just becomes bloatware. Unless your provider is able to offer you a customised feature selection process whereby you select the modules/features you would like in your product.

Most off-shelf solutions have customer support and large communities of users depending on the popularity.

Bespoke software

Some organizations choose to go the bespoke route because they looking for more flexibility than the off-the-shelf solution can offer. They want scalability, off-the-shelf does not satisfy their unique requirements and they want the dedicated software support from their technology partner.

Off-the-shelf solutions are great but when you have a very unique process you are trying to automate then off-the-shelf solutions start to become rigid. By developing bespoke solutions organizations can scale or constantly update the software to cater for new unique business processes which are being introduced as the business goes.

Scalability, the ability for your software to grow with your company is one of the key advantages of bespoke software. Most off the shelf solutions do not offer additional maintenance to existing software products.

The dedicated software support is also often critical in the decision process. The ability to report bugs and have the software bug resolved in a quick turn-around time is critical to maintaining your businesses effectivity.

Also, by working so closely with a technology partner more opportunity to automate is identified as your technology partners will work closely with employees in their various business functions and processes.

Final thought

An organization can either choose to get ready in the box solution and then compromise where the product cannot satisfy some process which does not fit in the software model. Or go the bespoke software development route which is usually the more expensive route but your organization get a software solution designed and tailored to their processes, the software is scalable and they have a dedicated team of professionals for support and maintenance.