Bespoke software vs off the shelf software

Off-The-Shelf vs Bespoke Software: Making the Right Choice for Your Business

23 July 2020

The time has come to invest in a new software solution. Do you want to increase efficiency, save on costs, or get ahead of your competitors? Whatever your motivation is for digitalising your business, it’s important to select the right software to meet your needs and requirements.

So, the first question you may have is: off-the-shelf software or bespoke software – what’s the difference?

We will explore the pros and cons to help you decide which solution is the best fit for you.

What is Off-The-Shelf Software?

Off-the-shelf software has been designed to cater to the mass market and is readily available to purchase. The product will have a vast range of generic features that can be utilised by a variety of business types.

The Benefits of Off-The-Shelf Software

1. Cost-effective

Off-the-shelf software tends to be less expensive than bespoke alternatives as the development cost is spread between all its users.

2. Instant Integration

It has already been designed which means you can quickly integrate the software into your business and start using the product within a matter of days. The faster the software is implemented, the sooner you will see results.

3. Reduced Training Resources

If you choose a popular software solution, your employees may have previous experience and understanding of the software. This means your company can save time and commit fewer resources to staff training.

4. More Features and Functions

The software is intended to accommodate the needs of multiple businesses, so there will be a range of features that potentially go beyond your initial vision. The additional functionality could help to improve business processes in ways you may not have previously considered.

5. Routine Updates

The software developers will periodically update the app to fix bugs and improve the product. Any upgrades are usually free for the consumer.

The Cons of Off-The-Shelf Software

1. Missing Features

Be prepared to compromise. For example, off-the-shelf software may only have 3 out of 5 features that you require because it’s not custom-made for your specific needs. This may leave you unable to complete certain tasks and paying extra for add-ons.

2. Unused Features

As mentioned above, there will be a library of features that your business does not need. Sometimes less is more - a plethora of functions can leave users feeling overwhelmed and they may struggle to adjust to the new software.

3. Future Plans

Over time the product may change in ways that aren’t relevant to your business. This results in software that no longer suits your needs, forcing you to look for another software solution in the future.

What is Bespoke Software?

Bespoke software is a custom-made product built specifically to meet the needs of your business. This is the best option if you require the software to complete a unique task and there isn’t a pre-existing solution.

The Benefits of Bespoke Software

1.  Custom-made for Your Business

Bespoke software is built to meet a specific set of requirements based on your business objectives. It will only include features that your business needs, which allows you to simplify your workflows and gain access to data that can improve your procedures.

2. Adapts to Future Business Changes

As your business changes over time, your bespoke software can grow with you. Additional pieces of software can be integrated into your initial system to adapt to your updated processes.

3. Eliminate Per-User Costs

Expand your team with no extra costs. Your bespoke software belongs to you, so you can add as many users as you need, free of charge.

4. Get Ahead of Your Competitors

Your product is purposely designed to improve your business processes. Custom-made software has the advantage of unique features that are unavailable to other businesses, therefore giving you a competitive edge.

The Cons of Bespoke Software

1. More Expensive

Custom-made software usually has higher start-up costs than an off-the-shelf solution. This is because the developers must start from scratch.

Building a brand-new software package requires the time and resources of specialist developers to design, create and test the software to ensure it works to the correct standards.

2.  Long Implementation Process

From start to finish a bespoke product can take several months to develop, if not longer.

Some believe it is worth the wait because the final product will precisely match your requirements.

The downside is that your business development plans are put on hold while your bespoke software is being designed, which can potentially hinder your business growth.

Formulate by Triangle – Mobile Forms Software

Formulate is best described as an off-the-shelf solution that can adapt with your business when necessary. Although it can be used by a range of industries, we can integrate additional, bespoke modules to suit your company.

Create digital, cloud-based forms on mobile or tablet devices to streamline your workflows, improve efficiency and save money. To find out more, contact us here.