The software development industry has so far progressed to a point where you can get solutions to almost every business use case from a google search. The only problem – they might not fit your business use case exactly. Solutions such as these are called Off the shelf owing to their nature of reusability for multiple use cases.
Bespoke software development is a solution-building approach that considers the user’s pain points and develops solutions that cater to a particular business’s challenges. Tailor-made solutions such as these are more suitable for businesses that cannot afford the standards set by off-the-shelf software.
SMBs prefer bespoke solutions for better-performing apps and the individual attention that goes into developing them. Read more to learn some of the most common advantages and disadvantages of bespoke software solutions.
Where bespoke software topples off-the-shelf solutions
Possibilities are endless when developing bespoke solutions from a trusted vendor. It is best to go for such a solution if you think your products have the potential to be scaled up to serve a wide range of customers.
1. Using the right technology
Getting the right software for your team is mission-critical. It’s even more so when the software you adopt defines the pace at which your business succeeds. Thus it’s important not to get stuck with what an off-the-shelf solution can deliver on a budget.
Much of what you get from an off-the-shelf software license is limited to the common features that everyone might be using in your industry. But if bringing specificity to your offerings is your priority, bespoke software development is your best move forward.
Bespoke systems keep the user at the center and designs solutions around them. This creates unique offerings that utilize the right technology to make the user’s journey easier.
Developing bespoke software also helps you declutter your software solution and deliver tailor-made offerings that quickly get the eye of customers. This is perhaps the prime reason for adopting bespoke software development.
2. Value for money
While off-the-shelf software can get you started with your business processes, you’ll soon realize that your business requirements can differ significantly from the masses. This will soon reflect in the form of more bills paid for half the services you actually require.
Bespoke software development allows you to define the product’s look and feel and its core features. This means whatever you pay for is strictly used to develop your exact software solution and nothing more.
This makes your software solution more user-friendly and unique, inviting more people to use your product instead of looking generic and limited in core functionality owing to the limitations of the corresponding off-the-shelf software.
Thus, developing a bespoke solution could be more valuable for the money you pay compared to conventional off-the-shelf software. The choice must be made wisely whether the bespoke solution would make a difference for the user.
3. Scalable architecture
Both off-the-shelf and bespoke solutions are scalable, but the nature of scalability differs significantly. As the former is designed for the masses, an extensive range of features and business functionality will come within the software package.
The obvious limitation would be the lack of flexibility for off-the-shelf software to adopt your unique business style. Either you will be forced to follow their workflow and adapt your system with it or pay even more to get customized features within the platform that may or may not suit your needs.
Bespoke solutions give you the elasticity to adjust the software to suit your workflow, which makes it easier for your business. This is one of the primary reasons for choosing bespoke software development over other off-the-shield solutions.
More than anything else, the freedom to scale your product the way you want is the greatest benefit of bespoke software development. Bespoke software development companies often ensure continued maintenance and updates to make your product market ready at all times.
4. Own the software
The way off-the-shelf offerings make money is by providing software licenses to businesses that can use the software at a monthly or yearly subscription charge. This often limits your ownership as you will be using a shared IP and license of a third-party vendor, restricting customizations and quick changes needed to cope with changing market requirements.
Even when there are options for customization, change requests are often painstakingly slow to implement, and the tech stack of your software is dependent solely on the software service provider.
When you partner with a bespoke software development company, know that you own every technology they build for you. This allows you to customize the product as you please and get the right solution for your business without getting locked into any off-the-shelf software.
Custom software development companies take special care in customizing software based on your core requirements, ensuring that your software users get the best experience, either in terms of productivity or effectiveness.
5. More security for you
Just like getting limited by the technology and response times of off-the-shelf software, the level of security you can expect from pre-built solutions is also limited. With privacy regulations getting more stringent than ever, your software might require a higher level of security than your software provider may offer.
Data protection rules differ based on countries and industries, making it difficult for off-the-shelf solutions to provide at all times. This makes it extremely important to ensure that your software is built with industry-standard data and privacy protection plans. bespoke software development service vendors prioritize understanding your market and the data laws that govern them.
It is thus more advisable to have a custom software solution that fully incorporates the privacy and data protection laws of the country and your industry. Also, bespoke software vendors ensure that your solution is regularly updated to meet industry standards.
What’s more, having your own software will let you add rules which can help you secure more business and safeguard your business from unlawful practices, scams, etc.
6. Speak your brand
In a world filled with generic industrial-looking websites, customization becomes a crucial differentiator between good and bad products. Turns out, off-the-shelf solutions cannot provide customizations that an independent software vendor can provide.
Due to the functional nature of off-the-shelf products, the level of customization is usually limited to templates that are just enough to get the job done and nothing more. Customers today crave products that delight them, not just solve their speed bumps.
Bespoke software development solves this crucial issue by designing the product around your brand and developing memorable solutions that customers naturally want to use. This way, an intuitive experience solves half of the user’s problem, making it a longtime solution and not just a quick fix.
Finally, a software solution that communicates your brand makes it easier for your customer to associate with it. Templated designs have a natural limit to which they can impress customers due to their inherent functional nature to cater to multiple businesses at once.
Possible shortcomings of Bespoke Software
As we have seen some of the great things that bespoke solutions can offer, there are clear limitations of timeframe and budget when implementing custom application development. This is not to say that they are subpar in any way, but perhaps not the best option in some cases.
1. Longer development times
Before choosing either of them, it’s important to ask yourself whether you have time for development. If not, your best option would be to subscribe to an off-the-shelf solution and tweak it until it becomes useful to your customer.
If you have adequate development time, it’s best to look for solutions that pinpoint users’ pain points and solve exactly that. This requires constant iterations and continuous modification, which can be achieved quickly through bespoke software development.
Simple MVPs and ideation can all be done in a matter of weeks today with templated offerings. But to truly validate and compare real needs with real-world market conditions takes experienced eyes. This might take a bit more time, but it is worth the effort.
2. Initial costs can be more than conventional options
Cost concerns are considerably high when you approach a bespoke software development company. But this does not mean the solution you get is anywhere more expensive than the running costs of a limited-feature off-the-shelf solution.
Commercially available packaged software solutions are also easy to buy, as most have affordable subscription charges. Small businesses greatly benefit from this, but the limitation shows itself in the form of limited functionality, customization, and technology lock-in.
While it is true that initial development costs for bespoke software development companies are higher, the thoughtful development process can be considered a valid initial investment that lets you build complex and scalable software with minimal roadblocks in the future.
3. Limited features during initial versions
It’s no surprise that initial versions of bespoke software will never have all the functionalities to cater to a wide range of users. Off-the-shelf solutions are your best bet if you require a wide range of services.
Commercially packaged products can provide more initial services than bespoke solutions. This can actually be used to collect usage data, i.e., the likes and dislikes of customers, either tweaking the bought solution to create satisfying customer journeys or building a solution that does.
So yes, the feature list of bespoke solutions may be lesser than conventional off-the-shelf products. Still, bespoke solutions can be centered around customer experiences and the quality of the service, not just the sheer bulk of features.
Finally, it all depends on the time, money, and effort you can put in to deliver the best possible solution to your customer as quickly as possible. So there is always a place and time to choose between bespoke and off-the-shelf solutions.
Customers decide on their software solution based on their core needs, time, budget, and other factors. Keeping this in mind, it must be noted that every solution has its place and time to be implemented, just as we discussed the benefits and drawbacks of bespoke software solutions.
Thus, weighing your options before deciding on the software solution vendor for your particular business is essential. If you are looking for more information on bespoke software development, get in touch with our team to know the most affordable and timebound solutions for your particular use case.
NeoITO has been supporting businesses of all sizes to find the right technology solutions, and we’d love to help you crystallize your options in a matter of minutes.
What are bespoke software examples?
Custom software solutions are everywhere. Industry giants like Amazon.com and Target.com to disruptive technologies like Waitwhile.com and Dailyai.io are all examples of bespoke software.
What is the difference between bespoke software solutions and off-the-shelf solutions?
Digital solutions that are bought as packaged software are called off-the-shelf software, whereas those that are custom-built to solve a unique set of business problems are called bespoke software or simply custom software.
What are the benefits of a bespoke software solution?
Bespoke solutions can be secure, scalable, and a fully customizable mode of software development. You get full control over the technology used, licenses, and security features that are usually limited in off-the-shelf software.
How can bespoke software development help your business?
Businesses that require solutions that perfectly fit into their workflow can opt for bespoke software solutions. Companies that range anywhere from SMBs and above can greatly benefit from cutting-edge tech, scalable, and tailormade solutions that can set their business apart from the competition.
How to choose a software development company for bespoke solutions?
Even though budget and time constraints are important parameters when it comes to choosing the right bespoke solution partner, it’s equally important to know the expertise, experience, and portfolio of bespoke software vendors. This ensures that the final product will be fit to thrive in your target market.