Off-the-shelf software is fast and cheap. Whilst there are obvious benefits to such products, they are nonetheless the one-size-fits all solution – and the fact of the matter is that oftentimes businesses are simply making-do with off-the-shelf software products that aren't particularly effective.
Successful businesses, however, plan for the long-term, and that means a bespoke software solution that addresses specific in-house operational needs. Sure, off-the-shelf software may come with a lower price tag attached, and of course they can be launched straight away (having your very own software built from scratch inevitably takes a lot more time than if you were to download a ready-made product straight from the web). But the short-term benefits of “fast and cheap” do not translate into long-term efficiency, productivity and, ultimately, profitability.
Indeed, companies that persist with off-the-shelf software are very often forced into haphazardly stage-managing inefficient work-arounds to mitigate the limitations that these canned solutions inevitably impose. Furthermore, when the business begins showing signs of growth, scalability becomes a very apparent problem, which can sometimes lead the floundering company to invest in a custom-made solution in the end anyway. And at this point, having to wait for their software to be designed and developed is a problem, because they need to scale now. If only they had invested earlier, they could have avoided nearly all of their current problems and be enjoying growth and revitalised productivity today…
Bespoke software solutions are for the prepared company that plans for growth. They are built to be scalable, flexible and reliable, and custom-made to meet the exact requirements of the business. In short, they optimise a business's performance so it can achieve the very best results.
1. Target and solve individualised problems
No two businesses are the same. Each has its very own set of unique challenges that must be overcome to improve operations. So why should any business expect to find the solution in anything that's plucked off the shelf?
When a developer starts creating a unique software package, he or she will work hand in hand with the client to figure out precisely how the technology can be tailored to meet the exact, individualised needs of the business. They will also be bringing their experience to the table, and will most likely be able to offer suggestions for improvements that the client may very well not have thought of.
What's more, once the software is up and running, any problems that are encountered will be solved by getting in touch with the very developer who built the software in the first place. With bespoke solutions, you are either left in a calling queue to eventually speak to someone who neither knows you or understands your business, or you will otherwise have to resort to Googling the problem to see if you can fix it yourself. Neither are desirable situations.
2. Simplify your specific business processes
When you have bespoke software built that's tailored specifically for your businesses and its processes, there's no beating around the bush. The whole program is simplified right down to include only the features and functions that you need – all the fat that's associated with non-custom-made software is cut off, making for a lighter and faster product that is simple to use, and easy when it comes to onboarding the team.
With everything unnecessary stripped away, the business can place improved focus on its core operations. Indeed, having a bespoke solution made just for you will often mean bringing several different systems into one single application, cutting down on time wasted spinning plates across numerous databases.
3. Evolution of product over time as business evolves
When you buy off-the-shelf, you're pretty much stuck with whatever's in the box on the day you bought it. Of course, intermittent updates will be released over time, but even these will not be addressing your specific business requirements.
When you invest in a bespoke solution, on the other hand, your private developers will be there to add new features and evolve your product as your business evolves and grows. All of this results in less time wasted trying to find workarounds for problems, and more time invested in pushing productivity in the right direction.
4. Greater efficiencies deliver competitive advantages
You will never be able to outperform your competitors if you are relying on the same, sub-standard off-the-shelf solution to complete your business tasks as they are. However, your bespoke solution will be designed to fully optimise your business processes. This will naturally translate into enabling you to continuously offer a better service to your customers, giving you the competitive advantage, meaning that more people will start choosing you over your rivals.
5. Increased productivity
Ultimately, the most important and tangible reason there is for having bespoke software built for your business is for the purposes of increased productivity.
With an off-the-shelf product, your workforce's productivity levels will be ultimately limited by the confines of the program. With so many features weighing down non-custom-built software products, the ones that you do actually use will normally be pretty thin and not at all powerful enough to produce the productivity levels that you require to really get your business moving.
When you go down the bespoke route, long before any programming commences, you will have sat down with your developer and discussed your precise productivity requirements, and your software will then be developed specifically to match and facilitate them. Put simply, with a bespoke solution, your whole workforce will be able to work a lot faster and a lot smarter. Your productivity levels will increase as a result, and your business will grow.