Better buy bespoke
There is a perception that developing a bespoke software application is expensive, time consuming and complex. However, the reality is, if you are working with a professional software development company, as the customer, you should find the process straightforward and the ultimate result well worth the investment.
As companies grow, there comes a point where it is no longer appropriate for them to run their businesses on spreadsheets. Using spreadsheets at this point can hamper things like productivity, data integrity and efficiency, as they can be time consuming and error prone. Every business is different and as such the needs of each business will be different too. However, all too often, when a company finally moves away from spreadsheets, a generic off the shelf software solution is implemented across the business instead. Off the shelf software generally requires a business to adapt to the functionality of the software, rather than the other way around. In some instances, this is perfectly acceptable however, once the needs of the business reach a certain level, it is well worth considering a bespoke software solution instead.
Design and functionality first
In the past, companies adopting an off the shelf software application have had to potentially change their systems or processes to fit with the software available. Bespoke software applications are designed and tailored to meet your individual needs. The software developers will work with you to understand what you are trying to achieve and what the software needs to be capable of. No longer will you have to adapt your working practices to meet the functionality of an ‘one size fits all’, off the shelf software or application.
Also, as the customer, you are in control of what features get developed, as and when you need them, rather than waiting for the company who built the off the shelf product to deal with your request. This speeds up the development window, as you won’t be competing against hundreds of other customers also looking for particular features to be introduced.
Bespoke software and applications have a reputation for being costly in the development stage. However, while it is true that the initial up-front cost of developing a bespoke application is most likely to be greater than buying a copy or license of an existing product, when you look at the whole life costs, bespoke software can actually end up being more cost-effective.
Often what happens with off the shelf products is that there is an inexpensive or free version of the software or application, which enables you to try it and become reliant on it. But, as your requirements grow, so too does the cost to increase the functionality of the software. Also, much of this software is issued under licence, so as the size of your team increases, the cost increases exponentially too.
When you look at the lifetime costs, it is not hard to see how the costs of off the shelf can quickly add up to the point where the one-off cost of building a bespoke product makes more sense. The other benefit of bespoke, is that you can future proof it, so that as your team and business grow, the software is able to adapt to these changes.
The power of simplicity
Take a look at the software subscriptions you already use within your business. Are you utilising all the features and functionality of the software? The chances are you are not, although you are still paying for them. Not only are you not using the features, but it means that your user interface will include all these elements that potentially will confuse you when you are using the software. With software or an application that has been specifically designed for your needs, you will save a lot of time and be more productive as the information you need will be in front of you rather than lost amongst the surplus features.
Another benefit of working with a software development company is the ongoing systems support that is available. With a dedicated support agreement in place, your software development company will prioritise any issues you raise, swiftly and efficiently. Comparatively, if you are working with an off the shelf product, you will probably have to go through a long, drawn-out ticketing process, as there will potentially be other customers with their own issues that require addressing too.
The ongoing support and maintenance is particularly important in light of the ever-changing nature of technology and the regular upgrades and new product iterations that become available. Every business has different levels of support requirements and you should also be able to tailor your support agreement to meet your specific needs.
Plenty of choice
There are many types of bespoke applications including mobile apps, console applications, APIs and web-based applications, which can be cloud-based or run on a single dedicated server. However, your development partner can take you through the pros and cons of each option and help you select the right one for your business.
Designing your bepoke software application
At Titan Webtech, we provide development, ongoing technical support, guidance and advice, not just across Cheshire and North Wales, but throughout the UK. We design, develop, and manage bespoke software solutions, web-based applications and provide digital management services to all kinds of businesses and clients.
To make sure you are able to use your new software application at the earliest possible opportunity, we generally advocate a phased approach to development, or we agree on minimum viable product (MVP) to go live with at the start. Not only does this enable you to be up and running quicker, but also enables you to get to know your software and adapt it to more fully meet the needs of your business. This also helps keep costs from spiralling out of control and, for commercial applications, leads to a quicker return on investment for you.