Bespoke software, also known as custom software, is software that has been tailored to suit a consumer's needs by including everything that they require and dispensing with functions that aren't needed. Using bespoke software enables your business to work efficiently using a system that is unique to your company, ensuring that you can maximise productivity and user experience.
Without tailored software, some companies use 'off the shelf' software, which is quick to get started and has a cheaper initial cost, however may not entirely suit the needs of the business. It may also include additional functions that take extra time to navigate through, which aren't required by the business.
Examples of bespoke software
All types of companies use bespoke software and off the shelf software, depending on their needs. Here are some key examples that are used by general public that you may have come across yourself.
If you are someone who does a lot of online shopping, you likely know about websites such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. All of these ecommerce websites have bespoke interfaces and customer portals to build up data about their customers and to ensure a smooth purchase experience.
Banks use bespoke software as it significantly increases the amount of security they can input. Off the shelf software likely only has a set security system that could be exploited whereas bespoke software may be developed as the company needs, allowing high security businesses such as banks to secure their information behind many walls to prevent breaches.
Some companies that put focus into separating their brand from everyone else will use bespoke software. A great example is McDonald's, who have a customised website and mobile application to make their brand unique to other fast food restaurants.
How is bespoke software better than using off the shelf?
Off the shelf software may be a quick solution to getting a company started with the basic needs to function, however if you are looking at the long term benefits, bespoke software may be a more appropriate option.
A feature of bespoke software is that it grants flexibility, by having software developed specifically for your needs, you are able to plan ahead and decide what functions the software will need for the present and future of the business. If a company is to find that an additional function would be useful in the future, this could be added in a future update. Off the shelf software companies have no obligation to do so, as you are only paying for their product rather than their service.
If the company already uses a type of software for collecting data, it may not be compatible with off the shelf software for inputting results quickly and require manual attention. Bespoke software can be tailored to easily input data collection saving the need to do it through a longer process that may be necessary through non-optimised software. This may include tailoring towards customer satisfaction, being able to find out what your customers like or dislike and being able to alter that easily or quickly find data around the subject.
Time is a valuable resource in everyday business and often with off the shelf software lacking customisability, employees may find themselves redoing processes that otherwise could be made automatic through bespoke software, that was developed with that process in mind. Through increased optimisability, the increased initial cost of bespoke software may be quickly outweighed by the significant cut of time spent on completing these tasks.
No software is perfect and sometimes things can break - that goes for both off the shelf and bespoke software! However, if you are one company out of many using a software, only one company is responsible for that software and may get quite busy with fixing any problems that come through. On the other hand, as the only consumer of one piece of bespoke software, our development team is ready to sort any issues that occur. Therefore we are able to keep businesses running smoothly in the event that something goes wrong, which may be more problematic if you choose to use a popular software that is widely used.
Why should you move to bespoke software?
Many companies are moving to bespoke software as it reduces additional features that a company may not need while optimising capabilities of those functions that are required.
Using bespoke software gives a business an increased performance compared to competitors who may have been using the same off the shelf software, as doing similar tasks will be easier using software that has been optimised for that task. By setting a list of requirements for the software to have, you will be able to make sure that anything you need to perform on your software will be easy to do.
Bespoke software may reinforce corporate identity within the day to day applications you use. If the company has a mobile application for work such as deliveries, an app using bespoke software will feel more original. Likewise, the company having a unique feel will help keep consumers attracted to the product as they will be able to remember that website compared to the 'default'.
As time goes on, the use of technology increases and the standards set by consumers also rises. Off the shelf may have variance in what it can do and be easy to pick up but it will never perform as well as software that has been thought out specifically for a company, which will appeal more to the consumers as well as the employees who may be used to smooth running software at home. In the future when current software starts feeling out of date, those with bespoke software will have an easier time getting up to date whereas those using off the shelf may have to switch to other software.
Are you looking to implement bespoke software in your business? Contact Point100 today to find out how we can help transform your existing processes.