The growing popularity of bespoke software development among organizations of all types and sizes didn’t come out of nowhere. Numerous advantages of tailored software exceed what commercial, off-the-shelf systems have to offer in the vast majority of cases. In this blog, we want to list these benefits, to illustrate that investing in custom software development is the best way to achieve the desired ROI and boost an organization’s growth.
Bespoke software development basics
Before we dive deep into bespoke software development pros and cons, let’s recap what hides under this term. Bespoke, also called custom or tailored software development, means that instead of purchasing a generic “off-the-shelf” solution, a system is custom developed – either by an internal development department or an external software development company. Long story short – it is software created for specific users to match their exact requirements, so an organization isn’t forced to adapt to what’s already available on the market. This way, tailored software ensures being effective and user-friendly in a particular scenario, enabling a company to gain a competitive edge by making the most out of its unique strengths.
Bespoke software development benefits
Tools are meant to work for you, not the other way around, and there’s no better way to apply this rule within your organization than by choosing tailored software development over commercial prepacked solutions. Off-the-shelf systems are meant to fit numerous organizations, situations and business processes, which results in having either not enough functionalities, too many of them or simply having features that are not a perfect reflection of your business processes to let such systems be purchased by as many organizations as possible. Thus, these force you to either change your ways of working or simply do some of the tasks without the system’s help.
With tailored software it’s exactly the opposite – as its name suggests, it is developed according to one’s requirements, and the finished system should be a perfect reflection of your business process. You won’t end paying for features that won’t be used, and each of the developed functionalities will provide exactly what you need to work effectively and grow, which allows us to smoothly transfer to the second point.
As your business grows, your needs change, and we can look at the shift from two angles. The first is simpler – the growth in scale requires the growth of system capacity and that may lead to a point when buying licenses and system segments will become extremely costly, making the investment in tailored software development look small. Yet, more on costs will come later.
Looking at it from the second angle is far more important. With your organization’s growth, your processes might also shift, and the software should be adapted to current realities. What worked before, might not be working after some time, and the functionalities included in the off-the-shelf systems are limited. At the same time, your custom software should be scalable, ready to be constantly improved, and as result should perfectly fit your organizational reality over time, serving its purpose of boosting the effectiveness of the work while the scale of your operations grows.
Probably we’ve all been in a situation where it was impossible to integrate two or more tools, which forced us to do additional work, making us lose not only time but also a lot of motivation. And while most pre-packed solutions offer a lot of integration possibilities, these are limited to what their creators thought was necessary. Bespoke software development allows you to ensure integration with whatever tool you need and, as stated above, when your needs change the system can be adapted, allowing you to rest assured that the workflow will always be smooth sailing.
Read also: Main areas of software development
Extensive data protection
Nowadays data protection is one of the crucial elements of well-crafted software. Although most off-the-shelf solutions offer a satisfactory level of protection, for companies that work with sensitive data that might not be enough. Bespoke software development allows implementing all the security measures one might require, making your systems as safe as houses.
What’s more, commercial software used by numerous organizations all over the world is more frequently the target of attacks. Hackers getting access to an off-the-shelf solution may cause harm to a wide range of data from multiple companies, which makes them more willing to take the risks associated with the potential detection of their actions. Thus, having custom software you can not only benefit from implementing security standards that perfectly correspond with your requirements, but that choice should also make your organization a less tempting target for cybercriminals.
The importance of having systems match a company’s needs and processes is important, yet there’s more to it. Studies show that people who use software they like are less likely to change jobs and are more effective. And what might be better than solutions tailored perfectly for an exact scenario and process they use every day?
When it comes to the most popular commercial systems used widely all over the world, one may assume that the service would be available 24/7 and all potential troubles would be fixed immediately. However, especially with niche products, the number of uncertainties grow – what if a company responsible for a product goes bankrupt and as result stops supporting the system?
While a complete lack of support is the worst-case scenario, with commercial software, you’re at the mercy of the system creators. Lack of frequent updates and improvements may force you to either use outdated solutions or make additional investments, whether buying another system or starting the development of custom software.
Read also: Custom Apps Development
Having the software developed for your company, you maintain full control and in the case of any failures, it can be fix and business continuity ensured. Additionally, you may update it whenever that would provide additional value for your organization. What’s more, that doesn’t require having an extensive internal development team – partnering with a proven software development company to which you might outsource the creation of such system and its further development, allows to rest assured that they would be more than capable to fix any potential troubles, ensure that technical problems won’t slow you down and provide guidance to help you make the utmost out of technological possibilities.
The initial investment required to develop custom software usually exceeds the costs of ready-made solution implementation. However, such a solution not only requires recurring payments (usually monthly or yearly) but also the costs are growing if you want the system to be used by more users, and you need more data to be stored.
Therefore, the high upfront costs of custom software compared to e.g., a 5-year off-the-shelf software subscription, might be less expensive if the comparison is made through overall costs – even if we would include the costs of maintenance of custom software. However, always remember that the better the system is planned and developed the easier it would be to scale and maintain it so ensure to choose reliable bespoke software development partner to reduce the costs related. And what’s more, that’s only the cost perspective, without considering the return on investment that one might get from all the other listed benefits of bespoke software development.
When bespoke software development might not be the best choice?
While custom software development is a better alternative in most cases, there are some situations when choosing an off-the-shelf solution is simply a better decision.
The problem to be solved is easy and generic
While the benefits of custom software are clear, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Let’s illustrate that with an example of communication systems. Crafting such an app from scratch would be like using a bazooka to kill flies. Having access to industry-standard communication systems that cover almost every aspect with a low price makes them a better choice than developing tailored software for messaging and video calls.
You require a system immediately
There are times when one needs to implement a solution as soon as possible – and when time is the most important factor, an off-the-shelf solution is a viable option. Nevertheless, due to all the elements listed above, such a decision should be treated as temporary, since in the long run, an investment in bespoke software development is more likely to pay off.
If you buy cheap, you pay dearly
As you can clearly see, the temptation of a low upfront investment and short time to launch of a ready-made, generic system will likely backfire over time, generating more problems than solutions. Thus, the best practice is to plan long-term and benefit from future-proof custom software that is designed according to one’s needs and ready for further development and all the necessary adjustments.
But what if you don’t have the required development capacity in-house? Well, the best one can do, is to reach for help from a proven software development company, that would be able to effectively deal with all the potential obstacles. How to kickstart and manage such cooperation? Take a look at our ebook to learn more about effective software development outsourcing or simply fill in the contact form below – our experts are available to discuss your needs and find the best way to reach your goals.
About the authorSoftware Mind
Software Mind provides companies with autonomous development teams who manage software life cycles from ideation to release and beyond. For over 20 years we’ve been enriching organizations with the talent they need to boost scalability, drive dynamic growth and bring disruptive ideas to life. Our top-notch engineering teams combine ownership with leading technologies, including cloud, AI, data science and embedded software to accelerate digital transformations and boost software delivery. A culture that embraces openness, craves more and acts with respect enables our bold and passionate people to create evolutive solutions that support scale-ups, unicorns and enterprise-level companies around the world.