BSPOKE Software | Digital Transformation Partners

Off the shelf software vs. custom software

As a business owner, whether you run a local cafe or a chain of restaurants, you’re going to need some software. The first decision you’ll need to make is deciding which software to purchase. For example,  you could choose a ready-made package, such as the Microsoft Suite or bespoke software.  Bespoke software is just another term for custom-made software tailored uniquely to your business requirements.

Often, many businesses begin with off-the-shelf software, and that’s ok. Using this software often highlights where required features are lacking or missing. This is where bespoke software solutions come in.

Bespoke software allows you to upgrade your current systems with a more tailored approach. As it’s no longer generic, your software is designed to support your business needs and roles. For instance, a piece of custom software could be designed to follow up client payment emails and then mark them as payment received.

This article discusses why you should consider upgrading to custom software over off-the-shelf. We compare the two concepts to help you make an informed decision.

Keeping things simple

Firstly, as custom software is created exclusively for your business, it’s often easier to use. However, this is not always the case. For example some staff may struggle to learn new systems and prefer the familiarity of the old software.

Nevertheless, custom software will become easier to use quickly as it’s tailored to your business.  As long as training is in place and is accessible to all employees. If your employees do struggle to use it, changes can always be made to simplify it which is another benefit of custom software.

Easy to upgrade over time

Control of upgrades for regular software is in the hands of the company that developed it. This can be a massive downside when looking to scale your business.  Alternatively, if the software needs editing, improving or upgrading, as the owner of a custom software system you get to decide when.

This is a huge advantage, keeping your business ahead of the curve and ready to expand at a moment’s notice. Perhaps you like your current software but you don’t like some features. If this is the case, we can create a similar version of this with tweaks to suit your liking, creating a more efficient and enjoyable software experience for your business.

Furthermore, if you have multiple stores or ‘bases of operations,’ then this software can be directly applied (and edited if necessary) to each individual office.

Bespoke software may cost a little more …

One downside that often keeps business chained to off-the-shelf software is the cost it takes some developers to build  it. However, when you think of these costs, it’s important to calculate the money, time, and effort you’ll save by creating more efficient systems.

For example, upgrading your software may replace the need for additional staff, saving you money, or allowing you to dedicate work hours to more important tasks. As a business owner, automatic work processes are key, allowing you to prioritise more urgent work while your business takes care of itself.

Custom software solutions provide an easier way to do business.

Off-the-shelf software won’t always fit your needs

Although off-the-shelf software is usually more affordable, this type of software rarely fits your business needs well. Don’t get us wrong, using a generic piece of software at the start is great, allowing you to save money while initially building your business.

However, you can go a step further than this. Once you’re ready to upgrade, perhaps gaining more business or demand, bespoke software allows you to create tailor-made systems specific to your operations.

If created properly, these can help you save further money in the long run, increasing business efficiency, and streamlining operations to help your business function optimumly.

Custom software saves you money in the long run!

Unlike regular software that incurs monthly billing costs and maintenance charges, bespoke software is usually offered at a one-time fee. Sometimes a little extra needed for hosting and large edits. But even with these costs combined, you’ll save money especially if you use the software for years.

Furthermore, bespoke software offers incredible value. With select features and tailor-made systems and operations, you can streamline your services into easy to digest, efficient widgets.

Both options offer support

Finally, it’s important to note that both off-the-shelf software and bespoke software offer support options. The level of software support, depends on the software provider. However, when you choose custom software, you get a dedicated team who know your business and is there to support you.

We’re not saying that off-the-shelf software support can’t do the same, but you can expect a higher level of service and expertise when going the route of bespoke software support.

Custom software doesn’t have to cost a fortune

Many people think custom software is only for Fortune 500 companies. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Businesses are increasingly turning towards bespoke software and investing in a more tailored approach for their business management.

The benefits of this increasing business efficiency and reduced working hours will be saving you money in the long run.

If you’re ready to ditch your off-the-shelf software for custom software, we’d love to hear from you. To find out more information or get in touch with the team, click here.

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