Bespoke Software vs Off-The-Shelf Software

When a Business is looking to buy a software package there are two  main options available, Either a bespoke software designed for their specific business needs or an off-the-shelf software.

Here we are looking at the pro’s and con’s for both.

Bespoke Advantages

  • Flexible – Bespoke software adapts to the growth of your business. Easily allows for process changes , increase of workloads which allows your business to expand and meets your business needs.
  • Ownership – Having your own software created for you differentiates your business and gives you full control and rights over it. It is you who manages it if it needs additional features and customisation.
  • Unique – By developing a customised software that is tailor-made to suit your business needs and ultimately gives you the results you want.
  • Security – A huge benefit of bespoke software is the security aspect. You are the only one using that software and you have complete control over it. Compared to off-the-shelf software where hackers can exploit vulnerabilities easier. A tailor-made application that is only used internally cuts down the risk of hacks.

Bespoke Disadvantages

  • Higher initial costs – It will cost more to initially set up at the beginning as you pay for the development.
  • Takes longer – Depending on the size and complexity of the software, It may take months to develop.



Off-the-Shelf Advantages

  • Cheaper –  Development costs are spread across a large number of users, so you can pay less than it would cost to build the same from scratch.
  • Immediately available – The development work has already been done, so all you need to do is set up the software and start using it.
  • Support – If the software is popular, there may be many books, online support for advice and guidance should you need to resolve any issues.
  • Functionality – Off-The-Shelf software often has more functionality because the developers have to cater for a wider number of users , trying to meet more needs.
  • Upgrades – There will be continued development of the software, so you will likely get upgrades for free or at a reduced rate, Whereas in a bespoke software you don’t get anything new unless you pay for it to be built.

Off-The-Shelf Disadvantages

  • Compromise – You may have to compromise your requirements to fit in with the software you purchase. It is unlikely you will find a software that meets all of your business needs.
  • You are not in control – As a single customer you may not get all the features you require to suit your business needs.
  • Overly complicated – The software may have a number of functions that you do not require making it overly complicated to use.

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