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The Advantages of Bespoke Software
Some businesses will not consider the option of bespoke software
development (i.e. commissioning the development of a software
solution from scratch) because they assume that the process will
be more time consuming and more expensive than the alternatives.
This assumption, in many cases, can prove to be incorrect
- please read on...
Do you need 'mainstream' software?
If you are looking for a Stock Control application or a Sales Ledger package,
a Payroll solution or a Tax software product then there are many to choose
from and an off-the-shelf product may well suit your needs. However, many
businesses require more specialised software solutions for which there
is less choice available and, perhaps, a bespoke development is at least
Finding a product is time-consuming
While you may be reluctant to invest time describing and agreeing the
requirements for bespoke software development, remember that finding an
off-the-shelf product is also time consuming. You need to decide exactly
what you are looking for, research the market, arrange demonstrations,
compare the available products and reach a decision. If you are not happy
with your shortlist, you may have to repeat the cycle.
Will you know the right product when you see it?
How will you identify the right product? It is easy to be impressed by the
appearance of a software product and by its literature and claims. Can you
really tell from one or two demonstrations that it will do the job for you?
In practice, unless you arrange multiple demonstrations or a trial period of
live use, you will not know if it is right for you.
Will you need to adapt your business?
No off-the-shelf software package is likely to match your requirements
exactly. You may have to pay the supplier to adapt it for you (if they
are willing to do so) or you may have to change aspects of your business
to suit the software. If the latter, it is important that you are not forced
to make changes to your business that might actually decrease your
efficiency or, worse, lose an edge over your competitors.
"But bespoke development will be so expensive"
Not necessarily! First of all, the power of software development tools
currently available and the sophistication of databases and reporting tools
means that development is a lot faster than it used to be. Also, these days
software is often made up of a number of re-usable components - perhaps
80% of your own requirements could be met by using or modifying
such components leaving
only a small amount of truly bespoke effort.
You can actually PROFIT from a bespoke development
Have you considered that any bespoke application developed for your use
could be of value to others in the same business? At Phase Software, if we
believe that a bespoke application has the potential itself to become an
off-the-shelf product, we would take this factor into account when costing
the development. Also, in such cases, we will often offer a return on future
sales, subsidised support or free updates to the client who commissioned the
original development. However, the wishes of any client to maintain the
individuality of their software would, of course, be respected.
With a bespoke development you will often have the option to own the resulting software outright. This option gives you much greater control over direction and cost. As your business grows, you may choose to build your own software development team who would be able to complement or replace the services offered by the original supplier. Also, if you want to install the software on multiple PC's and/or in other locations you will not be restricted by volume or site licensing constraints.