Whether to use of the shelf software or whether to build custom software is a question a lot of businesses ask themselves when wanting to use software to resolve a business problem or take advantage of an opportunity, here we outline the 7 benefits of bespoke software development. Off the shelf software can seem like an attractive proposition, as it will allow you to implement a system, bringing order and control. It’s also obviously a lot quicker to get this implemented than a bespoke solution as it doesn’t need to be built. In the short term using out of the box software might fulfil a basic requirement but it could lack some of the functionality you need, force you to change your processes and if your business changes there is a question mark over whether the software can change with you. So considering this you need to think what the benefits of custom software are, luckily we’ve created a handy list: –
1) Square pegs in Square holes
By this we mean bespoke software is designed and built specifically around your business and your processes, so it does exactly what you need it to do. You don’t have to worry about changing your processes or having features that add no value to your business.
2) Enhancing your previous system
The likelihood is that you have grown your business from where you started which is why you now need a bespoke system. Your previous system was probably spreadsheet or document based which can work great if you are in a small team, however upgrading to a bespoke system allows you to automate repetitive tasks, store data centrally and allows multiple users to access the system at once. All of this makes analysing data easier and improves efficiency.
3) The system can evolve with you
Change is inevitable in business, hopefully it’s all good change; growth, new customers, more employees, new contracts, new markets etc. – with all this change your processes must evolve with the business otherwise they are going to be no longer fit for purpose. With bespoke software, future proofing is built into your system.
4) You are in control
As the software is built round you and your system you can dictate what changes are made to it in the future, not the case with of the shelf software where annual updates or a new version of a system can take away elements of a system that you really liked and found useful in your business.
Bespoke software can be developed to integrate with other key systems that your business uses meaning improved communication, reduced manual entry and no human error.
6) Efficient workflow
The workflow like the system in general is based on your individual processes so it aligns with your business needs and does exactly what you need it to do. This means it’s faster and easier to use when it’s operational.
A popular option for many bespoke applications is to have them accessible via an online portal, where you sign in to view your account and once logged on you can perform processes. This allows users to access the system anywhere there is an internet connection – which let’s face it is pretty much anywhere these days and it can be accessed at any time so the 9-5 office hour restrictions are gone.
Now we have discussed the 7 benefits of bespoke software, we can see the advantages of utilising them, what are the alternatives?
There are other alternatives to both bespoke software or out of the box software – the two main ones are: –
1) Open source solutions – There are some very good open source solutions available which can enable a business to keep costs down. With the help of a good developer partner this code can be customised to fit your business
2) Customisable out of the box software – Some out of the box software offers a range of tools to help you customise the system to match your processes. Microsoft CRM is a good example of this as you can create new entities and create your own custom non-code workflows. However there is only so much you can do if you are no a developer here but it does give you a great starting point.
If you’re thinking about using custom software for your next development project, contact us for a chat.