Procuring software for a company has always been quite a task. If you are looking for software that will help you to be faster and more efficient in everyday race you need to know that there are two options – to buy an off-the-shelf solution designed for mass-market or order bespoke software that would be made to cater to your exclusive needs. To learn about pros and cons of each option, read further.

Off-the-shelf Software – Advantages

  • When buying a ready-made solution – another name for off-the-shelf software – you get a solution that was created based on the common realia of the market. So, chances are, the developers of the software have envisaged all the standard needs of your organization. You won’t need to document the peculiarities of your business for the software development provider – all you need is just to pay the license fee.
  • Off-the-shelf software normally comes to you well-tested and with lower risk of implementation failures
  • Off-the-shelf systems never get outdated as the development team regularly comes with updates
  • You don’t need to wait for software deployment and can start using a software product right out of the box. But sometimes off-the-shelf software needs integration – in that case you or the hired consultants will spend some time on customization.
  • As off-the-shelf software is used not only by your company, but a whole industry, you will have a chance to read reviews and check forums for feedback while choosing the best fitting product and watch various guides and youtube videos when looking for ways to deal with bugs and errors.
  • You’ll also have a chance to get community support when dealing with problems, as there are other users that may face the same challenges

Off-the-shelf Software – Disadvantages

  • More often than not, buying an off-the-shelf solution you will have to pay for the excessive functionality you in most cases do not need, as off-the-shelf products contain a set of functions that cover as many cases as are available to the development team.
  • Off-the-shelf software is may be not flexible enough to cater to your niche needs, especially if you are an innovative company or a startup. So, buying software, you will need to think of what functions you can do without or bear in mind the cost of modifying your business processes to fit your business.
  • A ready-made solution can be incompatible with the infrastructure that exists in the company. In this case there’s a need to invest in changing the current infrastructure.
  • Off-the-shelf software is not flexible enough to grow and change alongside with the growth of your business. It is unlikely that the software developer will change their product roadmap to meet the needs of your business.

Bespoke Software – Advantages

  • Bespoke software is developed as a reply to a certain request or a problem, which means it will met your exclusive needs and will be helpful exactly in your situation.
  • When going bespoke, you avoid getting all the functionality that is out there and instead order what is only necessary for you business and your projects.
  • When developing bespoke software either with an in-house or outsourced developer team you will get the level of support you need. You can document and send to the tech support every single bug, and it will be followed up.
  • Software that is developed for your needs can be appended and modified the way you want it – probably new requirements will pop up later on while you accumulate the experience of working with the newly created system. Off-the-shelf software doesn’t provide this level of scalability.
  • As custom software – which is another name for bespoke software – contains only the functions that you need, individually created solutions are normally very light and are not loaded by the functions you do not need.
  • Since you are the only intellectual property owner of your software, you won’t need to pay for the growing number of users. When it comes to off-the-shelf software, you have to pay the license fee for every employee that is going to use the software.
  • Since you are the only owner of the custom software that is crafted specially for you, you can potentially sell the solution to other companies in the same industry, which may become another source of revenue for you.

Bespoke Software – Disadvantages

  • You will need to make certain investments – especially at the beginning of the development. In many cases the sum will be more than when buying software licenses.
  • You need to know your business pretty well and spend a considerable amount of time writing specifications for the development team.
  • There is certain wait time for custom software to start the deployment – it takes a few months to develop the product, including testing. But this wait time will help you save time in the long run.

Upon the whole, bespoke software is the best option if there is an innovative and unique business process that must be automated. It can be more expensive than buying an off-the-shelf solution at the initial stages, but this investment may bring great results in future. When it come to off-the-shelf software, you need to realise that it you will hardly need all the functions there’re in the box and some functions that are necessary for your business may lack.

Metamins has proven skills and vast experience in custom software development – if you have a specific request for software and need to automate your business processes, let us know and let’s work together.