When it comes to business software, one size does not fit all. Though many excellent applications are available, they are built for general audiences. Bespoke software development is a perfect option if your business has specialist needs.
Bespoke software development has several advantages over off-the-shelf applications, which this article explores.
Keep reading to understand why more companies are looking into bespoke software development.
What is Bespoke Software Development?
Bespoke software development is the process of developing a fully customized application to fulfill a specific, typically niche, set of needs. For example, a construction firm may need a way to track building resources and project progress. Developing custom software could satisfy this need, developing suitable, specialist features.
What is Off-The-Shelf Software?
Off-the-shelf software applications are designed to fulfill the needs of general users, typically featuring non-specialist but broadly helpful functionality. Though many off-the-shelf applications provide advanced features, such as Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, they do not offer niche functionality tailored towards specific businesses. In this way, off-the-shelf software is at a disadvantage to bespoke applications.
Problems with Off-The-Shelf Applications
Off-the-shelf software may be excellent for personal use, but you risk holding your business back in several ways without bespoke software. Here are just a few significant problems with off-the-shelf software.
Though there is a large initial development fee when building bespoke software, the long-term cost of off-the-shelf applications is higher. The average licensing fee for professional business intelligence software is $3000 per annum. That means five years of use adds up to $15,000 without the specialist features you need.
What’s more, with the rise of SaaS, for all its good, companies now have to pay additional fees to unlock enterprise-level features. On the one hand, this endows off-the-shelf software with greater features; but on the other, it unnecessarily increases costs for functionality that can be achieved through bespoke software. Overall, the long-term cost of off-the-shelf software is significantly higher than a bespoke software solution.
As a growing business, you will likely need access to more features while you expand. This can mean greater functionality or additional cloud storage space. With an off-the-shelf application, you are restricted to pre-existing features and server capacity, meaning off-the-shelf software has limited scalability.
Bespoke software solutions, however, can include all the features you need, with more being developed when required. As bespoke software is under your control, you can also choose with which services you store data. This means if you need to increase cloud storage capacity, you can do so by contacting your service provider or increasing your server stack.
Off-the-shelf software solutions are developed for public use, meaning almost anyone can access these applications. This comes with security risks, such as hacking and data breaches caused by malicious users. In 2020 alone, there were over 11,000 data breaches due to human error and improper security protocols.
As bespoke software solutions are primarily developed for internal business use, they are at less risk of security breaches. With fewer users, your software vulnerabilities are less apparent and widely known, reducing the possibility of hackers infiltrating your bespoke solution. What’s more, you can develop your own security protocols that ensure your software and users are protected.
Why You Need Bespoke Software Development
Now that you understand the issues facing off-the-shelf software, it’s time to look at the benefits of bespoke solutions.
Reduce Wider Software Use
Did you know that, on average, businesses spend just six hours using SaaS applications across their whole subscriptions, despite continuing to pay roughly $300 per month? Once your own specialist software is developed, your dependency on your other applications will diminish. As a result, you will save money on monthly and annual SaaS subscription fees, as well as hefty licensing agreements.
What’s more, the essential functionalities featured within off-the-shelf applications can be developed into your own software. This means you benefit from specialist functionality without the recurring costs, making bespoke software development a cost-effect solution.
One of the greatest draws to bespoke software solutions is the specialist functionality they bring. When working with a software development company, like Idea Maker, you can request whichever features are needed to aid business operations, tailoring your software to your exact requirements.
The best software development companies will have a clearly outlined development procedure, emphasizing discussion. During this production stage, you can determine what functionalities should be included in your application, no matter how niche your industry is. Thus, you will have a fully customized, specialist application.
As previously discussed, off-the-shelf software is not cost-effective; however, this goes beyond just subscription and licensing fees. Often, when investing in new software, you must update your hardware and tech stacks. This is avoided with bespoke software solutions as they can be developed to work with your existing technology.
As a result, you don’t need to spend time and money replacing hardware with new alternatives, making bespoke software cost-effective on multiple fronts. Additionally, many first-rate development companies will offer post-release support options, allowing your application to remain maintained at an economical price.
Updates When Required
As your company expands, you’ll likely encounter more software requirements. With bespoke software, new features can be integrated as and when needed without waiting for a service provider to release updates.
Likewise, you’ll inevitably run into bugs and technical issues. When using off-the-shelf software, you’d need to report these problems and hope that the service provider swiftly resolves them. Developing bespoke software means you have control over when the application is updated, so you can fix and update issues as they arise, maintaining smooth operations.
How to Choose The Right Software Development Company
Custom software development is a powerful alternative to off-the-shelf solutions. However, your application must be developed correctly, or else you face implementing unreliable software into your operations. There are many ways to spot a high-quality software developer, as outlined in Idea Maker’s extensive guide and the following factors.
Explore Their Portfolio
The first step to identifying the right bespoke software development company is to examine its portfolio. By doing this, you can determine their expertise and whether they are suited to your project. For example, they may have little experience developing within your industry and, as such, are unable to understand your needs adequately.
Exploring a developer’s portfolio also allows you to test the quality of their work first-hand. If they have developed mobile applications, websites, or public software, you can download and explore their previous projects. This allows you to uncover their strengths and weaknesses without conducting penetrating preliminary interviews.
Review Customer Testimonials
Quality of development is not the only important factor to consider when hiring a developer; you must also appraise their customer service and communication skills. This is done by reviewing customer testimonials on websites such as Clutch. Clutch offers users verified reviews on product quality and developer attentiveness, so you can be sure to choose the best developer.
You must ensure the development company you work with has a proven track record of exceptional customer service. Working with an uncommunicative developer will lead to software that doesn’t meet your expectations. As a result, your bespoke software will be substandard and cost more money to rectify.
What Services Do They Provide?
The best developers will provide several services beyond bespoke software development that can be integrated into your application. For example, at Idea Maker, we offer custom database development and cross-platform app development. This means we can build bespoke software that effectively integrates your business’s databases while making it compatible across devices.
Hiring a developer that offers multiple services is an excellent way to diversify your bespoke application. Most developers will feature a complete list of their expertise on their website. Otherwise, you may need to reach out directly to learn more about their services.
Onshore vs. Offshore
In your search for bespoke software developers, you’ll likely encounter many offshore companies claiming to offer low-cost solutions. Though they may charge low hourly rates, offshore development is as low quality as it is cheap, with several hidden fees. You can read more about the perils of offshore development in Idea Maker’s guide.
Onshore software developers provide high-quality development services and are bound by local laws. This means if ever a dispute arises between you and your developer, there are mechanisms in place to enable a swift legal resolution. Additionally, though costs may seem higher, you’re paying for quality and thus will spend less on maintenance in the long run.
Post-Release Support Options
No matter how qualified a developer is, it’s nearly impossible to build entirely bug-free software. As such, you must expect that your bespoke application will encounter bugs and technical issues at some point post-development. This means hiring a development company with comprehensive post-release support options is imperative.
Post-release support is a professional duty, one we take here at Idea Maker very seriously. However, many development companies claim to offer post-development support but fail to do so when required. One way to check if a development company provides adequate support is to download and test their previous applications for functionality impairments.
After reading this article, you should now understand why more companies are looking into bespoke software development. This article covered:
- What is custom software development?
- What is off-the-shelf development?
- Problems with off-the-shelf development
- Why you need bespoke software development
- How to choose the right software developer
Bespoke Software Development with Idea Maker
If you’re looking for high-quality bespoke software solutions, consider working with Idea Maker. We have a team of professionals dedicated to providing exceptional, intelligent custom developments. Schedule a free consultation with us today to learn more.