Every business has diverse requirements and needs to implement efficient software solutions which can improve work flow, processes and output. Most of the software in use is called Commercial Off-the-Shelf Software, also known as Packaged Software. This software can fulfill the requirements of many organisations but is not suitable to the meet the specific needs and expectations of every client.
On the other hand, Bespoke Software (or Custom Software) is built as per the exact needs of a business. It can adapt to the current requirements as well as future needs of a business. This makes the process smooth and improves the working efficiency. Many organisations prefer to develop a Bespoke Application which is tailored to meet the needs of the organisation.
So, which type of software should an organisation or an individual use? There are two sides of the same coin. Similarly, Bespoke Software and Custom Software have their benefits and disadvantages. Let us discuss this further in order to help organisations to take the right decision.
The Advantages of Off the Shelf Software
- The first benefit for any organisation is that Off-the-Shelf Software is relatively cheaper than Bespoke Software since there are many end users.
- This software offers more number of features as more resources have been used for its development. This is possible because the revenue earned from such software is higher than Custom Software.
- Support, maintenance services and help manuals for this software are easily available (at a lesser cost) as a large numbers of users are using the software.
- It is easier to share files since it is likely that other users are also using the same software.
- There is no need to spend time on the development process.
The Disadvantages of Off the-Shelf Software
- This software is highly complicated and may require a lot of time to learn. It has many features which are not used at all.
- By its very nature this software is designed for a large number of users. So, the organisation will need to adapt and alter work practices which meet the requirements of the software, and not the other way around.
- You cannot gain an edge over your competitors as everyone has access to the same software.
- The organisation has no control over the development and thus cannot make any changes to the software, even if it feels the need to do so.
- If an individual faces some problem, then his concerns may take a long time before the organisation solves the issue.
The Advantages of Bespoke Software
- Bespoke Software is designed to meet the specific requirements of an organisation. So, it is perfectly tailored to the needs of a business and operates accordingly.
- This software is developed as per specific needs and is flexible. It can solve existing issues easily and has the potential to adapt to future needs as well.
- Bespoke Software can easily integrate with existing systems and provide a fully integrated IT infrastructure.
- It provides an easier and intuitive user interface. It does not contain unnecessary features which are not of use to a particular organisation.
- In case users face any problems, they can directly contact the developers and get the issue resolved quickly. It saves precious time and resources.
- The developers of Bespoke Software can suggest more options and innovative features to improve productivity and efficiency of an organisation.
- An organisation can gain an edge over the competition by using Custom Software as the competitors are not using the same software.
The Disadvantages of Bespoke Software
- This software is developed by a single company, so requires a higher investment initially for the development as compared to Packaged Software. A business needs to compare the costs and the expected benefits in order to come to the right conclusion.
- It is important to be wise in choice of developers. You need the services of an experienced and a highly professional team who follow the best industry practices to develop Custom Software. An inexperienced team can deliver software which is unstable and has many bugs.
- It is important to get a copy of the source code; else an organisation will be dependent on goodwill of the developers.
- This application is designed to meet specific needs and can take a longer time to implement.
- A Bespoke Software offers you a competitive edge and higher revenues. Moreover, it is easier to use. At the same time, it involves a higher investment in terms of money and time. An Off-the-Shelf Software is a cost-effective solution which is used by many people.
So, it is essential for organisation to evaluate the pros and cons before coming to any conclusion.