Software options are seemingly limitless these days, but choosing the right software solution for your organization is critical to business success. Although off-the-shelf software solutions offer ease-of-use, faster deployment timelines, and technical support, they often lack the opportunity for extensive customization and configuration. Because of this, some organizations choose bespoke software development to help address their technology challenges.
Bespoke software, also known as custom, or tailor-made software, specifically addresses the requirements of a business or organization. Typically, this software can be built by an in-house team of developers or leased from an external vendor.
So who wouldn’t want a digital tool that offers all of the features and functionality you want, with none of the fluff? Despite the advantages, bespoke software development does present significant drawbacks worth considering before moving forward.
To find out if bespoke software development is right for your business, consider these pros and cons and determine if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
Benefits of bespoke software development
It’s a custom solution tailored to your organization’s needs
One-size-fits-all software may offer great features, but different businesses require different solutions, which off-the-shelf products may not be able to provide. Bespoke software solutions are built to meet unique specifications, ensuring that you pay only for the features you need and not extra features that will go unused. In addition, bespoke software can help reduce some of the pain points of digital transformation by meeting an organization where it’s at instead of translating business processes to match a software’s functionality.
It’s more scalable
Scalability is an important consideration when choosing enterprise software. Off-the-shelf options may be inexpensive but not suitable for large businesses or enterprises. When they do scale up to support large companies, they can be costly to license for many users. With bespoke software, licensing fees are eliminated, so adding individual users to the installed solution does not imply new costs.
It allows organizations to take ownership of their data and security
Standard software solutions may be accessible to a greater number of users, but they can also be more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Although bespoke software isn’t inherently more secure because it’s custom-built, it does enable organizations to have more input regarding security levels. In addition, because access is limited to a smaller user base, less information regarding potential vulnerabilities is available to malevolent actors. Custom-built software usually presents a smaller reward to attackers because data is limited to fewer users and organizations.
Make updates when you need them
Bespoke software enables organizations to add features, make updates, or fix bugs as needed. Submitting feedback for new features or functionality to off-the-shelf software vendors can take a long time to implement, which can dampen productivity and business efficiency. Comparatively, bespoke software puts you in the driver’s seat to prioritize which features are updated and on what timeline to help businesses run more smoothly.
Faster return on investment
One significant benefit of bespoke software is that solutions are developed according to business specifications. Because of this, custom-built software is often easier to implement, which helps organizations gain access to custom features they need to streamline business processes. As a result, bespoke software typically has a faster return on investment because it only targets the specific areas that the business has identified as opportunities for greater efficiency.
Disadvantages of bespoke software development
Greater financial investment upfront
Although bespoke software may offer a faster return on investment than standard software services, it also requires a substantial upfront investment. Software development is costly, not only to develop but to maintain over time. Bugs happen, software features need to be updated, and innovations may make software functionalities obsolete. Because of this, it’s necessary to consider whether custom-built software is something that your organization is willing to continue to invest in throughout the lifetime of the product.
Requires significant consumption of time and other resources
If you’re looking for a quick solution to your software woes, bespoke software probably isn’t it. Building software from the ground up takes time, whether outsourced to a boutique software development company or managed entirely in-house. For small to mid-sized companies, it’s not unreasonable to suggest timelines of a year or more. And for large enterprises, it could take significantly longer. This makes it essential to consider both short-term and long-term software strategies to ensure that your business can stay operational while developing a bespoke solution.
Is bespoke software development right for your business?
Bespoke software can require a steep investment. As a result, bespoke software may turn out to be an expensive overkill for businesses that need fairly standard technical specifications. However, bespoke software may be necessary to containerize operations within a protected environment for companies operating in complex or highly regulated industries.
Where there’s a high risk, there’s also a high reward – especially when it comes to software innovation. Amazon and eBay are perfect examples of businesses that capitalized on custom software development to become household names in the tech industry. For companies willing to take the risk, bespoke software development can offer limitless opportunities to elevate operations and tap into yet-to-be-discovered consumer markets.
About the authorJuan Pablo González
Working as Foreworth’s Chief Technical Officer, Juan Pablo (JP) manages the company’s technical strategy. With nearly 20 years of experience in software development, he ensures the development process at Foreworth is meeting its keys objectives and technical requirements.More info →