Software is an indispensable part of most businesses. As a startup company or entrepreneur, you generally have two choices when it comes to software: You can buy a one-size-fits-all product off the shelf, or you can have software created just for you. The latter is known as bespoke software.
Bespoke software is software that’s custom-made for a specific customer. Just as you can have a suit tailored to your exact measurements rather than buying a ready-made one off the rack, you can hire a developer or agency to develop software designed for your company and its needs.
While there are some critics of bespoke software, it offers several benefits. Here are eight advantages of bespoke software.
1. Made just for you
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of bespoke software is that it’s made to order for your company. You don’t have to make adjustments or change the way you operate to accommodate the software. It’s designed to meet your exact needs, which can save you time and money over the long term.
2. Improved security
Buying software off the shelf may often be cheaper, faster, and even more convenient, but it’s also easier for cyber criminals to learn these products’ weak points. With a custom software package, hackers are less likely to invest time and effort into investigating weaknesses, since they won’t be able to replicate their success elsewhere.
3. Easier to scale
If you have plans to scale your business, bespoke software can make it easier to build on a platform that’s already made for you and the way your company operates. By contrast, an off-the-shelf product may lack the functionality to evolve as your needs change.
Of course, there are many off-the-shelf software solutions out there for growing businesses, but they’re generally too expensive for lean startups and entrepreneurs. You can save time and money by hiring a developer to create bespoke software on your behalf.
4. Greater control
When you build custom-made software, you’re the architect of the software from start to finish. You get to determine what’s important and how the finished product should look and operate. The idea is to build precisely what you need and leave out the rest.
You don’t get this same experience with store-bought software. In many cases, you’ll end up paying for features you don’t really need. Most startups and entrepreneurs run on tight budgets, so the idea of buying something that’s a poor fit can be tough to swallow.
In addition, when off-the-shelf software is packed with features that don’t apply to your business, this added weight can slow down your system.
5. Enhanced professionalism and legitimacy
When you build software from the ground up, you can include details that incorporate your corporate branding. These added touches give your business more credibility with customers and potential customers. For example, an auto-generated message that uses your corporate logo can lend your business an air of professionalism that resonates with clients.
6. Software ownership
With bespoke software, you commission the software’s development and you own the finished product. This means you don’t have to rely on a third-party company to provide updates or additional licenses. Because you own the software, you can use it however you wish. Furthermore, you pay once rather than keeping up with licensing fees and renewals. You can also add more users without worrying about taking on additional costs.
7. Ease of maintenance
Software needs maintenance from time to time. With software you buy out of the box, you’re somewhat at the mercy of the company that sells the software. If you spot a bug or discover a technical issue, you’re just one customer among what could be hundreds of thousands. If the software stops functioning, this could spell financial disaster for your business.
When discussing bespoke software advantages and disadvantages, you might hear critics of bespoke software claim it’s less reliable than an off-the-shelf solution. Some people claim that a tailor-made product can’t be properly vetted and tested because it hasn’t been run over and over again by a variety of users.
However, this is inaccurate. In reality, developers that create bespoke software test it thoroughly, typically working directly with the end user to put the software through its paces. Developers who create custom software design it to the customer’s specifications, and they’re involved from the design stage to the development stage.