Why bespoke software can be a cost effective alternative to off-the-shelf software

03/05/18

Do you want to change the way you collect and manage data? Perhaps you’ve been using MS Excel to record information about potential customers and now you need a better alternative - a single database that holds one consistent set of data and makes reporting easier.

One option is to go down the off-the-shelf application route. Sign-up for a online customer relationship management (CRM) system like Zoho CRM. You replace the ad-hoc MS Excel solution with a third party web application.

Another option is to pay a software development company to build (and probably host) a bespoke solution. It sounds more expensive and the upfront costs will almost certainly be higher, but in the medium to long term it will save you money. It could also change your business - open up new opportunities - in a way that the off-the-shelf system cannot. A well designed bespoke application is a smart investment.

Why could the bespoke application be more cost effective?

  1. It can be built to fit your business processes. That means lower training costs and less impact on the way you currently work. You streamline admin.

  2. You don’t have to worry about licensing costs if your user numbers grow. Will your clients use part of the application? Many cloud based SaaS applications get seriously expensive when your user numbers grow - the bespoke option begins to look more attractive.

  3. You can integrate with other back office systems and make further cost savings.

  4. You can extend it to become customer facing - there may be opportunities to generate further revenue. Again, no need to worry about additional licensing costs.

  5. It can evolve as your business grows - it is inherently more flexible.

There are two things to keep in mind when you start to think about paying a software development company to develop a custom application:

  1. Good requirements analysis before the development starts is really important - you want a software company that works hard to understand how your business works.

  2. Think longer term right from the start. Get a strong sense of where you want the application to go and work hard to avoid ad-hoc enhancements. Think like a product owner - does a proposed new feature really add more value?

A good bespoke software application will transform the way your business works. It will more than pay for itself - eliminating frustrating admin and generating new revenue.