Developing bespoke software has moved from being a privilege to becoming a requirement as businesses have moved online. Users engaging with such digitally transformed businesses are assured to receive a distinctive experience offering these businesses a competitive edge. Bespoke software aids in addressing the pain areas of the users and thereby offering an intuitive engagement experience.
The market for bespoke software development services is worth $70 billion and is expanding at a 5% annual rate, according to Gartner research. In this study, the contractors throughout this heterogeneous industry were identified, and it was observed that these businesses manage to grow at rates of over 20% annually.
What do you mean by bespoke software and how it differs from its counterpart?
Bespoke software is an application that is built specifically to meet a need. In other words, the software is developed to satisfy the requirements of a certain client and the majority of the time, it is created for and licensed to a particular client who is also responsible for maintaining it.
Theoretically, a custom software application is the specific tailor-made version of the software that comes off the shelf, also known as OTS which in most cases has very limited customisation models. While bespoke software is generally confined to the specific objectives of an individual client and is financed by the particular customer, OTS software (off–the–shelf) is normally developed to fulfil the general needs of a broad range of customers. It entails customising the application to suit the target market, the company’s culture, and its goals. In most cases, custom software is not bound by licenses unless the product owner decides to restrict its usage if the bespoke software application is modelled as a product. On the other hand, OTS in its modern SaaS format is often regulated by licenses and restricted by features to suit various user types.
This signifies that the technologies are tailored to the demands of the organization and its target customer, whether it’s an application for the backend sales or marketing department or a mobile phone app that visitors directly interact with.
In order to design a solution for a company to operate, align with its business processes and capitalise on its USPs, bespoke software applications are often utilised to address a particular set of needs for a business. Whatever the goal, a custom solution can quickly establish a strong competitive edge. The goal may be to increase sales, improve customer service, reduce costs, increase staff well-being, or increase productivity.
But how can you tell if you require bespoke software development or only off-the-shelf options? Let us now discuss various scenarios in which custom-developing such an application is crucial.
When Do You Need Bespoke Software Development?
How do you decide if custom development is the best course of action when you intend to develop software for your company? Let’s think about the top 7 reasons why you need them.
1) When you require specialised features and security in a Software
Since every company is different, it might be challenging to obtain software that matches the USP demand. Custom software development enables you to incorporate any number of functions and capabilities that your company demands, and the result is a package that is built to specifically meet your needs. These capabilities include security features to protect financial data for the company’s clients as well as for the company itself. Working with customised products not only provides you with a lot of room and opportunity to develop, but it also shows that you are committed to the modernization and success of your business.
Therefore, you can choose bespoke development if you want to produce high-quality products with improved security functionalities and intuitive user experience. The most useful feature contrary to OTS software is right in front of you and not hidden somewhere.
2) Adapting to changes and being flexible
We noted earlier that the business environment is constantly changing. Therefore, organisations must transform or risk becoming obsolete. Hence, it’s critical that you are the best at identifying the difficulties and obstacles that your company encounters. If you don’t want to be constrained by software and want to develop it at your own level of intensity, it makes more sense to design a system that is adaptable to your company’s operations.
By choosing custom software development, it will be simpler to respond to shifting industry trends and the response time would be much shorter. When the time comes to consolidate your business operations, it will save you time and effort even though it initially demands more money for development and investment. Only small businesses in the early stage of the business cycle, where the emphasis is on building the company from the ground up and processes are not yet steady, may benefit from off-the-shelf solutions.
If you really want to add greater value to your business by launching new offerings quickly and flexibly, bespoke software development may support you in incorporating modifications to the existing system. The possibility of scalability and continuous improvement by re-engineering is another advantage of bespoke software development.
3) When current operations and processes need to be optimised.
Businesses within the same sector can differ in their business models and processes. The workflows demand to be tailored to a meticulous manner in order to enable routine functions to operate more effectively. If these specific workflows are not managed appropriately, the internal users are forced to perform additional tasks resulting in inefficiency and operational roadblocks. With bespoke software implementation, you are bang on the target. Using the latest Agile and DevOps models, these roadblocks are addressed efficiently thereby improving user experience and overall productivity.
If increasing operational effectiveness is a top concern for your company, it’s time to start working on a bespoke software development project. It allows you to easily optimise your processes using a custom development methodology, in contrast, to continuously trying various OTS software tools that will prove to be a misfit in your unique business environment.
4) Seamless handshake with Third parties or other Internal Systems
Even within the same organisation, departments may not operate in alignment considering the operational model that needs to follow by each of these departments may vary. This often leads to the use of various software tools and platforms within the same organisation which often creates roadblocks when it comes to data sharing within the departments resulting in technical glitches that lower productivity and effectiveness. It becomes simpler to combine your solution with the other software which is already in use, thanks to the environment created by the development of bespoke software. Off-the-shelf solutions are quite highly unlikely to function flawlessly when used together, which hinders the performance of employees and hinders the efficiency of business operations.
Custom software development might enable you to integrate various systems into a single application. Classic examples are middleware and reporting dashboards. It is feasible to automate several departments more efficiently into a single central system with the aid of bespoke software development services. Furthermore, it may easily integrate into the software ecosystem of any firm and allows for error-free interaction with other software packages. These benefits all help to avoid integration-related problems.
5) When you need to significantly improve scalability.
Businesses need to grow in order to generate more money, whether they are start-ups or large organisations. There may be obstacles to development procedures along the journey, which could limit future business expansion.
With the help of bespoke software development, you may organise and get ready to handle anticipated difficulties. Businesses can always tweak custom software to suit their needs. By incorporating cutting-edge solutions to speed up operations and increase revenue, obstacles can be overcome more effortlessly.
Thus, custom software development enables you to get ready for improved business procedures as your company grows in the future, which is important if you want to position it for success.
6) When you need ownership, reliable secure software, efficient maintenance, and support.
Security of data, be it internal data or customer data is a critical aspect. Unlike SaaS-based OTS where the database is often stored off-premises in a public cloud, custom software offers an option to store the data on a secure and accessible hosting environment chosen by the business entity. This could be an on-premises server or a private cloud availed by the organisation. Another advantageous aspect is that the architecture of the database can be designed to best suit the application performance, security and scalability which only a custom development model can offer.
Businesses often have different operational timings which make SaaS maintenance tricky. However, for custom software, the downtime for the maintenance window can be scheduled and managed considering the operational demands of a business. If the architecture is planned intelligently, even the downtime demanded by a patch update or a feature implementation can be managed without little or no impact on critical business operations.
Another aspect is the ownership of the software, unlike OTS or SaaS applications in most cases the business owner is also the product owner and therefore the source code and the ownership of the bespoke software rests with the business offering them greater control and flexibility to re-engineer or scale the application in order to meet the specific and timely demands of the changing business model and market demands. Opting for a custom software development also lets you control your expenses on licensing costs and policy changes of the OTS or SaaS vendor or service provider. All you need is to bring in the specific skillset of resources in a particular technology stack used for developing the bespoke software.
7) When You Need Budget-Friendly Software Solutions.
From a long-term ROI perspective, bespoke software is ideal for large organisations with numerous users. Also, a crucial factor to be considered is that you are paying for only the most critical features needed by your users. Often it is observed that when an OTS or SaaS application is purchased, businesses end up paying the cost of numerous unwanted features and the most demanded features are either absent or call for laborious customisation resulting in additional expenditure and implementation time. Also, the chances of successful and seamless implementation of these features are highly unlikely. Above these highly specialised skills are needed for customisation resulting in on-demand higher budget allocations.
Off-the-shelf software licencing frequently requires the purchase of supplemental hardware in order for it to function properly, which might result in you in a hefty price in the long term. Also, it has been observed that SaaS and OTS applications might have engaged with third parties used for the project for which separate licenses have to be procured. Bespoke software takes into account the capability of the hardware that is already in use, helping you save costs and prevent the needless acquisition of more systems. Even though creating a custom application may initially seem expensive, particularly for start-ups, it is guaranteed to be economical in the long run. You can use it to create a system that meets particular business demands while also making plans for the future.
Functional requirements can be added, removed, or changed more easily to accommodate unforeseen changes. It will ensure that future running expenses are as low as possible.
Take Full Advantage of Bespoke Software
Since the consumer is the centre of your organisation, you are the best person to understand their demands. As much as possible, identify the trends that your target audience is following and include them in your application development. Customers are more satisfied with your company when they receive more personalised service. Therefore, you should take full advantage of bespoke software development to enhance client engagement and foster stronger loyalty.