14th Mar // 2016

Bespoke or Off the Shelf

Bespoke or Off the Shelf

When investing in your software solution, a very important question to ask is what are the benefits of using bespoke software over off the shelf? There can be huge differences in terms of financial cost, flexibility and ongoing maintenance.

Here at Fabric we have built both but we make sure we do what's best for you as a client and keep you informed of the best method for you personally.

The meaning of bespoke software is that the software is designed from nothing, a blank page and then built up by a team of developers. The advantages of this is that the software can be designed specifically for your business and will directly target your business objectives. Your solution will be fully integrated into your current system so you don't need to worry if its compatible plus we can make sure that the software meets any legislation that your product will require. A significant advantage to bespoke software is that it will be built to scale so as you become more and more successful with your software you don't need to rebuild the system costing time and money, a real risk for a lot of people out there. Also as time goes on your business objectives will change and you will need to change the software, with bespoke, the software grows with your business, meaning that the software is always 100% effective. Another great benefit is that you could own the rights to the software meaning that if your bespoke application is successful you can sell it later on for a profit or it could be seen as a valuable asset of your business.

The downside to bespoke software is that it could be more expensive and it may take more of work to get it up and running. It can be difficult for the client to explain their requirements and errors and misunderstandings at early stages of development can lead to spiralling costs and delayed delivery. However here at Fabric we have over 10 years of experience to make sure that does not happen. You will have a dedicated business analyst or project manager that works with you that will not only obtain the requirements but will discuss what competitors are doing with similar business objectives and offer alternative ideas and advice so you get the best solution that meets your business objectives as efficiently as possible. After the software is built you may want to extend it to be compatible with systems of others like customers and suppliers. At Fabric we use the latest technologies that allows us to make it compatible with other software after the solution is built with minimal time and cost. As our solutions are built in modern technologies, it means that any competent developer will be able to maintain and adapt any system. Our systems also tend to be more secure than off the shelf solutions as they are built more robustly and are less likely to be targeted by hackers.

Off the shelf solutions are when you use a pre-built solution that you can download and use for your own purposes. This solution is usually cheaper, easy to install and easy to use with lots of support but the business must work around the software instead of the software working around the business. The software only meets the perceived needs of a particular market sector in a one size fits all approach. The software has a limited performance and you gain no advantage over competitors. You may also need to perform more frequent security updates as off the shelf systems are more likely to be targeted by hackers. Every time you update, you shoudl also perform tests on your site to ensure the compatability of any bespoke features or plug-ins. If you feel off the shelf is the right choice for you then our analysts will work with you so that we can match your business objectives, present and future, as closely as possible to a software package that suits your needs, informing you of limitations and possible customisations to break away from competitors.

Sometimes this decision is easy, your business is unique, you want the very best using the latest technologies or you're on a budget and want to test out a concept either way the Fabric team is behind you with a wealth of information and ideas at your disposal to make the right decisions.

Get in touch today to learn how we can work together to achieve success.

Bespoke software

Advantages Disadvantages
Tailored exactly to requirements and key business objectives. Bespoke software could be more expensive.
Fully integrate into the current system. Needs more resources initially.
Scalability to grow or contract with the business for a perfect fit. Difficult for the customer to explain their requirements.
An asset to the business or an application that can be later sold on. Errors & misunderstandings at early stages of development could leading to spiralling costs and delayed delivery

Off the shelf software

Advantages Disadvantages
Easy to install Limited performance due to more code that may not be relevant to your requirement
Easy to use Regular security updates needed with more ongoing testing
Extensive support The business works around the software instead of the software working around the business
Could be cheaper No competitive advantage