Which is better? Bespoke or Off-The-Shelf software

The obvious answer is bespoke software.  And, it is the correct answer.  It is the same question as asking whether tailor-made clothes fit better than ‘off-the-peg’.  Again, the obvious answer is the correct one.  Tailored clothers fit better.  At least, so I am told.

The better your software fits your business, the fewer compensations you need to make.

But, what does it mean?  Because we have all worn clothes all our lives, we each know the difference between well and poorly fitting clothes.  Software for your business is a different concept and experience, however.  It may be that you have been wearing your business software back-to-front all these years without knowing.  This is one of the perils of buying off-the-shelf (off-the-peg) software.

What is 'Off-The-Shelf' Software?

OTS (off-the-shelf) software is software designed to perform functions or tasks for a specific type of company or industry, e.g. book-keeping software.

A software company makes OTS software by looking at a few representative companies in that field and then boiling down what they do to fit a generic company of that type.  This means that the set of functionalities offered rudely match what a ‘normal’ business in that sector is likely, more or less, to require.

This means that they have to cover a lof eventualities which can often mean an application with a bewildering choice of options for the new user.  In their attempt to be everything to everybody, the software usually ends up massive and complex.  A knock-on from this is that a lot of training is required to get your staff up to speed in the new environment.  Also, the Help manual can become labyrinthine.  The software company may simply not be willing to invest the resources required to fully demonstrate or illustrate every possible eventuality.  This has led to the birth of the user forum where the software company relies on their disparate users to help each other through the fog.  This user-generated resource is, for some reason, owned by the software company and can be used to justify not making further investment in directly assisting users.

How does Bepoke Software differ form OTS Software?

Bespoke software, unlike off-the-shelf software, is designed specifically for your business.  One of the advantages of this is that you are not paying for software functionality you will not use.  In addition this results in a cleaner, less complex user-experience for your staff.  This reduces training time and disruption to your company during the transition.

Implementing bespoke software in your business allows you to work closely with the software developer who will be making the software which your staff will be replying on for the months and years ahead.  The developer translates your unique business requirements into programming.  This means you can embed your business’ best practice directly into your systems.  Your staff will be guided, increasing their efficiency and boosting your company’s productivity.

In Conclusion

Bespoke software is clearly the better solution for your business.  It requires investment of time and commitment from management to ensure the best outcomes and return on investment.  The rewards will move your company up a level and give you a distinct competitive advantage.  It is almost certain that the competitors you are chasing have bespoke systems!

To discuss implementing Bespoke Software in your business, contact us today.

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