What is bespoke software? What are the pros and cons?

What is bespoke software? What are the pros and cons?

What exactly do people mean when they say “bespoke software?”

Let’s begin by defining terms. “Bespoke software,” like a bespoke suit, bespoke software fits the customer. Development teams making bespoke software consult with customers about exact requirements. The customer asks for a specific set of solutions and the development team tailors the software. The bespoke software fulfills expectations and business requirements. Development teams can create bespoke solutions. These solutions work with legacy software or upgrade and overhaul entire systems.

Bespoke software is the opposite of off-the-shelf software. Off-the-shelf software is much more general use and may not suit the needs of many companies. Oftentimes off-the-shelf software will initially cost less. However, off-the-shelf software often requires more time to create work-arounds. These work-arounds result in a loss of productivity. Off-the-shelf software may end up costing a company more than a bespoke solution.

Bespoke software works exactly as required. Companies use a bespoke software solution because it meets their needs and requirements. They do not need to modify existing software or create work-arounds. They have tools created just for what they need. Instead of “one size fits all,” a bespoke software solution fits the users’ needs perfectly.

Now we can examine some of the advantages of bespoke software.

Advantages of bespoke software

  1. Custom solution—Bespoke software is a custom solution, meaning that competitors will not have the same system. Users will see a unique interface. Instead of limping along with a mass market program, they work more efficiently with a bespoke software solution. Bespoke software automates repetitive tasks, streamlining processes. Employees’ workflow becomes fluid and fast.
  1. Flexibility—Your software development team can change and adapt your bespoke software solution to fit new requirements. Businesses need the flexibility to respond to evolving market solutions. Bespoke software guarantees this flexibility, ensuring you remain competitive. This enables businesses to expand into new areas, their software solutions grow with them.
  1. Support—Bespoke software solutions require less technical support. Bespoke software matches the exact needs of the company. There is no worry that a third-party corporation will go out of business leaving you stranded without support. Upgrades and updates will happen as required, not as dictated by the mass market. You get more control over how and when the software solution needs changing.
  1. Security— Hackers target mass market software often because of the sheer number of users they can hit. With a bespoke software solution, hackers would have to make a very targeted attack. A bespoke solution could have extra security measures. Bespoke software by its nature has fewer people accessing it, so there are fewer opportunities for security breaches.

Now that we’ve seen some of the advantages of bespoke software, let’s examine some of the disadvantages.

Disadvantages of bespoke software

  • Time—Unlike an off-the-shelf mass market solution, a bespoke software product takes time to produce. Just like with a bespoke suit, needs and requirements need to be measured and documented. Gathering business requirements takes time. Understanding the exact way users will engage with the software also takes time.
  • Cost—As we discussed in the beginning, bespoke software may cost more initially. But having a solution that really works for your business will likely be much less expensive in the long term.

Check out our guide about Software development price estimation and more information on software development budget estimation.

Now that we’ve taken a look at the advantages and disadvantages of bespoke software, let’s look at some real-world examples of bespoke software.

Examples of bespoke software

You can see many examples of bespoke software on the internet and on your smartphone. Large e-commerce websites use bespoke software. Amazon, Etsy, and Alibaba all use bespoke software solutions. Their systems prove too complex and large for any off-the-shelf solution. They must have software that allows for customer-facing websites. Yet they also need massive behind-the-scenes software. This software aids them with inventory, shipping and other logistic challenges. Their systems must have high redundancy and be ready to handle surges and spikes in users. They also must have extra security in place to face hackers and denial of service attacks.

Banks use bespoke software to create their mobile and web applications. Using off-the-shelf solutions would prove disastrous for many banks. Security breaches and vulnerability to hacking just begin a long list of reasons banks need custom software. Their mobile and web applications must have the highest levels of security. They must also provide what their customers need and want. Banks also tend to have a target demographic, so their applications need to focus on that group. Some banks might be catering to people who want a first mortgage. Others might want to highlight their investment banking. The look and feel of each bank’s web and mobile application will reflect this.

Many small and medium-sized businesses will need mobile applications in IOS and Android. Whether it’s a food-delivery company or a company selling office supplies, users expect and enjoy the ease of use of mobile applications. Rather than sitting at a computer, users can order their food or copy paper while taking the bus to work. Bespoke software solutions for mobile applications work because companies need to stand out and have a unique look and feel. Investing in bespoke software pays large dividends when we talk about mobile applications.

Bespoke software makes customers and users feel seen and heard. Off-the-shelf software often leaves users feeling ignored. With a custom solution automation takes care of repetitive tasks. Users spend less time clicking and more time doing. For this reason, bespoke solutions save companies money in the long term. Bespoke software solutions allow for greater productivity and happier users and customers. Custom software solutions contain exactly what a company needs, and none of what it doesn’t. This keeps processes streamlined and systems easier to maintain.

We here at Blocshop create effective bespoke solutions for businesses in many fields. If you would like a free cost estimate for your bespoke solution, please get in touch.

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