Off-the-shelf vs Bespoke Software

By teknet on Wednesday 7th February 2018, 1:54pm


New software and systems are a long-term investment for your business. You can invest previous profits, take out a loan, or apply for a government-backed source of finance to fund your software journey. Software will make your business more efficient and therefore should promote business growth. Maybe you require something which will help managing and running your business more time-efficient, or perhaps you want to offer an improved service by adding or improving your current software. You now face the dilemma regarding whether to opt for bespoke software or off-the-shelf software.

You’re reading this now because you have decided that there is something within your business which needs improving or introducing. You probably know exactly what you’re looking for and the functionality you need it to hold. If you aren’t quite sure what you want, we can help you during the software scoping process. We will ensure that the software you opt for is the perfect fit for your business needs and market position.

Advantages of off-the-shelf software

Low-Cost – Off-the-shelf software is low-cost in comparison to bespoke. Off-the-shelf software is often made with great resources and with a large budget, this means that it is often very sophisticated and sleek. Because this software is generic, it is sold to a large number of companies and therefore the revenue from a large number of users means that excellent resources can be applied to its development.

Reliability – Off-the-shelf software will have been tested and used by lots of different users, therefore, you have the reassurance that it will work.

Disadvantages of off-the-shelf software

Complex – Due to it meeting the demands of a whole field, it is often incredibly complex. As a result of this, you will probably only use a small portion of the software, because all of its features are not likely to be required by you.

No Competitive Advantage – It is likely that a large majority of your competitors will also use the same or similar software. This makes it difficult to gain any competitive advantage in your field. The remaining will probably have a bespoke software and therefore they will have an advantage over you.

Business Processes – It is likely that you will have to alter the way that your business operates, to meet the demands of the way the new software is designed.

Update Costs and Deceptive Costs – You will have to pay for updates to the off-the-shelf software. And some off-the-shelf software only offers updates for a limited period before the software becomes dated and obsolete. Costs can be deceptive as off the shelf software may not include setup, data import, customisation of reports, support nor your own learning time.

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Advantages of Bespoke Software

– Bespoke software tends to be easier to use than off-the-shelf software because it has been built to work the way that your employees work. You can ask for specific ways of how it functions, meeting the needs of your business.

Personalised – It is designed for your individual company’s needs and requirements. It will be the perfect fit for your company, it will be made to offer all the functionality you require.

The Whole Package – With bespoke software, setup and support is also included.

Branding – It’s all in the details, and details can often be the key to success. Strong branding can be embedded into bespoke software, personalised tools which are added show customers how professional your company is and how important customer perceptions are to you.

Agile – Bespoke software should not become obsolete over time because it can constantly be updated to meet the needs of the business and technological trends. It can then be altered and modified as time goes on, according to your business needs.

Competitive Advantage – Bespoke software differentiates you from your competition and has the ability to give you a competitive advantage.

Integration – Your existing company information (such as suppliers and customers details) can be integrated into bespoke software easily and quickly.

Disadvantages of Bespoke Software

High-Cost – Bespoke software is considerably more expensive than off-the-shelf software initially.

Long Development – Bespoke software has lengthy development timeframes, it takes a lot longer to develop, and therefore if you have problems which need resolving immediately then bespoke software cannot resolve this problem.

Onshore or Offshore

We want you to be aware of the problems companies face when they outsource their software requirements to other countries. Firstly, time differences will mean that communication between you and the software company will be inconsistent and inconvenient. You will also encounter language barriers and cultural differences. Without the ability to meet face to face, it’s harder to portray what you really want from your software. Ultimately, these factors will result in the process taking a whole lot longer than it would in your home country, and when the project is completed, it is likely that you will end up with software that isn’t what you wanted and isn’t the ‘right fit’ for your company.

Teknet Software offers bespoke software solutions. The software solutions we create are expansible and they are designed to be revisited and added to in the future, should you require. Call us today on 0800 488 0400 for more information or drop us an email on

There are a few different types of bespoke software that we offer – to know more, check out our Services page!

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