Bespoke vs. ready-made software. What to choose?

Business
22.07.2022
Pros and cons of bespoke software and ready-made software

Bespoke vs. ready-made software

Every business—regardless of size—needs software to manage data, improve customer service, and bolster in-house processes. Various marketplaces offer our customers a stunning range of software products and services.

Which to choose? In this article, we share our experience to help you make the right choice and decide what is better: ready-made or custom-made software, buy or develop? To avoid mistakes, plus save time and money, we offer an overview of these two options. Also, we’ll share our cases.

Bespoke vs. ready-made software. What to choose?
Bespoke vs. ready-made software

Let’s take a look at the main aspects of the argument between bespoke vs ready-made software.

What is custom software?

Custom software solutions created from scratch and tailored to the needs of a particular company are always unique and specialized. They adapt to existing business processes and enable you to quickly implement new ones. There are no analogs in this case. Their interface is designed specifically for employees and customers of this particular company. All special software features and tools are fully used: nothing superfluous, only useful ones. Of course, custom-made software like that enables you to work as efficiently as possible.

Pros of bespoke software

  • Personalization. All features are designed specifically for your business workflow.
  • High competitiveness. The company doesn’t depend on updates to off-the-shelf software. At the same time, competitors can use ready-made software, which has restrictions on the introduction of new solutions.
  • Flexibility. The company not only adds or removes features on its own but also adapts them to new processes and needs.

Cons of custom software

  • Custom software development is a complex and lengthy process. This means that your company will need to allocate more budget than for off-the-shelf software.
  • Attention to detail. Before starting to develop software for your company, the development team must clearly understand the specifics of your project, needs, and budget. If something is left out, it may affect the effectiveness of the project.

Who can benefit from using bespoke software?

Your company will grow, and its needs will increase. Advantages of custom software include an opportunity to optimize the system; the necessary elements will be gradually added to it. To start using bespoke software, select a team of programmers. Set your goals, and experts will figure out which tools are the best for you. The current project will be revised if you need new features.

What is readymade software?

Having a finished product means that your software is ready from the start. It’s not unique. Ready-made solutions are universal. If a certain product fits your tasks, you can either buy a subscription or fully purchase it.

Advantages of readymade software

  • Democratic pricing policy. Ready-made software is much cheaper than custom software.
  • Quick access. All you need is to register and get started.
  • Available updates. The software, which will be widely used, is trying to implement solutions according to the requests of most companies. There is a high chance that you’ll find exactly those features you’re looking for.

Such tools enable you to dive into your work without experiencing any difficulties. A ready-made platform has an intuitive interface and a full set of features.

Disadvantages of readymade software

  • Not all software features will meet your needs. For that reason, your company will either have to put up with a software solution like that and adapt business processes to it or look for alternative software.
  • Changes in software features. Updates aren’t always for the best. It happens that the features you want are removed or changed, and you have to look for a way out of this situation. Software updates can bring performance issues that will take time to fix.
  • It can be unpredictably costly; the payment model depends on user count. It can be affordable with a relatively small user count but can be equal to getting custom software developed.

Many people prefer hybrid services. They’re more flexible, but you can add options to perform your daily tasks more easily. 

You can’t always find a ready-made solution for the exact problem. Creating a full-blown custom solution on the other hand can be costly and time-consuming. Let’s take the best of these two approaches and combine existing solutions by gluing them up together.

What are the advantages of combining ready-made solutions and custom development?

  • Costs less than creating a fully custom solution from scratch
  • Allows creating a unique product using existing building blocks

What are the disadvantages of combining ready-made solutions and custom development?

Ready-made products aren’t always easily compatible, while creating a custom integration in between can be ineffective.

How to benefit from both options? Broscorp`s case study

Our client MirrorMirror is a canonical example when combining ready-made solutions using custom integrations dramatically automated everyday business routines. Let’s take a closer look at the solution we’ve made. The task was to combine survey results with comprehensive analytics and reports. Is there any package solution that combines everything? There’s none. 

We decided to combine SurveyGizmo, which is super good for collecting survey results, and Tableau, which is a great BI solution. We’ve developed a custom integration in between by creating a set of web applications and data pipelines using AWS. The project would last and cost an enormous amount of money and time if we decide to create everything from the ground up. Instead, we combined the two best solutions that solve their part of the problem perfectly and then created a custom layer in between. We saved money and time and created a unique combination of features that solve the problem the right way. 

How to make a choice?

Before choosing between off-the-shelf or custom software, it’s important to evaluate the following factors:

  • Maturity of business processes

If you’re an early-stage startup, where every minute and dollar counts, the decision to order a custom platform should be very pragmatic.

  • Allocated budget for software solutions

For sure, custom solutions will be tailored to your needs but will cost more.

  • Conformity of software features to the needs of your company 

If there’s a solution that handles the problem but partially creates more obstacles rather than makes the business process simpler, probably it’s time to think about a custom solution.

  • Uniqueness of features required

If the desired features exist and can be easily adapted to your company, then it’s no need to create a custom solution; otherwise, custom software is the only way.

  • Creating hybrid solutions and getting the best out of both

Hybrid services offer a wider range of solutions.

Conclusion

Ready-made software is good only under limited conditions: maybe when you run a small company or when your business has a simple operating model. But custom software will take care of your needs as long as you keep scalability, flexibility, ease of use, performance, etc. long term.

We develop custom solutions and adapt ready-made ones. We can expand and update existing features and create hybrid solutions.

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