How To Decide If Bespoke Software Is Right For Your Business

There are very few, if any, businesses that can operate nowadays without software of some kind. As a company, the challenge can often be to decide whether to use an off-the-shelf software solution, or to create your own.

It can be difficult to know which way to go, but a panel of chief information officers (CIOs) offered their advice in the IT Pro Panel event, and you might find some of their insights useful.

According to the news provider, there was a general consensus among those taking part in the discussion that “there’s nothing quite like building your own software”. Of course, all those involved stressed that every business and project will be different, and you need to take each on its merits.

However, they typically agreed that if your software is for a business-critical function relating to one of your USPs, that it’s unlikely you’ll find an off-the-shelf solution that can deliver precisely what you need.

IT director at Richmond Events Liam Quinn commented: “We use as much off-the-shelf software as we can, but the core software that is our USP is completely bespoke. We tried to integrate an off-the-shelf app to use our dataset and it broke so badly, we ended up developing our own!”

If your business has been having trouble finding a software solution for a core function, it could be worth investing in bespoke software in Hull to make sure that it ticks all of your boxes. Remember that you don’t need to develop everything in house, as there are consultancies out there that can fill in those kinds of skills gaps.

Another advantage to investing in bespoke software, and one to consider from a cost perspective, is that in the long-term it can save you money on the licenses and subscriptions you’d pay for off-the-shelf options.

However, as IT manager at Celtic Manor Resort Chris Stanley acknowledges, it’s not always easy to find the budget or the time to develop your own software solution.

But there are also situations where it’s best to choose an existing software package, rather than developing your own, according to Jackson Hull, chief technology officer (CTO) at GoCompare. He stated that if the process you need software for isn’t “at the heart of your business” that it’s not worth developing yourself.

There will be solutions available that are likely to be more than sufficient for your needs, he added, pointing out that it’s a waste of time and money to develop new software just for the sake of it.

Another thing to consider, according to the panelists, is your software stack and how any bespoke solutions might fit in. You should try to minimise and consolidate the number of applications you’re using wherever possible to ensure you’re not paying for functionality you don’t need or use.

Last month, we shared advice from DevPro Journal on some things to consider when you’re developing your own software systems. One key area whether it’s for B2B or B2C use is the user interface, and making this as simple as possible, the news provider noted.