Dan Diehl, Paul O’Malley & Lou Ronsivalli.
Bespoke v Off-the-Shelf Software05 February 2018 / by Richard Harris (author) / London
It is easy to get carried away with bespoke software and the idea that it is “tailor-made”. What really matters is whether the software works for you and your team. Does it help with increasing productivity and efficiency? If so, then you have found your match.
Steer clear of programs that over complicate. Many different software packages fall short of basic expectations and needs. Software should streamline and simplify the way that your business works. Programs and applications for your company should help employees at every level of the business - whether an entry level employee or a manager, the software should aide at each stage.
Although bespoke software may often seem like the best option, ready-made applications and software are flexible and suit multiple businesses and companies. Choose a system that works and has many case-studies to create a great working organisation, and stick with it. Look at examples of how businesses have used their tech and how you could personalise and customise pre-existing software to work for you. The most important feature should be simplicity. Developed systems often hold the key to networked approaches and applications such as Okappy which can directly connect your business to contractors and subcontractors.
Availability and Instantaneity
Another point to consider is the availability of bespoke software, custom-made software can take months to build (if not longer) and in the beginning can be subject to many crashes, breakdowns and alterations. Don’t get carried away by showy details and shiny new features.
Although innovation is integral to new tech’s development, it’s worth bearing in mind that completely new features may over-complicate. Remember, that new software is essential and that the exact reason you are investing time and money into this solution is because it will simplify and overarchingly make things easier.
Established software is instantly available, which allows you more time to experiment and tailor it to your business. Most pre-existing software is flexible to a degree which allows for personalisation and makes it easier for your company.
Tried and tested
It is inevitable there may be small teething issues with integrating a new form of tech into your company - but with pre-existing software this should be relatively straightforward. If software is already developed, there will also already be a pre-existing support network which you can rely on.
With established software, every possible version has been tried and tested and whatever issues you may experience - there will be someone on hand to work through them with you. Startup software companies will be thoroughly testing their software to the Nth degree as they develop and market it. This is something you can really benefit from. For example, they may use feedback from early customers to develop features for everyone. Approaching startup companies who are creating non-bespoke software is one way you are likely to access bespoke features from a developed software.
If you have questions about the software's limitations or personalisation, then ask! Many pre-existing software companies will have worked out each step of each model and have tested their programs on many different companies before yours. If the software is successful, it means it has been through more than just a few trials - so capitalise on this pre-existing support network that is there for you.
Costing and upgrades
An issue not often considered by businesses dipping their toes into the world of bespoke software, is costing - including the future cost of upgrading. Bespoke software comes at a price - along with a tailored to you training programme. At first glance, this may seem a better option, but proceed with caution as costings of bespoke training and the software upgrades can come with a hefty price tag. Bear in mind that bespoke software training can often be laborious and time consuming whilst training with pre-existing software should be more easily available - potentially even digitally and often worldwide.
Therefore, weigh up whether that one tweak needed in your programming could actually be accommodated by software that is already out there?
Finally, be curious! Ask questions! Want to work with a bespoke software designer? Set up a conversation with them and ask what their limitations are, how you can ensure crashes won’t be a regular occurrence and explore their previous work. Be curious as to how ready made software could be adapted to your needs. Enquire with companies, read their case studies, look at the variety of businesses that they are working for and see if you think yours fits with their portfolio. Don’t hesitate to ask, ready-made software can often accommodate far more than first meets the eye - so be sure to contact teams and see what package could work for you. You want the software to be simple and effective - so work with your team to identify what your key needs are and focus on introducing software that works for you.
Regardless of final application (communication, business or maintenance forecasting, and better delivery of customer services are common ones), the right software for your company will help your business to grow and develop in a distinctive way.
About Richard Harris
Richard Harris is a director of innovative B2B communications platform OKappy which re-thinks how companies manage their day-to-day work by combining social and market network technology to facilitate communication and collaboration between employees and subcontractors across different sites - and with different clients.
Visit www.okappy.com to learn more.
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