An In-Depth Look at the Advantages and Disadvantages of Bespoke Software

Bespoke Software, Software Development | 0 comments | by Erin Quilliam

We have become dependant on software to carry out our business.

The solutions you use carry out vital business functions, so it is imperative that you have software in place that can support you and your work.

However not all software is made equal.

The predominant choice you have when acquiring new software for your business is whether to buy a commercial “off-the-shelf” solution or to develop a bespoke solution from scratch.

Off-the-shelf and bespoke software vary in several ways, and may not be able to fulfil your needs depending on the choice you make.

To help you understand the implications of the choice, we will examine both bespoke software and off-the-shelf software in detail. 

In this article, I’ll be explaining the advantages and disadvantages of bespoke software. 

I’m going to be brutally honest with the topic and include points that I’ve not seen covered elsewhere on the web.

There will be an article about the advantages and disadvantages of off-the-shelf software in the coming weeks, so be sure to subscribe to the blog to know when it goes live.

What is bespoke softwareWhat is Bespoke Software?

Bespoke software is simply a software solution that has been built to an individual’s specific requirements.

It is built from the ground up entirely new, and to exactly meet your given requirements.

Bespoke software is often called “custom software” or “tailored software”, which helps the explanation. It’s completely custom made, and tailored to you. (Like a tailored suit, made for your exact measurements to fit only you.)

Read about what bespoke software is in more detail here.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Bespoke Software-minThe Advantages and Disadvantages of Bespoke Software

Advantages of Bespoke SoftwareDisadvantages of Bespoke Software
  • Unique, individual solution
  • You control development time and pace
  • Return on investment
  • Competitive advantage
  • Better security
  • Scalable
  • Save time (better adapted to workflow, less training, more advanced, potential automation, etc)
  • Built to meet you and team so can make working easier, enjoyable, and increase morale
  • Better updates and support
  • Gradual production and upgrades
  • Better usability
  • Higher efficiency
  • Independence & complete control
  • Greater flexibility
  • Only pay for what you get
  • No compatibility or integration issues
  • The initial cost is high
  • Takes more time to develop
  • Off-the-shelf could do what you need (particularly if you’re a small business)
  • No existing product to trial
  • Existing users and support doesn’t exist (but the company should support you)
  • You will have to get stakeholders to buy-in The Advantages of Bespoke Software

The Advantages of Bespoke Software-minThe Advantages of Bespoke Software

The Most Exact Solution for Your Needs

This is because the software is built to your requirements, which means the product will exactly meet your specific needs.

This means that it will have all the functions you want, and you will not have to compromise or integrate with other solutions to carry out your work.

It Provides a Unique, Individual Solution

Because bespoke software is built from scratch to your requirements, it means you can create a unique solution.

Additionally, no-one else will own or use the solution (unless you decide to white-label it and sell it to others.) 

Competitive Advantage

As bespoke is unique to you, no-one else will have the software solution you are using. Whereas with commercial software, you and your competitors could all be using the same product.

This means that using a bespoke solution could provide you with a competitive edge over other businesses.

Only Pay for What You Get

With a commercial solution, there is every possibility you could have not all the features you need, or more than you use and find useful.

If there are too few features, you will have to integrate it with another solution or try to adapt the product to meet your needs. (Which isn’t always possible.)

If there are too many functions, this isn’t a bad thing. Unless the product becomes cumbersome and overcomplicated. This could confuse your users, and slow your work. Plus, with increased features comes increased cost.

With bespoke software, you only get the features you want. That’s as many or as few as you need, and what you see is what you get. 

You Control the Development Time and Pace

This is obviously within reason.

You can’t demand it be built in a shorter time than the developers say is possible. <