Bespoke vs. Off the Shelf Software

Software Development | 0 comments | by Shaz Ide

Business needs vary from one company to another. Constant development in techniques and processes are a must for a business model to succeed. Company owners are compelled to step out of their comfort zone and perform frequent evaluations to see whether their current approach is being effective or not.

In today’s high-tech business environment, creativity is at the forefront of innovation, so when it comes to choosing software to make things work, many companies have issues deciding between bespoke and off-the-shelf solutions. Bespoke software –also known as tailor-made – is software customised following the individual needs of a client. “Off the shelf” software on the other hand, comes with pre-built integration and is usually sold by a third party vendor to millions of businesses. Compatibility is yet another thing one must consider when choosing software.

Solutions that are off-the-shelf may demand extra upgrades; bespoke however, is designed to be handled with your company’s existing practices and available tools. Furthermore, a customised software solution belongs to you, whereas off-the-shelf packages are usually owned by the developing company. Whatever your business needs are, customised software can get it done. Sadly, we can’t say the same thing about off-the-shelf solutions.


Disadvantages of off-the-shelf software

Off the shelf software is generically designed. It caters to a wide variety of clients and it is usually based on a single product shared with the masses. A developing team comes up with a standard, pre-defined framework, and then the final software solution is sold to millions. Considering the standard condition of off-the-shelf tools, it is impossible for it to meet the exact demands of all buyers. Bespoke software on the other hand is exclusively designed; the tools are built internally and they can always be adapted to suit the needs of your business. Users of bespoke solutions can always tune up the software and re-shape it for increased performance.

HOW businesses can benefit from Bespoke Software compared to off the shelf


HOW businesses can benefit from Bespoke Software compared to “off-the-shelf

How can your business benefit from bespoke software solutions and why should you “go bespoke” rather than stick with off-the-shelf? For starters, we should mention that commercial packages are proprietary software solutions packed with standard features, whereas custom software is targeted to fit your company’s specific requirements. Users will find bespoke a lot more intuitive and easier to use as it doesn’t contain superfluous or unnecessary features; it is also extremely flexible and it allows users to perform changes and modifications based on the practices and requirements of their business.

Bespoke vs. off the shelf software solutions

When apps are built with bespoke software, the process follows your requirements to the letter; you are actually saving money and time as you won’t have to teach your employees how to use the software. Developed following your guidelines and demands, custom solutions blend easier into your existing business model. Basically, they become more intuitive and fun to work with. Another great advantage of bespoke software is increased scalability. Considering that most custom software developers are used to working under a contract basis, it will be easier for them to provide maintenance and take good care of your business as it increases in size.

Off-the-shelf software solutions are either too affordable and not suitable for your business, or just too expensive. Bespoke is the answer because it meets your company’s needs, permitting it to grow but without forcing it to depend on the software program in questioning. Furthermore, custom solutions can keep your business safe and sound from external threats. Most hacking attempts on today’s businesses are successful because of common vulnerabilities in packaged software. With bespoke, you’re no longer an attractive target as a lot more effort is required to break into your system.

Also, bespoke app development can operate with your business’s current software packages. We can’t say the same thing for off-the-shelf, which almost never interacts without errors. Licensing standard business software for your company’s present software can decrease productivity levels inside your company. That can happen due to continuous errors interfering with their work. With bespoke solutions, such issues will never occur because the tools fit perfectly into the software ecosystem of your business model.


Continuous maintenance (bespoke) vs. limited maintenance (off-the-shelf)

Off-the-shelf software only provides limited maintenance. Basically, your company will be at the mercy of the provider you’ve bought the package from. If, all of a sudden, they decide to drop the app or they go bankrupt your business will suddenly have to buy a different software package or switch to supported and maintained software. With custom software this doesn’t happen because the developers will have the program tailored to the vendor’s hardware as well as hardware’s capabilities. In the long term, this will actually help you save money as you won’t be compelled to buy unnecessary additional hardware.

Unlike licensed off-the-shelf software, bespoke solutions feature a number of added benefits particularly as far as maintenance, scalability and integration is concerned. Extant software may not fit your business model and goals, and many companies today are just not willing to take that risk. Rather than choose affordability, many of today’s entrepreneurs are smart enough choose quality; pay a bit more in the beginning, but be certain of the product’s uniqueness. With bespoke you have continuous maintenance and an excellent platform to build upon so that your business enjoys uninterrupted success.


Pros and cons of bespoke and off the shelf software

Both bespoke and off-the-shelf software solutions have advantages and disadvantages. We can’t say that bespoke is perfect, just like we can’t say that off-the-shelf is useless. To get a clear perspective of these two software solution for your product development, we’ve created a crystal-clear comparison to help you decide:


Bespoke softwareDesigned to be unique, easy to customise
Easy to upgrade and improve
Intuitive & scalable
Continuous system maintenance
Competitive edge due to a unique built
Long-term investment
Higher costs (however, in the long-term the initial investment pays off)
Additional costs may be involved for changes to be made
Off-the-shelf softwareLow upfront costs
Varied palette of pre-installed features
Upgrades are usually offered at a reduced price (some are even free)
SaaS integration – no additional software of hardware to install
Unwilling to change or slow to adapt to the business needs of the buyer
Highly complex – extensive range of features targeted to suit a broad audience
Increased license costs
No intellectual property rights (business can’t change or sell the software)
Predisposed to threats & hacks – because of a generalised built
Limited system maintenanceStandard software package that contains apps your company might never use

Software – whether bespoke or off the shelf – is the backbone of any business. Prior to making a choice, companies should carefully assess the pros and cons of these two solutions. Why is bespoke better? Because it is tailored after the individual needs of your company. In order to gain a competitive edge and make yourself and your business model stand out, you have to be unique. Only bespoke software solutions can provide leverage.

IT Enterprise specialises on creating and designing bespoke software solutions for small businesses and startups of all kinds. Let us be the voice of your next software and we’ll make sure your company stands out from the crowd.

Download the FREE Ultimate Website Design Checklist for Startup eBook Now!

Simply fill in the form below, verify your email address
and you’ll be sent a link to download our free e-book.
Tags: , ,
Image MapDesignImplementAcceptDeployAnalyze


We will prepare the experts, process, environment and roadmap needed to achieve your goals



We will bring together talent, innovation and technology to work on your project's blueprint.



We will give you quick access to our people, methods and infrastructure to help improve on each project iteration.



We will execute the solutions to complete your --' project and transfer knowledge, while protecting your intellectual property.



We will define, study and clarify with you the scope and limits of your requirements.