Off the shelf vs bespoke software development are among the most common debates that take place in merely every business that needs IT infrastructure. There are multiple factors such as cost, scalability, and security, that must be taken into consideration while choosing between the two. The article elucidates various important aspects of selecting among off the shelf or bespoke software in a way that benefits business in the upcoming years.

Should we buy or build a software? This is one of the most frequently asked yet the most fundamental questions asked in almost all streams of business. Though the debate is not new, various parameters and aspects of decision making have changed drastically in the recent years.

Especially as the world enters 2021 – a year full of surprises and possibilities, new trends of bespoke software development will emerge rapidly. Thereby, the process of choosing between the digital assets to own and implement in business will have some modifications. The pros and cons of off the shelf and bespoke software development would be slightly different in the new year.

This makes it important to have access to the complete information while making a choice between commercial software and custom software development. The key is to choose what will benefit business in the new future.

Know Differences between Off the Shelf and Bespoke Software Development

The most basic way to differentiate between off the shelf and bespoke software is to know that the prior is developed for the common need and the later is developed after understanding the specific needs of business. Read on to dive deeper into the basics and advanced differentiating factors.

Examples of off the shelf software – Accounting tools, games, editing software

Examples of bespoke software – enterprise resource planning software, customer relationship management tools

1. Customization and Usability of the Solutions

Usability of any software solution is an important aspect, as these solutions must be created taking into account the people who would be ultimately using the product. Both the off the shelf and bespoke software solutions must undergo extensive usability testing before deployment.

Off the shelf software products are developed with the understanding of overall, generic needs around its applications. Developers do not dive deeper into the specific needs of users while deploying off the shelf software products. While most off the shelf software may meet most requirements of end users, discrete applications may not be catered.

On the other hand, bespoke software development mainly focuses on the customization of its features. End users can be assured that the custom software would satisfy their ultimate needs vis-a-vis its business applications. As compared to off the shelf software products, bespoke software are more flexible, suitable, and balanced in terms of its offerings, thereby providing better user experience.

2. Data Security and Protection from Cyber Threats

Cloud computing trends and the use of serverless IT infrastructure are the ‘New Normals’ for modern IT businesses today. With an incessantly growing number of cyber attacks, the need for implementing a robust cyber security system has become inevitable. This makes it an important factor that influences the decision while choosing between off the shelf software systems and bespoke software development.

Commercially available software products usually do not come with a product ownership, which makes businesses skeptical about the data security of these solutions. However, the future of custom software development is expected to ensure that business-related data and important information can be kept as secure as possible and impending cyber attacks are avoided.

3. Software Development and Deployment

Various processes such as coding, testing, debugging, and polishing are the part of the development and deployment of any software products. In case of off the shelf and commercially available software, end users have very little or no information about the history of that product. On the contrary, custom software can enable businesses to know and modify the processes of software development according to their specific needs.

Being a part of the software release can enable businesses to foresee any impending challenges that may arise during its application and can save a huge cost and time during deployment. Furthermore, implementation updates and upgrades in the software based on the changing business requirements and applications can be a possibility in custom software development. This is the benefit that commercially available software usually do not offer.

4. Business Scalability and Product Ownership

Making a choice between off the shelf and bespoke software mainly depends on its applications, which is directly linked to the size of the business. For small-scale businesses, off the shelf software solutions may prove lucrative as they do not call for high initial investment. In addition, small-scale businesses often rely more on internal IT infrastructure management teams than being dependent on other software providers.

On the other hand, as businesses begin to upscale their operations and capabilities, it becomes important for their IT infrastructure to be flexible and cater to the changed needs. Bespoke software solutions offer that kind of scalability to businesses which off the shelf software do not. Furthermore, custom software offer another important advantage of product ownership, as owning a digital resource can prove to be a beneficial asset for businesses in future.

5. Overall and Hidden Costs along with Value

When it comes to choosing a software solution to carry out various business processes, one of the most important factors that influence the decision is the price tag. Though the cost matters the most, the value offering of both the off the shelf and bespoke software solutions also must be taken into consideration for making a wise choice in the coming years.

Off the shore software solutions usually are usually preferred over this parameter due to their low initial cost. Hidden charges and high initial cost are common challenges in custom software development. However, their operational capabilities and efficiencies are usually way superior than commercial software. Thereby, businesses are capable of high initial investments benefit from bespoke software development as it commonly results in better returns on investment.

Off the Shelf vs Bespoke Software Development – What to Choose in 2021/b>

2021 is going to be full of surprises for businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way of doing business in the modern world. Businesses will have to ensure complete agility in their decision making process and resort to the best IT resources available.

While off the shelf or commercially available software products may offer a huge cost benefit, especially for small and mid-sized businesses, it helps to have your team involved in the development and deployment of any software solution that business implements in its infrastructure.

The aforementioned benefits of bespoke software development can translate into supreme possibilities to expand and strengthen your business. It can also ensure maximum cyber security in the world of cyber threats. Its scalability and flexibility can open a window of success in the near future, proving to be a decision that may positively impact the outcome of your business.

TechnoGen is a leading technology company that has assisted multiple businesses with its bespoke software products such as enterprise resource planning software and risk management systems. Reach out to us with your unique business needs for tailored features of custom software solutions that will help you grow in the foreseeable future.