Have you ever found that the software you use just isn’t right for you, or doesn’t do all the things you’d like? You may be a prime candidate for bespoke software. Bespoke software — alternately called custom software — is far less common than traditional, off-the-shelf software. However, it can play a vital role in a business’s growth and digital transformation by providing solutions that fit a company’s needs exactly. Consequently, a bespoke software development company can be a valuable ally for companies of any size, from startups to Fortune 500’s.
If you are looking for a software solution you have two options: buy standard software produced for the mass market or custom software designed and developed to meet your needs. Developing a tailor-made software that satisfies your business needs and requirements gives you a competitive advantage because you are the only ones to benefit from your developed solution.
The word “bespoke” here is often used in suit tailoring, but the term is very à propos when it comes to custom software development as well. A bespoke suit is made to fit the exact measurements of the wearer; similarly, bespoke software is custom developed to fit exactly the needs and functionality demands of the user.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of bespoke software as well as who it can benefit and how to prepare for it. But first, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page with terminology.
Bespoke software vs Commercial software
The vast majority of software out there is standard commercial software. Premade software is ultra common, like the operating system or browser you’re probably using right now. There’s a lot to be said for off-the-shelf software solutions. Because there’s no time that needs to be spent in the development process, a company can have the functionality they need right away — as long as the software they’re using is a close enough fit for their business needs.
But that premade software doesn’t ever fit a person or a company’s needs exactly. Those looking for software that fits their needs just so should turn to a bespoke software development company.
In many cases, this means outsourcing needs to a development team, unless a company is large enough to have their own in-house developers. The software developers will code a program that fits your needs just perfectly, and makes you look good at the same time. That’s where the “bespoke” part comes in, and that’s why the comparison to a custom tailored suit makes sense.
Tailored software creates a more efficient system because it provides support for the specific needs of the company that is not available in an off-the-shelf solution, resulting in greater efficiency and better customer service. As it turns out, customised software prevents later costs, as opposed to a standard solution that does not take the needs of the individual customer into account.
Individual software development is often seen as more expensive than standard solutions and products. There is no doubt that, initially, a customised software solution is more expensive than a commercial one, as it takes more time to develop than if you were to use off-the-shelf software. However, the agile approach of tailored software companies allows you to get exactly what you need rather than software that ends up feeling clunky and incomplete.
What are the advantages of bespoke software?
There are essentially two angles from which a person can understand the advantages of bespoke software development services: what you get — and what you don’t get.
“What you don’t get” may sound like a negative, so let’s unpack that for a moment. All sorts of software — including some you’re likely using right now — has functionality that the end user may never end up using. That functionality still took time to develop, meaning an employee had to be paid to do it, so the feature cost the development company money. If the software is purchased rather than free, that cost is often passed on to the end user with no opt-out clause to only pay for the parts of the software they will use.
The Microsoft Office suite is a fine example of this. It’s super common, off-the-shelf software that the whole world is familiar with — but only a tiny fraction of users will come close to using every one of the suite’s features. According to Microsoft, there are 1.2 billion users of Microsoft Office. How many of them do you think are masters of PowerPoint or Excel?
The same can be said of popular web applications like Gmail and SaaS tools like Salesforce. Clearly, these are popular tools — but in many cases they’re a one-size-fits-all solution geared towards providing a good user experience for a very broad customer base.
Bespoke software solutions, on the other hand, can help companies optimize their software products to fit their own methodology. Customers can choose exactly the features they need to not overspend and to further ensure they don’t have to change the way they do business.
The beauty of a customised application is that the software application is tailored exactly to the requirements of the company and makes it possible to achieve important business goals.
In addition, customers who purchase bespoke software end up owning the source code — meaning that if they’ll be able to expand on the software as needed or link it with further custom software down the line. Custom enterprise software, for example, can give companies a leg up on their competitors once they’ve identified what key features they need.
Benefits of bespoke development further include infinite customization capabilities to address specific challenges during the development phase, customizations that make the software accessible and useful, and access to a high-quality support team that is familiar with the problem and the solutions to it.
In-House Developers for Hire
This has become a key argument for in-house software development, as you and your organization need to be a source of inspiration in developing software solutions that cover all aspects of the problem you are tackling without plugging in superfluous features. In the case of SmartDev, for example, our developers can temporarily become your in-house developers so you don’t need to go out of your way to hire new talent.
At the same time, an organization that sees customised software as a likely source of potential advantage over its competitors would be well advised to try to develop its own solution and address the challenges of the venture. Customised software solutions and services for the development of web applications can be a good way to approach business processes that are unique and innovative.
A customised program can include custom accounting software for a specific company or network monitoring tools for a specific network. Since a tailored solution is a tailored solution based on your individual business and you own the source code, it can be integrated with other customised software packages to replace, update, or expand existing systems in the future.
Customised CRM software, for example, automates many aspects of your business and enables your sales and customer service teams to spend valuable time on activities other than software wrangling. Off-the-shelf software often does not have the functionality that your business is used to and is loaded with functionality that your business will never use.
Tailor-made software is the perfect solution for companies that want to stand out from their competitors by creating a system that is unique to them and designed for maximum efficiency rather than relying on commercial systems used by their direct competitors. Software off the shelf is a product designed for the mass market and aims to cater to the needs as many users as possible and to offer many more functions than a customised solution. Software solutions that are tailored to specific circumstances can be challenging, especially when it comes to whether the software you want to use can be adapted at the highest level to that of an external software developer.
So, we’ve got a clear picture of what bespoke software is and just how it can be valuable. But how do you find the right developer?
What to Look For in a Bespoke Software Development Company?
First and foremost, a custom software company must have experience with custom application development — whether mobile apps or web apps. This may sound like a no-brainer, but sometimes the simple truths are the most fundamental. A company that has experience with bespoke, high-quality app development and web development will be able to understand your needs and how to address them.
Software engineering is like anything else: You get better at it the more you do it. Companies that have worked together for a long time have optimized their workflow to have project management and quality assurance systems in place. Ideally, the client will only have to be involved as much as they’d like to. Popular methodologies like the Agile framework provide adequate flexibility for stakeholders no matter the project.
A bespoke software development company should also be able to handle all aspects of the software development project: backend, frontend, UX design, APIs to handle big data, and more.
Of course, no custom software development company can be an expert in all fields. E-commerce has different requirements than the internet of things (IoT), and healthcare and CRM’s have stricter privacy and security needs than simple business automation platforms.
An all-rounder software developer — one with experience in web and mobile applications (both Android and iOS), scalability, and with a transparent business process — is a solid choice for creating custom software. Because flexibility is required in creating custom software, you’ll want your developer to have years of experience in many types of development.
Making the Connection: Starting Development
So, how do you know if a company can provide the custom software solutions you need? There are essentially two steps, and it all starts with initial contact. It should look something like this:
- The software company responds to a query by asking for more information regarding your business model, business goals, type of software application you’re looking for, and more
- The potential client has a phone call or face-to-face meeting with the software developer, including as many technical experts as possible: CTO, tech leads, and more
A company like SmartDev that provides custom software development services will have a firm grasp and unshakeable stance on the sanctity of intellectual property rights, and safeguard your data with their reputation, if not their lives.
Before the introduction of tailor-made software development, the company carries out a qualitative analysis of the specifics of the customer business in order to protect the customer company from unnecessary risks. Developers study the finer points of the business, discuss the needs of customers and draw up a plan of how the business wants to achieve their results via their custom software.
So, have you found the right company?
If you’ve got this far in the article, you may have pieced together that SmartDev would love to help create bespoke software for your company, or for someone you know. We revel in providing the best customer experience possible both for our clients and for end users of our software. Want an example? Take a look at BigPay, a financial services platform we built that’s now used by hundreds of thousands every day. That’s a prime example of bespoke software gone right, and we’re quite proud of it.
We’d be thrilled if you or a company you work with reached out to us to discuss potential bespoke software development. It’s what we’re all about. Got questions? We’re right here to answer. It may be one of the best moves you’ll make.