Looking for business management software tools but don’t know whether to buy off-the-shelf or bespoke?
When deciding to buy some new management software the choice between off-the-shelf solutions or bespoke software tools can be a difficult one. This article looks at some of the areas you should think about before deciding on the choice for you.
It is easy to assume that an off-the-shelf solution must be cheaper, but this is not always the case. Off-the-shelf solutions are designed to work for everyone, so the chances are you’ll be paying for functionality you don’t need and probably won’t use.
Many off-the-shelf business software tools will charge for user licenses whilst customised solutions cover unlimited user licenses so 10 users can use the system as cheaply as one. You understand your business – you know exactly how things are done, the terminology you use and the way in which you charge for jobs. Some businesses have complicated processes where parts must be ordered or installed, or approvals gained before the next stage of the process can be started. The designer of bespoke software will start by learning exactly what you do, and how your company processes work.
This means more time at the design stage to ensure that the solution fulfils all your requirements. However, a well-designed bespoke system can reproduce your business systems exactly; this cuts down hugely on training time for staff as the final system will be familiar to them in many ways and intuitive for them to use. A bespoke solution can evolve, adapt and extend with your changing needs, and you never have to pay for an update that you don’t need, just to have the most up-to-date version.
With an off-the-shelf solution training is likely to be general, aimed at the capabilities of the software more than the specific needs of your business. With a bespoke system supplied by a good company, any training you need should be specific, structured to the needs of your company and your staff. With off-the-shelf solutions phone support may be available for longer hours than if your software is designed especially for you, but the staff are unlikely to be aware of your particular set-up.With bespoke software, phone support should be easily accessible, and supplied by people who understand your system.