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Bespoke vs Off-the-shelf Software

Author: Simon Cooper (Hero Solutions)
Date Posted: March 2015

Introduction

Most software that you use will be 'off the shelf' packages and the same application will typically be run by thousands or even millions of users. You may be considering having a bespoke application written specifically for your organisation. There are various advantages and disadvantages to both off-the-shelf and bespoke applications. This article takes a balanced look at the pros and cons of each to help you make the right decision for your organisation.

The Pros and Cons of Off-the-shelf Software

Large software companies such as Microsoft and Adobe produce a massive range of off-the-shelf software for a variety of different purposes and audiences. Packaged software, as with anything, has its pros and cons.

The PROS of Off-the-shelf Software

The CONS of Off-the-shelf Software

The Pros and Cons of Bespoke Software

On the flip side, bespoke software has its own unique set of pros and cons that should be considered.

The PROS of Bespoke Software

The CONS of Bespoke Software

Conclusion

Having a bespoke application developed for you can potentially provide you with major business and commercial benefits and allow you to gain significant competitive advantage. Bespoke applications are generally easier to use and can work around the way you do business, rather than the other way round. However, you have to expect to pay more for it than for a packaged solution (both in time and money) and it is also essential that you use a professional developer who works to industry standards and who is happy to provide you with the source code to your application and on-going support for the package.

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