Why bespoke software development saves you time & money
A frequent question we are asked is whether it is more cost-effective to buy an ‘off-the shelf’ system or to commission a completely bespoke build.
There are two issues at stake here; cost and function.
- How to achieve the best value for money within your budget
- How to ensure you have all the features and functions you require, both to meet your current needs and anticipating further growth and development in the future.
At Pace IT we specialise in innovative, custom designed IT systems. Our experience in working with a wide range of clients has led us to believe that bespoke software development almost always yield a greater ROI over time than bought systems.
An agile software development approach saves you both time and money
This is because a bespoke system is built around your processes and therefore fits your business like a glove. With a predesigned system this is completely the other way round. You often need a complex implementation phase whereby you change your business processes to fit the functionality of a pre-bought system.
For us, this is the wrong way of approaching an IT system. It makes more sense to look at the required processes and build a system around that, in order to improve efficiency and avoid redundant functions.
Furthermore, a bespoke system is also far easier to augment and modify, allowing you to add features and functions in the future as your market and business practices change. With an off-the-shelf system, updates may be cumbersome and imperfect, or you may find you have to change the system entirely as your business grows. A bespoke system is cheaper in the long-term.
Also, ironically, although off-the-shelf systems market themselves as cheaper than bespoke alternatives, this may not be the case long term. A bought system may come with lower upfront costs, but your expenses in licence fees and support charges will add up over time. On the other hand, a bespoke system has only one upfront development cost, after which it will not accrue any expenses through fees.
A bespoke system gives you control over updates and functionality
You should also take into account that bought systems have a faster obsolescence than custom systems. While a bespoke system can be updated at will to respond to changes in need, you have little or no control over the frequency or scope of updates to off-the-shelf systems. These will normally be in the hands of the developer themselves, and when updates do come through, they will typically be applied whether you want them or not!
Any additional changes you make will need to be on the developer’s terms, working with their code. This is often an expensive and unsatisfactory process. The majority of commercial applications also come with planned obsolescence, beyond which time you are obliged to purchase the latest upgrade version in order to access support and updates.
You may end up spending less in the long term through a bespoke system then you would by buying a predesigned system.