Bespoke Software vs Off-The-Shelf Product

When a business decision maker has to decide between investing in bespoke software or purchasing an off-the-shelf application there are some important factors to consider – you can read the full article here, or the extract below:
Factor
Bespoke Software
Off The Shelf Products
Initial Purchase Price
A significant investment
Relatively Cheap
All The Software Features You Need
Yes
Probably not, but may be able to muddle through.
Easy To Use
Yes (if well designed)
Can be complex as not designed for one business.
Makes staff / users as efficient as possible and minimises business mistakes
Yes
There will always be compromises – but these may be acceptable.
Overloaded with too many choices / features.
No it is designed to meet your needs.
Often is – needs the functionality to support all types of users
Help pages and training
May require additional investment
Freely available including independent online resources
Share information with other businesses
Possible, but likely to be reports – other businesses will not have your software.
Yes. E.g. word-processor or accounting files are often shared.
Time To Buy
Need to spend time defining what is needed.
Quite quick to evaluate and make a choice

A bespoke software solution can bring the benefits of ease-of-use and fitting in with special processes and other systems – giving a competitive advantage, saving on administration time and reducing human errors. Whereas an off-the-shelf solution will almost certainly have a significantly lower purchase price, but be compromised in terms of its features or how it works.

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