Bespoke software, or custom software, is developed specifically for an organisation. In contrast, traditional software solutions, also known as off-the-shelf software, can be bought by anyone in a pre-set form. As the names imply, the difference is like going to the store and buying, say, a piece of furniture on display vs. getting one custom-made for you.
Benefits of bespoke software
Custom software can be built with the unique features your company is looking for, rather than having to go with what an off-the-shelf solution offers. For example, you might want to build unique automated workflows or custom integrations with other tools, especially if you have other custom solutions that you want interoperability with.
Another potential advantage to bespoke software is that you can gain the flexibility to build, deploy, manage and update the software according to your needs, not the software vendor’s. So, whether you want to add features over time, add new users to the system without necessarily incurring extra cost, etc., you often have the flexibility to do so with tailored software.
Bespoke software can provide companies with more control over their software and associated data than they might with an off-the-shelf vendor. For example, bespoke software could be built to allow for cloud access while still keeping customer data within your company’s control, rather than turning to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider who stores your data on their servers.
Example of bespoke software types
Bespoke software can exist across essentially any category of software. Some examples include:
Custom warehouse inventory software
Being able to keep track of inventory and manage it efficiently can make a big impact on your bottom line. That’s why some organisations with unique or complex inventory needs turn to custom warehouse inventory software. Off-the-shelf solutions might not align with the way your warehouse organises inventory or handles deliveries, but a fully customisable solution could be aligned with your processes.
Custom content management system
For businesses that publish content, whether that’s a media organisation or a company with a robust blog, a custom content management system (CMS) could potentially be the way to go. With a custom CMS, you can design unique publishing processes, such as workflows that enable you to go from drafting to editing to graphics implementation in a way that’s comfortable for your team, rather than having to follow the processes an off-the-shelf solution allows for.
Bespoke customer relationship management software
While many off-the-shelf CRMs exist, some organisations still prefer more tailored software. A bespoke CRM might give you more control over sensitive customer data, for example. And if you have many different types of sales teams, tailored software could help each team gain the functionality they need from the CRM, rather than using a one-size-fits-all solution.