Business owners know the importance of effective software applications for the efficient running of their operations. Off-the-shelf software is widely used for many basic office activities, but when it comes to more fine-grained business processes, generic software may not always be the best option in terms of functionality or cost. How do you determine which solution provides better long term value for your business – enterprise, off-the-shelf software, or a bespoke development?
Off-the-shelf or generic software is aimed at the mass market. This means that its requirements are generalised as much as possible to meet a wide range of requirements. Bespoke software, on the other hand, is designed, coded and tested around the processes and requirements of a particular business or domain. This means that, from the very start, the application is designed around what the client does and how it does it, with the aim of modelling, replicating and complimenting complex processes and data management, leading to greater efficiency and profitability.
This doesn’t mean that enterprise software is inferior or somehow substandard. On the contrary, many applications are excellent – they simply aren’t crafted specifically for you. Often this isn’t a problem, whereas for certain applications a bespoke application may offer a performance advantage or better ROI.
Should You Go Bespoke?
Bespoke software has an initial design and production phase that draws closely on client communication. While this takes time, it can lead to greater efficiencies in the long run. There may also be an advantage when it comes to implementation. Although the time needed to source an off-the-shelf application may seem to be as long as it takes to download and install, the complexities only begin once the software is opened.
In fact, the very strengths of enterprise software - its versatility, generality and non-domain specificity - means that it will require much more configuration to render it suitable for a more tightly-defined specialist problem domain. Bespoke software, by contrast, is precisely designed with that domain in mind and thus requires little ongoing configuration.
It may also be the case that, for more complex or unusual business requirements, enterprise software simply cannot be shoe-horned in. Furthermore, in terms of initial set up, because bespoke software has been designed and produced by experts who have carefully studied and analysed your business model, there are none of the risks of misconfiguration at this initial stage.
Not Enough Functionality, Or Too Much?
While enterprise software often does not meet specific requirements, the converse is also frequently true. All too often, enterprise applications do too much, having a range of functionality that is, for most situations, simply not required. This adds to the complexity of configuration as well as ongoing difficulties in use. The time spent addressing these problems initially, in training staff with complex and possibly unsuitable software, as well as the inefficiencies of its ongoing management, mean that off-the-shelf software may be a false economy. Dedicated solutions, in this case, can actually lead to cost and efficiency savings over the long term and aid profitability with robustness and targeted functionality.
Again, it’s important to note that this isn’t the case with all enterprise platforms. Many leading platforms use a modular structure that allows users to customise their product while implementing only the functions they need for their current requirements. Working with a managed IT service provider, such as TMB, can help tailor an enterprise application to your needs without the expense and complexities of commissioning a bespoke application from scratch.
How We Can Help
TMB's expert development team can work with your business to clarify existing business requirements and design software to meet them. TMB value communication and work closely with clients to understand domain-specific processes in-depth, as well as the ongoing challenges and integration needed to boost profit potential. Clients can trust TMB as a long term ally in delivering robust and well-adapted solutions. To find out more, please get in touch today!
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