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Off-The-Shelf vs. Bespoke Solutions

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Is there a specific system that would help you to manage your business better, or solution to your lengthy eCommerce fulfilment? Or anything else you think needs help automating to make your business more efficient? There’s always something that we could be improving on, but would you choose an off-the-shelf system or have something bespoke designed to exactly suit your requirements? Read on to work through the decision-making process. . .

Off-the-shelf

Pros:

  • Cheaper: an obvious one, if you buy something generic rather than tailored to your specifications then there’s less work involved per sale and so it’s cheaper.
  • Sophisticated: as there will be multiple people purchasing, the developers will often try to meet the needs of as many people as possible to increase its attractiveness and upgrades will likely be made more frequently to keep up with ever-changing technology.
  • Quicker: the system can be made available to you almost immediately. If it’s already available for purchase then the likelihood is that you just need to download and/or install it and you’ll be able to use it.

Cons:

  • Problems: if there are problems with the system, it may take longer or be more difficult to get it solved.
  • Compatibility: as it will not have been designed specifically with your business in mind, it may not be 100% compatible with your existing systems.
  • Compromise: you may have to compromise on the number of features you have or problems you can solve with the one system, it may not offer you exactly what you’re looking for.

Bespoke

Pros:

  • Tailored: bespoke systems will be tailored exactly to your requirements and specifications so that you can easily simplify your processes. It will also be able to be built to integrate into your existing systems.
  • Creative rights: you own the intellectual rights to the software so technically you’re not tied in to one particular supplier/maintainer and it could also be an income generator if you sell licences to other businesses.
  • Support: as you have paid for a bespoke solution or ongoing maintenance, you’ll likely receive much better and quicker support if something does go wrong.

Cons:

  • Expensive: if off-the-shelf systems are cheaper, then the bespoke ones are more expensive, because they require work to tailor them to your individual needs.
  • Not available immediately: as the solution has to be tailored to your requirements, as well as costing more, it’s likely to take longer before it’s available for you to use.
  • Training: with a bespoke system you’ll probably need to spend longer on specific training for staff as there won’t be generic documentation to go with it.

Or perhaps there’s a way to get a hybrid solution that is a customised off-the-shelf solution, this would be a compromise between the two solutions. We specialise in developing bespoke systems tailored to yours and your business’ requirements, but if you need to discuss your options then drop us a line: hello@webfwd.co.uk

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