5 advantages of bespoke software development over off-the-shelf solutions

by Andy Jones ,
December 7, 2020
Software Development Company, Bespoke Software, Bespoke Software Developer

To rise above your competition, your business needs a fast, accurate software solution.

Your choice is clear – should you opt for an off-the-shelf or bespoke solution? But this decision process is more complex than you may assume. It’s not just a matter of cost – you must look beyond the super-fast deployment times and low price tags that many off-the-shelf solutions promise.

Sometimes, an off-the-shelf solution is the right one. At Make IT Simple, we encourage our clients to use the most cost-effective option. Bespoke software can provide your business with a targeted solution. The flexibility and scalability of a bespoke solution can provide a long-term ROI and competitive edge for your business.

In this post, we examine the advantages of bespoke software development, comparing them to off-the-shelf solutions and examining the pros and cons of both.

5 advantages of bespoke software development over off-the-shelf solutions

1. Customisability

Customisability is one of the major advantages of bespoke software. With a bespoke solution, you get complete control over your features and functionality. This allows you to match your software features with your business requirements.

As your company grows and changes, so can your bespoke software. This is a cost-effective option, where you don’t waste time and money on features that you won’t use.

Unlike an off-the-shelf solution, you don’t have to make compromises with your bespoke software.

But this is not always a deal-breaker.

Think about Microsoft Word, for example. You probably only use a tiny proportion of this solution’s features – but that’s not a reason to develop your own word processing solution.

However, for the majority of use cases, a bespoke solution is a better option. This is because it is highly customisable and flexible to adapt to your business needs – both now and in the future.

2. Functionality

Who is going to use your software? An expert or non-expert user? Or both? Of course, it depends on the use of your proposed software solution.

Thanks to advancing digitisation, you may need to tailor your software for non-expert users. Or you may need a specialist solution that’s tailored to a team of experts. You may need to do both, providing a solution that gives expert and non-expert users the right tools and level of detail to do their job.

An off-the-shelf solution may not address the exact needs of your end-users. For example, it may be too complicated for them to use or lack the functionality required for them to do their jobs.

A bespoke solution can provide the right functionality for the right user. Built with your current processes and technologies in mind, you can preview and test a bespoke solution. So, if there’s any functionality you do not like or cannot use, you can request a change.

The development of a new software solution often unleashes a free exchange of ideas. This promotes collaboration, helping you both win wider business buy-in for your proposed software solution and meet your end-user expectations.

3. Interoperability

Interoperability issues are often rife with off-the-shelf solutions. You may struggle to sync this solution with your other assets, for example.

A bespoke solution is designed to work with your existing processes and technologies. This reduces the risk of data loss and other issues for your business. Bespoke software can also scale as your business scales, providing you with a future-proofed solution.

4. Support and training

Off-the-shelf solutions often come with robust support and online communities. However, if you cannot find an answer to your exact query, you may have to wait for a response. This is both a frustrating and time-consuming experience.

With a bespoke solution, you can send your questions straight to the development team. Remember, this team built your software and will have previous experience working with your company, so they are best placed to resolve your exact problem quickly.

The development team can also train your staff to use your bespoke software. This is a necessity if your software was specifically engineered for your business. Training for some off-the-shelf solutions is also important and, for complex systems like a CRM, this can be quite expensive.

5. Price

Whether you opt for off-the-shelf or bespoke software, you must conduct a thorough ROI calculation.

Many off-the-shelf solutions appear to have a low upfront cost. But you typically need to pay for additional users as your business grows.

Bespoke solutions are highly scalable, growing as your business grows and can meet the changing needs of your business. They can also provide a range of value-added benefits, including:


How much time would a bespoke solution save your staff as they complete their day-to-day tasks? Bespoke software is tailored to your requirements and developed with your end-users in mind, so it can unleash widespread productivity gains across your business.

What’s more, many bespoke solutions include automation to further free your staff’s time. This can streamline your processes, eliminating bottlenecks across both your asset management and supply management, for example.


Legacy systems need expensive hardware to run. This hardware is not just expensive in terms of up-front costs but also due to ongoing O&M costs. Modern technology can be built efficiently, saving you a fortune in hosting or server costs.


A bespoke solution can streamline your sales processes for your customers and back office. Custom apps, for example, can widen your online reach. They can also align your sales and marketing, procurement and other teams.

This can help you further streamline your sales processes and supply chain management.


Do you currently have the same data replicated across multiple systems? Bespoke software can consolidate that information. This reduces both your running costs and the risk of error/data discrepancies.

What’s more, a bespoke solution can minimise the risk of fines and other costly mistakes due to data breaches or a lack of compliance. They also provide a clear paper trail for your auditing tasks.


What happens when your business outgrows your current off-the-shelf solution? Are you going to buy a new chunk of software and go through the same migration and integration processes?

A bespoke solution can grow with your business, helping you scale and continue to meet the needs of your customers in the years ahead.

In conclusion…

If your company is considering a new software solution, it’s important to get your facts straight. Every business is different – but one of the main advantages of bespoke software development is how it can provide many value-added benefits.

At Make IT Simple, we’ve helped dozens of businesses design and install a range of digital strategies. We can advise you on the best route to take and help you get the most out of your software solution – contact us to find out more.

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