When to Use Off-the-Shelf or SaaS vs Bespoke Software Solutions in Your Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |SaaS vs Bespoke Software|When to Use Off-the-Shelf or SaaS vs Bespoke Software Solutions in Your BusinessWhen growing a business, dealing with software can be a headache. You need certain tasks to be completed, and off-the-shelf software often doesn’t quite hit the mark. One package might have some useful features but exclude others that are required. Or the interface is not very user-friendly creating lost time for staff as they battle to get the most out of a cumbersome design.

For small businesses especially, it’s difficult to figure out what to do. In this article, we cover some key points on the decision-making process between buying off-the-shelf, using a SaaS or ordering bespoke software solutions.

Off-the-Shelf Software

As a business owner, you’re most likely familiar with buying software off-the-shelf. Whilst some is no longer sold from retail stores because it’s now downloaded digitally, this is essentially still the same thing.

These are software packages made for the masses. It could be Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop or another application for a PC or Mac. It’s affordable because the development cost is spread over the revenue generated from millions of unit sales. For a low cost, companies can purchase a suite of apps that are highly useable and work in a familiar way that many people in the workforce already have experience using.

The downside with off-the-shelf software is that it’s usually not customisable to a great degree. It’s possible to hire a company to tweak it a little here and there, but not extensively.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Software-as-a-Service is a software solution that’s based online. Usually entirely so. Therefore, it’s a website developed as a virtual application that any staff member can sign up for and use. Usually, a company will purchase an enterprise or small business account that allows a certain number of staff members to use the software at one time.

The online software isn’t directly customisable, but it is sometimes possible to access some feature modules while skipping others that aren’t needed. For instance, an accounting package might separate out the sales ledger, bought ledger and payroll functions with companies able to include or exclude these modules, as needed.

Bespoke Software Solutions

Bespoke software is designed especially for a single business. It’s created as a custom solution to provide a perfect answer to address one or more business problems. It is the costliest of the three options because it’s a one-off solution.

When considering going the bespoke route, it’s usually a good idea to seek out a local provider because you’ll need to meet them in person and run through your requirements. So, for instance, in Australia one of the best providers for bespoke solutions is www.cosource.com.au.

CoSource, at www.CoSource.com.au, provide upgrades or modifications to existing software, or create entirely new software built to order. Additionally, they can design a new database for the specific digital needs of your business. Also, if you wish to beef up the e-commerce capabilities on your website, they have been developing online solutions for 15 years and know how to drive sales.

Most companies have software solutions of all three flavours. There’s no one right answer here. Each business situation is unique.

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