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Is bespoke software expensive?

03 March 2020 | Blog

It’s time for the second installment in our series of blogs answering some of the top questions we are asked as specialists in bespoke software development. This time we are discussing the costs involved with developing bespoke software and how it compares to an off-the-shelf solution.

You can read the first blog here where we talk about how bespoke software could benefit your business.

Is bespoke software expensive?  

Some people we speak to are worried about the costs they believe are involved in developing a bespoke solution and they think that an off-the-shelf solution is a cheaper alternative. We firmly believe that in the long run, bespoke software is often the more cost-effective option and here are some of the reasons why:

  • Additional income
    Building an off-the-shelf solution can help to position your business as a disruptor or leader in your marketplace. Our customers have found that implementing their own custom solution changes their customers’ perception of them, enabling them to differentiate themselves from their competitors and rise up to compete for a new level of contracts. This leads to new opportunities, a higher conversion rate and greater retention at point of contract renewal – all of which act to repay your investment in your bespoke solution.
  • Build resalable intellectual property
    When you build your own solution, you are generating intellectual property (IP) which can be a valuable asset.  Once you have built and started using your solution then KLOC can help you earn a direct return on that investment by licensing it to other businesses. KLOC has all the facilities to market, develop and support your IP, and you can be as involved as you like with the process – either helping to sell it or simply counting the income! If you decide to ask KLOC to take your solution to market, it might not cost you anything at all and end up becoming an additional revenue stream.
  • HMRC research and development tax credits
    When you build your own solution then you are likely to be entitled to claim back a significant percentage of the total cost via the HMRC R&D Tax Credit Scheme. Many of our clients have been able to do this and enjoyed the advantages of bespoke software at a fraction of the cost.
  • Improved scalability
    An off-the-shelf solution might meet your needs for now, but what about in future? Will it need to be replaced in a few years, costing you more than you initially budgeted for? As your business grows it can lead to increasingly complex technological requirements. A bespoke solution can be developed with this in mind or enhanced as your business grows and changes to continually meet your unique needs.
  • Already customised to meet your needs
    Off-the-shelf solutions often need to be customised to meet your needs, which comes at an extra cost, as well as delaying when you are able to go-live. A bespoke solution is tailored to exactly meet your needs from the beginning, everything you require is agreed up front and included in the development so you get just what you need. Furthermore, when your business changes, we can quickly and easily amend or extend your bespoke solution to fit your needs.
  • Improved efficiency
    A bespoke solution can allow your staff to work more efficiently as they are using a system that has been built specifically for their needs. Training costs may be lower as staff can quickly and easily learn how to use the new, user-friendly software without needing to adapt processes to fit in with an off-the-shelf solution.
  • Only pay for what you need
    Off-the-shelf solutions need to have broad appeal and so contain a wide range of features – many of which you probably don’t need but are still paying for. With a bespoke solution, you only pay for what you need.
  • No unexpected license fees
    With an off-the-shelf solution you may find yourself paying more than expected if you need extra licenses for new members of staff. With a bespoke solution, once it has been built you own the intellectual property so there are no further licensing costs regardless of how many users need access.

The point we are trying to raise is that off-the-shelf solutions often come with hidden costs, while bespoke software has additional benefits,  all of which need to be considered when budget planning and when making a comparison between the two options.

We have a few case studies which demonstrate how a bespoke solution has benefited our customers:

You can also read our recent blog about how we developed a “game-changing”, industry-leading mobile app for Hercules Site Services.

For more information or if you have a requirement you would like to discuss, contact KLOC today.