In the Beginning:
The dictionary definition of the word ‘Bespoke’ is ‘Made for a particular customer or user’
Up until the 1970’s, most people probably used the term in relation to clothing, where they might order a ‘bespoke suit or pair of shoes’. However, the IT industry has never been slow to hijack vocabulary and soon it was using the term ‘Bespoke’ to describe computer software written for, or adapted to, the requirements of an individual.
Believe it or not, companies used computers before PC’s, Windows, Apple and Google were even twinkles in the eyes of their illustrious founders.
During these pioneering days, obtaining hardware in the form on ‘mini-computers’ was straightforward, but the brick-wall for these businesses was obtaining cost effective financial and business software that was compatible and that provided the necessary functionality.
In many cases, software was written in-house out of necessity. Companies would hire teams of analysts and developers and write even the most basic of financial systems from scratch.
This was the beginning of ‘bespoke commercial software’. It was born out of businesses needing IT systems to administer and manage their operations in a manner that was not available to them off the shelf.
The Growth of Packaged Software:
However, a lot of companies saw the opportunity to generate revenue by selling their ‘bespoke’ developments to other businesses.
Ultimately, investment was made to refine and parameterise the software. The support infrastructure was put in place and new companies were formed to market and sell what started to become packaged applications.
These new products were substantially cheaper than maintaining in-house development teams, especially in small businesses.
As the PC revolution took hold and companies such as Pegasus and Sage launched their products, the packaged software market grew at remarkable rates.
As time has gone by, packaged software has had to change to react to trends as well as legal requirements. This requires considerable investment.
Even though there are cost effective online ERP/Financial options with limited features available to small business, the SME market now finds that fully featured packaged software is not necessarily a cheap option anymore and often requires extensive configuration.
Where does Bespoke Software fit in the marketplace now?
When compared to some of these mainstream package solutions, bespoke software can now compete in a cost to cost comparison.
You also have the benefit that your bespoke application should perform all your required tasks as you define them and should be flexible enough to adapt to your future needs without having to compromise the ways in which your business functions.
The use of bespoke software isn’t limited to entire applications or systems. It can be used to replace some of those small manual tasks that happen in most businesses.
- Re-keying data from one system into another
- Exporting to Excel and manual reporting
- Handling web or e-commerce orders
- Reconciling data from different systems
In these instances, bespoke software can be massively useful as an integrated tool, performing a lot of these tasks and reducing man-hours and potential errors.
The most important part of utilising bespoke software is to find a provider of long standing that you can trust and one that understands your business.
There are a lot of contractors and free-lance developers that move swiftly between contracts and are not there to provide the support that you may need a few months after implementation. We see many companies that have fallen foul of these practices.
DCS have been providing bespoke systems and integration tools for many years. In fact, we have one global client that uses our ERP software in 4 countries and has been doing that for over 30 years.
We have a team of 10 developers and due to demand, are currently recruiting to expand that team even further. So, if you are considering a bespoke application or would like to see how we can help with integrating or migrating your existing systems, then please feel free to call us and have a chat to discuss your options.