How to Use Bespoke Software to Get Ahead of Your Competitors
The world moves fast. Business moves even faster, and it’s never been more important to find a competitive edge. Companies are constantly on the lookout for their next advantage - whether it’s powerful branding, captivating marketing, product innovation, or even bespoke software.
That’s right. Deployed correctly, a bespoke software system can be just as important to your business’ chances of success as a killer advertising campaign or an exciting new service.
In over two decades, we’ve worked on hundreds of development projects, creating unique systems for everyone from banks to manufacturers. And in that time, we’ve seen companies turn an idea for new software into a distinct advantage.
Here’s how using bespoke software can help you get ahead of your competitors.
1. Bespoke software can help you scale your operations
A surefire way to outperform your competitors is to outgrow them. If you can work with more clients than they can, if you can offer more services than they can, then you’ll corner more of the market.
That requires processes and software that can grow with your business. Off-the-shelf products aren’t designed for rapid changes. Quick growth, or strategic moves into new sectors can easily outpace your software package. So you have to invest again - both time and money - to keep up.
Or you can easily prepare for preplanned scenarios, and react more quickly to surprises, with bespoke software designed around your business, removing barriers to your expansion and growth.
Done well, a bespoke software system will scale more efficiently - and cost-effectively - than off-the-shelf and SaaS products. By building in the capacity to grow, you’ll minimise future costs, so a 500% increase in customers won’t lead to a 500% increase in licensing costs or user fees.
2. A bespoke mindset encourages innovation
If Henry Ford had followed the wisdom of his day, he’d have spent years trying to breed a faster horse. He didn’t. He set about addressing unarticulated needs, adopted new technologies and created a market for cars. Look out of the window, and you’ll see he was quite successful.
Choosing bespoke software helps you change your ways of thinking and see innovative new ways of solving problems. It’s all down to mindset. If you pick up a product that will solve a certain problem for your business, you’ll start to think in terms of that solution and that alone.
In a more free-flowing discussion with a bespoke developer, you’ll have more chances to see problems from new angles, opening your mind to new ideas, new systems, and new solutions.
You can innovate with off-the-shelf products, but bespoke projects demand innovation. And reward it.
3. The right tools can increase productivity
Just as off-the-shelf products can hinder innovation, they can also hinder your productivity. Because they’re often built as a “Swiss army knife,” off-the-shelf software systems are quite good at doing lots of things. But you need to pick through all of the “corkscrews” and “fish scalers” to get to the tool you actually want.
Bespoke software isn’t a tool for every job. It’s a tool for the specific tasks your business wants to accomplish. It’s tailored to your exact needs, with none of the limitations or excess baggage you’ll find with SaaS products.
If you take the time to educate a developer about how and why you work in certain ways, bespoke software can encourage collaboration, streamline user experiences, and supercharge your productivity.
4. Bespoke systems are flexible
Just because your bespoke software is focused on specific tasks it doesn’t mean you’re locked into certain ways of working. Far from it. Because you’re in control of the development process, you have the power to change it as and when you see fit.
How many times have you wished a product had a few extra features, or that the system you used could be tailored just a little more? With bespoke software, you can ask. You can adapt to meet changing business, customer or regulatory requirements, you can brand it any way you like, and add all the functionality and integrations you need.
Choose the right developer, and you’ll be in control. Need a client facing front-end that displays your corporate branding, integrates seamlessly with your billing or scheduling software, and collects the right data in the right way?
Just ask, and you’ll get. Your competitors using off-the-shelf or SaaS systems may not be so lucky.
5. Your own software will meet your own security standards
Data security is at the front of everyone’s minds. And it’s no wonder. Every single day over 30,000 cyber attacks are logged, records are breached, and software is compromised.
A reliable software developer will help you implement the right security measures, but more than that, choosing bespoke software makes you less of a target.
Put yourself in the mindset of a cybercriminal. What’s a better use of your time? Breaking into one company’s bespoke system to access their data only, or breaking into a SaaS provider’s database to access information from thousands of companies?
Customers like to be safe. That added level of security might just give you the edge over your competitors.
6. Bespoke development lets you own your investment
If you spend tens of thousands of pounds on licences for off-the-shelf software and the provider folds, or stops supporting your favourite tool, what happens? You’re stuck.
If a bespoke developer has to stop working with you for any reason, you’re in a stronger position. You own the code, and an honest developer will make sure that it can be worked on by any skilled development team. If that’s your own in-house team, they’ll have gained information and insight from working alongside your development partners - insights they’d miss out on with SaaS products.
You’ll own your software outright, with no hidden customisation, upgrade or licensing costs, and you’ll control the pace of development. Up-front costs might be higher, but your long-term security will be greater.
And not only will your investment be more secure in the long term than your competitors’, you’ll also own the IP of your software. Which means…
7. You can turn your bespoke software into an off-the-shelf or SaaS product
Picture it. You’ve developed a piece of software that’s helped you move far ahead of your competitors. And this software has been built to meet the specific needs of your company.
How much would your competitors pay to get their hands on that software?
How much would you charge them?
Once you’ve left your competitors behind, you can use your bespoke software to turn them into customers, creating an additional revenue stream and recouping your initial investments. This isn’t the end game for every single development project, but it’s definitely possible. As long as you own the IP and control the process.
It’s all about making the right decisions to secure your competitive advantage.
Securing your advantage needs the right bespoke development partner
Bespoke software isn’t a magic bullet. Developed correctly, and designed with your business’s specific challenges in mind, it can give you that all-important edge over your competitors. But a poorly-handled development project can take up your time and sap your budgets, leaving you lagging behind instead of forging ahead.
Finding the right partner can be difficult. That’s why we created The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Bespoke Software Company. Our comprehensive ebook walks you through the reasons for and against choosing a development company, warns you of the common pitfalls, and makes sure you’re clear on key considerations.
If you’ve done your due diligence and found Transition is the right partner for your bespoke software project, we’ll be happy to talk about your plans and how we can make them a reality. Drop us a line today.