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Bespoke Development v Off The Shelf Packages

There are a number of choices that anyone wishing to create a website, application or software needs to consider. One of the first and most fundamental of these is whether the project requires bespoke development or whether an off the shelf package will allow the company to meet their needs.

So, let’s take a look at some of the key advantages and disadvantages each option has to offer to help you make a more informed choice.

Off the Shelf

The main appeal of an off the shelf package is that it will often be cheaper, as well as a less time consuming option; meaning you can work to tighter time frames and do not need to commit large amounts of resources and money. Off the shelf packages can often offer some sophisticated functionality and slick navigation that you might not find in bespoke software, especially if you are purchasing from a big name company. Buying an off the shelf option may also mean that you have access to a wide range of help resources, such as manuals and online information.

Now, here’s the flip side. By their very nature off the shelf solutions will rarely meet all your exact needs, so you’re going to have to compromise on some requirements. It is likely you will be unable to develop the functionality over time, as your business evolves. And whilst you may have access to manuals and other resources, actually getting a direct response from developers may prove tricky.


As you’d expect from the name, a bespoke solution will be tailored exactly to your requirements and should, if done right, meet all your business needs. As a result the cost and resources needed are likely to be considerably higher and the development period longer. However, this will ensure that your new site or software enables you to fully integrate IT systems across the company and is most likely to  deliver you significant long term cost and time saving benefits.

In today's, fiercely contested market, a bespoke solution can also give you a competitive advantage, as your solution will be unique and not available to competitors.

In order to take advantage of the benefits a bespoke solution has to offer selecting the right developers to work with is critical. Our advice, make sure you take your time and do your research, so you don’t find yourself spending money on something that doesn’t meet your needs. 

Regardless of whether you decide for to go for a bespoke or off the shelf solution, what is important is that you consider the options in light of your business objectives, budgets, timescales and future plans; what is right for one company won’t be right for another.

If you want to talk through your options or need help deciding what is best for you, contact us.

25 November 2014
Blog Author
Oliver Pluckrose
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