For companies to achieve success these days, it's more crucial than ever to stand out from the competition.

Given the stakes, more firms are looking at bespoke software vs off the shelf solutions for their business. We'll discuss some of the advantages of each and take a deep dive into the Laracle development team's creation of a highly successful bespoke software solution, ticketing application Seatedly.

But first, let's define our terms in brief.

What Is Commercial Off-The-Shelf Software?

Commercial off the shelf software (COTS) is widely distributed, generic, and ready to use straight out of the box. It's designed for the mass market, calibrated to sell as many units across as broad a swath of company types as possible.

Of course, the trade-off here is obvious: such a broadly appealing application might not do everything every company needs it to do. For many, it will lack the desired features.

You could say that COTS is designed to meet some of the needs of most of the people most of the time.

What is Bespoke Software?

Custom or bespoke software solutions, on the other hand, are created from scratch by a developer to fit the specific needs of one business. Tailored software is crafted to match the existing business model of the company that commissions it and to adapt to and work with their legacy systems.

A bespoke developer team works with a given company to fully understand their unique needs and the way their current system works in detail. Then they take the time to not only create the precise tools needed to maximise the firm's efficiency and cost-savings, but also to create a design aesthetic that's a 100 per cent match for the company's style.


Differences Between Bespoke Software Vs Off the Shelf

  • Up-Front Cost – Up-front costs are cheaper with generic items of any sort, software included. It's important to remember, however, that subsequent expansion of your business using COTS can bump up your outlay considerably. You'll be required to purchase more licences once you scale up, and that's if you can even still use your original COTS. At a certain point in their growth trajectory, many companies find generic software is no longer compatible with the way the business is evolving.

  • Time – Buying and installing a ready-to-go application is naturally faster than having a developer design a custom one. (Although it must be said that the time you save in terms of efficiency and reduced labour once a bespoke software solution is up and running usually dwarfs the wait time needed to create it.)

  • Maintenance – Buying generic software from a massive corporate developer means most bugs have been eliminated. However, don't count on a fast resolution if you do encounter a problem when you call a software giant's labyrinthine customer service department. With bespoke software vs off the shelf applications, however, you're just a phone call away from the actual humans who wrote it, and who can therefore fix any issues.

Bepsoke software infographic

How to Choose Between Bespoke Software vs Off the Shelf?

All of this isn't to say that custom solutions are always the right choice.

Smaller businesses just getting started can probably find ways to cope with the limitations of generic software. What's more, certain types of companies that don't require many interconnected applications or linking up to cloud data through various legacy apps often find COTS acceptable.

But for larger businesses on the upswing, especially those looking to break out of the pack, bespoke software vs off the shelf is a no-brainer. Here why, in brief:

Advantages of Bespoke Software vs Off the Shelf

  • Cut to fit – Bespoke is made to the precise measurements of your company's needs. For a complex operation, it isn't easy to find an exact match for your requirements with COTS.

  • Efficiency – The organisational efficiency afforded by having one solution that seamlessly interweaves all your legacy operations and streamlines work across departments is unmatchable with generic software.

  • Adds value – A company with its own branded, bespoke software is instantly higher up the food chain than a hundred other businesses in their sector which clearly all use the same generic software.

  • More control – With bespoke software vs off the shelf solutions, you control how to make your business work best, and developers make that happen to order.

  • It's all yours – The bespoke software you commission is your baby, and you get full control over what it looks like, how it behaves, and how it runs. That means no more compromising.

Case Study in Bespoke Software vs Off the Shelf: SaaS Ticket Seller Seatedly

Event ticketing in the UK is a £39 billion industry that has long been stagnant, controlled by huge, monopolistic conglomerates like Ticketmaster.

The founders of Seatedly saw a need for a robust, white-label ticketing solution that could run ticket sales for shows and events up to stadium level while offering an alternative method for venues and promoters to sell events without the corporate middleman taking a cut.

The Laracle team sat down with the founders of Seatedly and used their input and experience in the ticketing sector to create a clean, agile, user-friendly and affordable SaaS solution that ticketing giants simply cannot match.

Seatedly Features:

  • White-label, multi-tenancy platform venues can brand as their own

  • Secure e-ticketing and printed ticket options

  • Scannable, anti-fraud QR code tickets

  • Up-to-date algorithms

  • Multi-payment gateway checkout system

  • Fully integrated box office

  • Advertising, custom fees, and client-branded event pages

  • A versatile dashboard offering both big picture and granular perspectives

  • Ticket order management

Laracle not only helped Seatedly shake up the stagnant UK ticketing industry. The development team also put tools in the hands of countless venue operators and promoters to give them the freedom to run their operations as they see fit – and we helped concertgoers avoid usurious fees.

Reach out to Laracle today and help us optimise your business with bespoke software vs off the shelf solutions. Our customer service team only needs a few details, and we can get our developers started right away in putting together a proposal for you. Call 02080 165 891 or email today!

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