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Considering The Value And Future Benefits Rather Than Initial Costs Of Bespoke Software
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The man was obviously hard of hearing as he asked several people in the room exactly the same question. Everyone he asked smiled and answered "I don't really know... Sorry" or variations on that theme. I knew eventually it would get to be my turn and he would ask me what was on his mind. He came across to me smiled and asked very gently and politely "Excuse me but someone in the lobby was talking about 'He spoke soft where?' and I assume they meant me as I am a bit deaf and so to avoid shouting do tend to talk quietly". I was just about to say "I don't really ...' when I gathered what he was on about. 'No it is okay we are all from a bespoke software development company which just means we create one off software solutions'... 'I think you just picked up the bespoke software part of it'.

'Do you think I speak too quietly then?'

Seriously, bespoke is just a way of saying that the software created is 'one off', tailor made if you prefer and it provides exactly the functions that the client needs, nothing less and nothing more. Think of it like this... Microsoft do not manufacture PC hardware BUT their Windows operating system works on almost all Intel 86 based machines. This is because the software installer tries to tailor make the Windows O/S on every installation from a huge amount of optional software included on the install CD and provided it guesses the hardware okay [it mostly gets it right] then the PC will boot and work. (You must of heard about Plug and Pray). Main competitor Apple manufactures the hardware of their machines themselves and writes the operating software for it. The Apple Mac computer carries very little excess baggage. See? No Extras, just what is required to make it work. Simpler, no room for guesses and error. The Mac is a little more expensive to initially purchase but you are not reliant on any guesswork in its setup and so it is probably more reliable, leaner and fitter.

For a large amount of our customers the bottom line is about 'Spending Cash'. If you can look past this and concentrate on all the related issues then you could save a lot of money. To help with this consider the following list of issues. Being dependent on 'Off the Shelf Software' may cause you to end up doing one (or all) of the following;

1) Often spending a lot of time and money training your staff on performing 'work arounds' that you will envitably have to make to get the software to do exactly what you'd like it to do

2) Double processing work [running two different 'off the shelf' programs] where no work around exists so that the output suits your business needs. As an aside to further illustrate what I mean there is much 'buzz' in formal education circles about 'joined up' computing. The Universities write a lot of College / Uni software and its easy for them to attain 'joined up' functionality ie the output of one program becomes seemlessly the input of other related (dependent) programs. But then their bespoke programs are written 'in house' so this best practice is something they work on all the time as part of education software policy.

3) You also have the worry of chasing the latest update perhaps even when you are not using the features the software has just had the bug fixes for

4) Because anybody can go and purchase the 'off the shelf' software you are using Hackers can ascertain more about the software possibly than you do so it is reasonably easy for them to find techniques for exploiting the code and this lowers your security level

5) Running software that has got hundreds maybe thousands of facilities that you do not use obviously makes it run a lot slower than it need to

6) Hardcopy being posted out to clients may have to be pre-printed (ouch, expensive) for standard output data to be placed on

7) The corporate software help desks are sometimes NOT very helpful desks and it may take a long time to sort out any software problems

Our customers have looked at their mental list of difficulties with using 'one size fits all' software and have decided that they are financially better off having a 'tailor made' solution as in the long haul it saves them money and hassle.


Street Talk

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