insights

Build your case for custom software

June 24, 2020

“Are you really delivering what your customers need?” If you are using off-the-shelf software probably not.

We commissioned a survey with YouGov and 75% of businesses use custom software to solve a specific problem their business faces. So why do firms still shy away from it? Below is the business case that you need for custom software to convince your business that this is the right course of action.

A specific solution to a specific problem

Building software that solves a specific issue your business faces makes sense, but it’s still seen as a big risk to develop software from scratch when you can just buy off the shelf and try to make it work for you.

The prospect of building custom software can just seem too daunting. Will costs and timings get out of control? Do you have the skills to build something in-house? Will it disrupt business processes to implement it? There are so many unknowns that custom-built software can become overwhelming and it’s easier to carry on with an imperfect solution that everyone is familiar with.

Why do businesses want to build custom software?

We commissioned YouGov to carry out research with 537 decision makes across private sector firms and there is certainly a desire for custom software. This makes sense. Customer demands are changing quickly, and businesses know they must keep adapting to meet them. Custom software provides the solution.

The top four reasons for wanting bespoke software are to:

  • solve a specific problem (75%)
  • solve process automation (50%) and legacy issues (49%)
  • improve customer experience (49%)
  • own software and be in control (45%). 

What are the risks involved?

It’s clear that there is demand for custom solutions, so why do businesses still use off-the-shelf solutions? 

The biggest challenges you might face when it comes to building custom software are to do with budget and talent:

  • 41% of decision makers saw a lack of talent as the biggest risk to the project
  • 37% worried about a lack of available budget 
  • 61% said boards needed full project costings before they’d give a project the green light. 

But building bespoke isn’t as expensive as you might think. Our research also showed that 1 in 3 respondents chose bespoke builds because they were more cost-effective than buying off the shelf. And over half the companies we spoke to were spending less than £1m a year on custom software. 

How do businesses implement custom solutions?

When it comes to building bespoke, you have to decide whether to build in-house or work with an agency. 

Building in-house can give you more sense of ownership over the project, and might work out cheaper on paper. But there are risks. Internal teams might lack the experience and skills to create a meaningful solution, and the knowledge of the project often becomes tied to an individual. Over 1 in 3 businesses we spoke to acknowledged it caused long-term problems when talent left the business. 

Working with an agency brings in instant experience along with the opportunity to upskill your current team. Building everyone’s confidence with custom software means you’re helping futureproof not just your technology but your business as a whole. 

Is it worth it?

Three quarters of businesses we spoke to who have custom software think it’s had a positive impact on their business. 

Custom software provides you with ownership over your technology and futureproofs your business. You’re able to solve the specific problems you face and meet ever-changing customer demands. You can shake off the shackles of legacy systems that never quite do what you need and haemorrhage budget, and you can put technology at the centre of what you do.

We can get you there

Use this business case when you’re fighting the corner for a custom solution. If you need more information, click here for our white paper paper sets out our findings in more detail. 

If you want us to work with you to develop a bespoke solution that works for your business, get in touch.

Chris Porter
MD, Digital