Off-the-Shelf vs. Bespoke Development

Posted on Jul 2020 by Jessica Veysey

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Choosing the most appropriate digital solution for your business isn’t always as intuitive as ‘this one or that one?’. Digital development can be a mind field and without the consultation of expert developers and digital agencies, picking wrong can be extremely harmful to your online business.

In essence, whether your project is complex and opaque, or relatively small and simple in its objective, you have the decision between building a bespoke solution, or building your platform on an existing framework - what we call off-the-shelf development.

6B will always work with you to ensure your solution is optimised to your needs. We’ll consider scope, timeframe, budget, and overall business aims, giving you the peace of mind that your investment will reap the most rewarding benefits.

As such, we’d like to take a look at what makes these options suitable, and how digital development can ultimately help extend your business’ presence and maximise your return.

Off-the-Shelf Development
By nature, off-the-shelf development offers a wide variety of framework providers, suitable for a wide variety of projects. Whether building an internal CRM to support day-to-day scheduling, customer profiling and automated processes like invoices and receipts, or a simple shop-window site to showcase your offering, there’s no limit on the choice of platforms on offer.

One of the most popular off-the-self CRMs for example is WordPress. It’s a simple, open-source platform that has a large support community, hosting around 30% of all sites currently active on the net. Though limited in its interoperability, WordPress has a large marketplace of add-ons, even offering an e-commerce solution Woocommerce. 6B has great experience in WordPress, including our work with Somerset NHS Foundation Trust on the design and development of their site (www.somersetft.nhs.uk).

Off-the-shelf development also offers enterprise-level options, like Umbraco CMS. Similar to WordPress, Umbraco is and open-source platform but also provides great compatibility with third-party configurations, as it’s built using in C#.

Pros of Off-the-Shelf

  • Cheaper Development, Running Costs, and Overall Maintenance: As the basic framework is readily available, off-the-shelf is significantly cheaper than building a bespoke design from scratch. In addition, licenses are usually inexpensive and updates come free or cheap
  • Support: As with many of the big names in off-the-shelf development platforms like WordPress, Umbraco, Kentico, and Shopify, they have a huge online support community who can offer great advice at virtually any point in the day.
  • Updates: Due to their huge community of users, the software is constantly being updated to ensure security and usability. 
  • Quicker Development: If you’re in a rush to get up and running with your digital solution, off-the-shelf development cuts out a lot of the leg work regarding frameworks and back-end developments. Many also come with set templates, saving you time and money on design.

Bespoke Development
Bespoke digital developments are built uniquely for you and your business. They’re highly flexible, as the framework will be designed to suit your operations and can have an unlimited number of functionalities. 

Since it’s not a pre-built framework, the only thing to consider is what will be the most appropriate language to use. PHP nad Laravel is largely considered the most popular, and was used to build 6B’s very own bespoke CRM, Dashboard. Dashboard is used company-wide for the management, analysis and continual reporting of projects, sales and other company conscious assets.

Alternatively, Microsoft’s .NET Core in #C is largely popular with complex, enterprise-level development and offers a very secure platform due to it’s integrability with Microsoft’s security stack.

Pros of Bespoke

  • Built for You: Undoubtedly the biggest benefit is that your solution is built entirely for you. As well as owning the license, you don’t have to compromise on look, feel or functionality. 
  • Interoperability: Depending on the language and framework, bespoke can be seamlessly integrated with your existing systems, offering a more seamless digital operation.
  • Flexibility: Bespoke development can be continually updated, changed and upgraded to grow alongside your business.
  • Advantage over the Competition: As you won’t be using pre-built wireframes, frameworks and designs, you’ll gain an advantage over your competition by offering something different.

Need a Digital Solution?
6B is a creative consultancy, specialising in the delivery of effective digital solutions. We specialise in complex websites and content management systems (CMS), apps, customer relationship management platforms (CRM) and integrations, and will work with you to ensure your solution is optimised and cost-effective.

If you need a digital solution, contact us now. Alternatively, call us on 0113 350 1290 or email us at info@6bdigital.com.

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