Off-the-shelf or tailor-made field service software? You decide.  

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Your field service management software is essential to the smooth running of your business; if it doesn’t perform in line with your business needs, the impact will be substantial.

Clearly, selecting the right software and ensuring it’s fit for purpose is critical. We have talked about how using your quieter times provides the ideal window to review your software here.

We often get asked what the differences are between off-the-shelf and bespoke software, and how to decide which is the right option.

In this blog, we explore the essential factors to consider when making the decision to opt for an off-the-shelf solution or custom-made software for your field service business.

But first, what’s the difference? Generally, software that has been created specifically for your business requirements is known as ‘custom’ or ‘bespoke’. Software that is generic and ready-made is referred to as ‘off-the-shelf’ or ‘COTS’ (Commercial Off-The-Shelf).

Many companies that we work with use our off-the-shelf software for their field service management requirements with huge success. Wayforce field service management software offers many benefits, fulfils immediate business requirements, and is the driving force behind their achievements. Read a case study here.

What’s more we can build custom processes, which we call add-ons, that offer functions to suit your specific business requirements.

With the above in mind, here are five key factors to consider when deciding whether to select off-the-shelf or bespoke field service management software.

Your existing systems. The main goal of bespoke software solutions is to add value with a tailored approach, which should enhance the effectiveness of any in-house operations you already have in place.

A good bespoke software package will increase your workforce’s efficiency and productivity, remove internal bottlenecks, and address other issues without compromising the quality of your service.

On the other hand, because off-the-shelf software tries to offer something for everyone, it’ll probably feature functions that aren’t relevant to your working practices and may even slow down your workflows. For example, it’s estimated that the average Microsoft Word user, makes use of just 10 percent of its functions.

Your business objectives. If you opt for an off-the-shelf solution, it’s likely that you’ll have to adjust and alter the way that you work in order to fit in with the software’s capabilities. If your company expands, the off-the-shelf solution may not cope, and you’ll have limited input in the way the system develops over time.

Bespoke software can develop and grow with your business. It’s written to meet your requirements and tailored to fit with what your business needs now – and in the future. If scoped out properly, it’ll be flexible and can be modified based on how your business practises change. Additionally, there will be no pressure to upgrade just because there is a new version with features you may not need or want.

Your brand and identity. Maintaining your brand identity can be a key differentiator between you and the competition, and a significant factor when maintaining staff and customer loyalty.

Bespoke software solutions can present your existing brand identity, making its layout and the general user experience reflect your brand voice and values. This is usually not an option when adopting an off-the-shelf software product.

Last, but not least, your budget. Generally speaking, off-the-shelf software is priced reasonably as the cost for its development is normally split across numerous buyers and the volume of licences sold. Customised, bespoke software is produced just for one consumer so it may incur more upfront investment. However bespoke software does not incur user licence costs, so if you are planning to significantly scale your business this can make it more advantageous.

Additionally, it’s now very common for finance companies to provide leases on software-only projects so that the costs can be spread over an agreed period of time.

Hence, when it’s well-planned and well-built, a bespoke system will see you experience financial benefits almost immediately. Both time and human resource savings can quickly pay for themselves, as can the competitive edge you’ll gain from introducing a superior system than your rivals.

Consider these factors carefully before making a choice: you need software that helps you achieve maximum results.

Wayforce field service software is easy and swift to implement for businesses across all sectors and sizes, and if you require a specific function we can build bespoke add-ons to suit your precise business requirements.

Get in touch for a free demonstration and #WayTheForceBeWithYou!