Why try and fit your company's processes to off-the-shelf software, when you could develop fully-bespoke software to meet your exact requirements?

There are often many reasons why a company may decide to use a pre-built, off-the-shelf software package. Cost, speed of deployment, reputation, support and staff experience/expertise are all perceived benefits of using a pre-written piece of software. Everyone has differing requirements, and in many cases, these are perfectly valid benefits.

There are often many reasons why a company may decide to use a pre-built, off-the-shelf software package. Cost, speed of deployment, reputation, support and staff experience/expertise are all perceived benefits of using a pre-written piece of software. Everyone has differing requirements, and in many cases, these are perfectly valid benefits.

However, there are also many challenges faced when using and tailoring an off-the-shelf package, which are often not known about, or well understood, until after a purchase has been made:

Recurring Licensing and Support Costs

Whether on a monthly subscription, or annual licensing basis, most off-the-shelf packages require you to pay time and time again for a piece of software, even without updates. Some even require you to pay for an annual Support and Maintenance agreement for software you have already purchased or risk falling behind with security updates.

Missing Requirements

As the software has not been built with your company in mind, it is extremely unlikely that it will meet all of your specific feature and process requirements. Some packages may provide 80 or 90 percent of what you need, but how do you cope with the shortfall?

One option is to fit your company to the needs of third-party software, whilst another is to spend time and resources developing costly custom integrations to add functionality. Neither are ideal.

Professional Services

Very often, if you require any work to be done to modify an off-the-shelf package, you will need to hire a very expensive and specific expert. In some cases, with closed-source proprietary systems you may have to go direct to the vendor, and be subject to expensive third-party "Professional Services" costs.  Want something as simple as a checkbox added, or a header moved? Be prepared to pay for it.

Your Company in Their Hands

Using off-the-shelf software means you are placing a lot of trust in a third-party that does not know or understand your company, and in some cases, may be too big to care.

You are reliant on them providing security patches and updates, and popular software often comes with popular exploits and flaws that can place your company in jeapordy whilst relying on someone else to fix it.

And, of course, as new versions of software are released, perfectly usable software packages often become deprecated and unsupported by third-party vendors. This often forces companies to go through the pain and expense of an upgrade and migration to a newer version, or risk losing support and receipt of the latest security patches.

We're more than happy to have a chat with you about any projects, big or small. Feel free to call or e-mail and we will get back to you within 24 hours. No smoke and mirrors, just tangible examples of our previous projects and how we can help you.

A Better Way.

Some companies choose to take existing open-source systems, and try and massage those into something resembling a completed system, because it results in a higher profit margin for them and/or they lack the expertise to build a bespoke application. At Squarehost we take a different approach, and build our software from the ground up to meet your exact specifications. We provide a personal, responsible service from design through to delivery, with our team based exclusively in the UK.

An important, but often overlooked first step is to visit your premises to understand your processes and methods of working. It sounds straightforward, but one very important (perhaps the most important) stage of delivering a successful project is to capture your actual requirements.

Often a client has a good idea of what they need, but a bit of digging below the surface can open up a whole new set of technical challenges. We will work with you for as long as it takes to ensure we can deliver exactly what you need.

Open Web Technologies

We build complex, standards-compliant web applications, which can be deployed either in-house on your existing hardware, on a hosted server, or scaled up as a complex cloud-based architecture.

We work with a whole range of web technologies, crafting unique applications using a variety of cutting-edge components, including HTML 5, CSS, JavaScript, and WebGL for rich front-end experiences, and RESTful Python application backends. Where possible, we try and use exclusively Open-Source technologies to ensure that you are not subject to extensive recurring licensing costs.

Integrations

We pride ourselves on providing solutions that fit seamlessly with your existing processes and systems, and a key part of that is to build automated bi-directional integrations into existing software packages. This removes the need for time-consuming data entry, reduces the opportunity for user errors to occur, and prevents you from having to enter the same data into two systems.

We have produced many comprehensive integrations in the past, with industry standard systems as diverse as payment providers/e-commerce facilities, accounting packages, satellite phone call records/billing systems, garment design and cutting systems, and maritime mapping and correction services. We've done this using all sorts of methods, including SOAP/REST API access, SQL extraction, and custom manufacturer tools.

The Power of Data

Where appropriate, we will ensure your system has a modern, secure API, to allow data in your systems to be accessed by third-party software packages if required. We have vast experience in dealing with modern, RESTful services to allow seamless third-party integrations, both now and in the future.

Our promise is that we won't lock your systems and data in to an expensive cycle of maintenance and professional services.