back to article Enterprise apps to bring bespoke BACK FROM THE DEAD

The '90s saw a boom in the development and acceptance of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software. Ever since, various analysts and pundits have predicted the marginalisation of custom software development. In the SME space, it has been hard to argue; the past two decades have seen COTS software dominate. But with the emergence …


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  1. MJI Silver badge

    There is another layer

    In some industries your nearest equivalent of COTS is not really off the shelf, it is installed and maintained by the authors and is often slightly modified for customer specific reasons.

    It is really in the gap between COTS and bespoke.

    This is the market our company is in.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: There is another layer

      Aye. I inherited a piece of beskpoke software recently myself. A little bit of genericisation, some setup's most of the way towards a SaaSy application. Would need some tweaking/customisation per user, but hey...that's where the money is...

  2. Ye Gads
    Thumb Up

    And I for one

    Welcome my new SME overlords and will be happy to write code for them until they can't think of another feature they want added to their apps.

    This is, after all, what software developers are for.

    1. Aaron Em

      Re: And I for one

      If it's works of art you want to create, precious, hie thee to a university CS department. Me, I'm just glad to know there's likely to be a little work out there for me when I'm old and gray and can't afford to retire.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: And I for one

        Well, *cough,* if you happen to know a decent LAMP PHP programmer living looking for some part time work...


  3. Seanmon
    Thumb Up

    Good article

    There is *always* going to be someone needing some kind of bespoke widget.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's just a pity the software developers..........

    Don't have a clue how our industry works (Telecomms) and it's even more unfortunate that the functionailty of oure new bespoke provisioning system was specified by "managers" (who REALLY don't have a fucking clue!)

    There were two drivers behind this decsision

    1 - Get rid of the mainframe that runs our old provisioning system (you know, the one that works, the one that everyone knows how to use and the one that everyone knows how to "work around" to get it to work)

    2 - Enable end to end automatic provisioning so my colleagues and I can be replaced by an order entry droid in the Czech republic, the system taking in the customer order and routing the circuit and applying the connections, raising tasks where they are needed etc.

    So what do we have?

    1 - The mainframe is still around for order entry and progression of orders because they couldnt interface the new provisioning system with the billing systems (although this "enhancement" is coming sometime in the future)

    2 - The auto provisioning dream, well, as long as I have a hole in my arse it's never going to work because of the disparate network equipment manufacturers in our HUGE global network that even when they do all speak "TL1" don't quite speak the same dialect and the fact that the programmers and managers can't get their head round the fact that the system they have implemented is fundamentaly flawed.

    Anyway, I'm quite happy, the system is now slower and more flakey than it used to be, autoprovisioning / routing is a dream that is nice to have but will never work so cheers to the managers who wrote the specs, i'll be in a job for a while me thinks

    Anon - obviously :-)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It never went away, just restin'

  6. T. Woods

    Bespoke has its place

    Software underpins virtually all business processes now, and much of it is not flexible enough to handle new business ideas (such as novel services) without modification.

    1. P. Lee

      Re: Bespoke has its place

      "Business processes sit on top of inflexible software," is more like it!

      The problem is that much of the effort of software is in the user interface, not in the actual processing of the data.

      In the old days, we had a computer department which use a quick perl script to get to the data required and pass the results back. i/o was done with batch processing.

      Now we have excel spreadsheets used as databases which cause massive concurrency issues.

      Having experienced MS Access Hell in the late 90's and 2000's, people stick with excel on sharepoint because, "ooh look, version control and a simple interface."

      SMEs simply don't have the economies of scale to allow much bespoke s/w but the wrapping up of data in proprietary MS formats which makes it difficult for an interested generic engineer with an interest in scripting to do anything with the data. Great for the sw industry, bad for the users.

      That's why most most SMEs run on email rather than having software to do the work. Software is just too expensive compared to a far more flexible human.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And furthermore . . .

    . . . a lot of industry-specific development shops hire programmers based on their affordability as opposed to their competence, ensuring that there's vast room for in-house developers to fill in the gaps.

  8. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Bringing back bespoke BACK FROM THE DEAD!!

    Bespoke zombie processes?

    Sorry couldn't resist

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