A bespoke suit is a hardworking purchase which makes impeccable dressing effortless and will be the centrepiece of any wardrobe for many years. But not everyone allows themselves the same indulgence when it comes to the software which powers their business, with many organisations settling for poorly fitting off-the-rack solutions.
The Bespoke Tailoring Process
A bespoke suit is a collaboration between tailor and client, requiring extensive communication and a lot of trust.
The client will typically have a style of suit in mind, while the tailor will use his knowledge and experience to pick a style that balances the need of the client and enhances the comfort and general appeal of the suit.
The first step of acquiring a perfect fitted suit is the selection of the right tailor. Each tailor has their own special expertise and aesthetic which they display in portfolios and catalogues, and it can be the single most important decision in the whole suit-buying process.
When a new client meets his tailor for the first time, there are many important questions to be answered before the measuring tapes come out.
Where is the suit to be worn? London climates require different fabrics and construction than Hong Kong. What occasions is the suit intended for?
Presentations to the board have a different dress code to lunch with clients. What industry does the client work in? A banker needs a more conservative cut than an ad executive.
A great tailor will even want to see the client’s shoes, accessories and ties—the new suit needs to fit seamlessly into the client’s wardrobe, pairing well with their taste in footwear, leather goods, shirts and even watches and socks.
The cut, construction and fabric of the suit are all completely customisable, and minute details such as buttons, lining material and even the colour of thread used can be adjusted to taste.
Some of these choices are strictly a matter of personal preference, while others are technical details affecting the whole construction process.
The tailor will use his expertise to help guide the decisions of every client from the most experienced to the total novice, ensuring they are able to make choices which are right for them and their suit. The next step is to take detailed measurements.
Unlike an off-the-rack suit, where customers need only know their chest and waist size, clients of a bespoke tailor can expect to be precisely measured. Waist, chest, neck, hip, wrist, underarm, biceps are all carefully measured.
If there is any discrepancy in size for any of the areas, the tailor will notice this and account for the difference. This data is then used to draft a pattern for the suit, first on paper and then as a prototype suit which is fitted and re-fitted on the client until everyone is satisfied.
Finally, when the tailor is content that the fit is perfect, construction can begin. Over the course of several weeks, a team of artisans will use the prototype pattern to create a new suit from the ground up. Once completed, the client is invited to inspect and try on the suit and, if needed, last minute adjustments will be made.
At the end of this process, the client walks out the door with a suit which perfectly fits his tastes, body and budget, and which wears as easily as a second skin.
If in the event the suit suffers any damage, or the client’s body composition changes over time, bespoke suits are a long-term purchase designed with future repairs and alterations in mind. A visit to the tailor’s shop will ensure the suit is easily re-adjusted to fit and look as the day it was first purchased.
It is possible to find the same individual service and meticulous attention to detail in the best custom software development houses.
With the right software development partner, client organisations are led through a rigorous process of consulting, choosing, fitting and refining their software until they receive a solution which is the perfect fit for their current and future business needs.
Many off-the-shelf software providers boast that their products can be extensively configured to fit the user’s needs, however businesses who have had prior experience in utilising such solutions commonly describe the configuration process as lacklustre and limiting.
The end result is usually an organisation adapting to the demands of its software, when the opposite should occur. A truly bespoke custom software solution provides ease of use and enhanced functionality exactly meeting the client’s business needs and expectations, similarly to a bespoke fitted suit.
The first meeting of client and developer is very similar to that between client and tailor. The development team need to know as much as possible about the client’s organisation, details such as existing technology capabilities and preferences, business and technical practices as well as future plans of the organisation.
The developers will seek to establish strong lines of communication—this is only the beginning of a long collaboration, and information needs to flow freely throughout.
They will also dig deep into the project brief: user profiles, project scope, deadlines and room for future expansion will all be carefully considered by an expert team, and the information gathered will be used to guide the entire software development process which is to come.
Choices to Be Made
The choices made during the commissioning of a custom software solution are key to the success and suitability of the finished product. Everything from the technology stack to the colour scheme of the user interface can, and should, be customised to suit the client organisation.
Naturally, choosing content management systems and user interfaces is less glamourous than selecting rich wool cloth and a contrasting silk lining, but care taken at this stage ensures a quality final product.
The tailor has thousands of fabric samples and several cuts to choose from, in a similar vein, a bespoke software house has a diverse team with expertise in a wide range of technologies and development frameworks.
As with every industry there are different specialities and disciplines that exist. A large firm will have a range of teams available to cover all needs, but there are also many small companies who focus on one discipline—and do it exceptionally well.
Most software development partners will offer expert advice and input, guiding clients to the most suitable technologies for their needs.
There are aesthetic choices to be made too. The look and feel of a piece of software is almost as important as the functionality, and a professional development partner will have specialists in user interface/experience (UI/UX) design available to make sure the new software is intuitive and easy to use.
If the software is to be accessible to customers it is even more vital that it reflects the client’s visual branding strategy, and a software development partner will offer a design team who can work with the clients own graphic designers to ensure a perfect match.
As one would expect, the technique for “measuring” a company looks very different to measuring a person, but this stage is just as critical to success as it is when making a suit.
For a small company or a start-up, it may be as simple as meeting senior management and key technical staff to determine the needs and capacities of the firm.
For larger organisations it may involve an on-site consultant leading focus groups with employees at all levels and discovering the needs and desired functionality which only front-line users are aware of.
Bespoke software development teams are passionate about fitting software to client needs, and will use this information to deliver features and functionality that the client may not even have been aware they needed.
Just like fitting a suit for a customer, ‘fitting’ a piece of software to an organisation is an iterative and collaborative process.
However comprehensive the initial brief, there will be minor issues and niggles revealed during the development process and it is vital that clients are offered regular snapshots of everything from functionality to the look and feel of their software, allowing them to refine the product until it precisely matches their vision.
Once a working (or ‘beta’) version has been signed off by client and developer it is time for extensive testing and documentation.
Once the software is complete and fully tested, it’s time to go live. While deploying software will never be as simple as wrapping up a suit, the right custom software development partner will do everything they can to ensure a speedy and painless roll-out, following best industry practices. And if needed, consultants will be on hand to assist with staff training and any teething troubles that may occur
Just like suit-wearers, companies often expand over the years. While this event is more welcome when it happens to an ambitious organisation, it is just as critical to have software which is ready to grow and meet the challenge.
A professionally designed custom solution comes with the ability to adapt to future needs and technologies, and if ‘alterations’ are needed the client can simply return to their development partner where adjustments will be made by people intimately familiar with the project.
Regardless of the choice of bespoke or off-the-shelf software, cloud computing is the modern choice for business IT, offering reduced equipment costs, staffing needs and downtime while at the same time increasing flexibility, agility and scalability.
Data and applications are stored remotely and can be activated as needed on the cloud from anywhere in the world. Cloud service customers can choose from a range of service plans to suit their needs and budget, but any cloud service offers on-demand access to a pool of hardware with inbuilt elasticity.
To take full advantage of the benefits of a cloud service, it is important to choose a team with a strong background in cloud software development for any cloud applications.
Those who are commissioning bespoke software will find additional benefits to a cloud-based solution.
Due to the iterative nature of the development process, it is vital that clients have easy access to the work in progress because their feedback drives the next stage of development.
A cloud-based environment allows developers to work on a server configured exactly as the production server will be. So when it’s time to request feedback, they can simply activate the latest version on a cloud server and give access to the client, who can be sure that what they see on the test server is exactly what they will get once they go live.
This allows clients to give feedback at every stage and steer the development process easily, all from their own office. This ensures that the final deployment is seamless, with no need for site visits or complicated roll-out procedures.
To find out more about bespoke cloud software development, speak to one of our experts today.
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