Computer software for business

Types of business software


There are many different types of business software. Choosing the right one depends on factors such as the size of your business, specific requirements, and the extent of task automation you desire.

Common types of business software

Common types of software used in business are:

  • word processing programs
  • accounts software
  • billing software
  • payroll software
  • database software
  • asset management software
  • desktop publishing programs

These usually come as bespoke products or off-the-shelf software.

Pros and cons of bespoke software

It is possible to build bespoke software specifically for your business. You can do this in-house or outsource it to an external provider.

In-house software development

Writing the software in-house may offer complete control but demands substantial technical expertise and time commitment. This generally makes it impractical and cost-ineffective for small businesses.

Outsourcing software development

You can contract an external provider to create bespoke software with the exact functionality you need. However, this often involves higher development costs and can create dependency for ongoing maintenance and support.

When deciding between these options, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons. Consider factors such as budget constraints, internal expertise, and the need for future support and flexibility. Additionally, review time commitments and your staff’s ability to contribute to the development process.

For most small businesses, developing bespoke software is unlikely to be the most suitable decision.

Pros and cons of packaged, off-the-shelf software

Packaged software is standardised and generally low-priced in comparison to developing bespoke software. The functionality may not be exactly what you need, but you may be able to adapt your business practices to suit the software rather than having software specially written.

In some cases, you may even be able to customise the software to meet your specific needs - for example, you could customise user interface, modify workflows to your unique processes, create custom automation rules, or integrate the solution with other applications used by your business.

The high volume of sales of off-the-shelf software usually means that you will be able to get support and training from several different sources, which may keep costs down. Keep in mind that you will typically need a licence to use commercial software.

For most small businesses, standard software packages generally prove to be the most practical choice. Find more tips to help you choose software for your business.