Bespoke vs COTS software for your capital expenditure process

Richard Adams
27 February 2024

Are you planning to automate your capital expenditure process but unsure whether to purchase bespoke or commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software? In the table below, we consider bespoke vs COTS software and examine which is best for CapEx approval.

Commercial off the shelf software (COTS) Hybrid model Bespoke software
Example Purpose-built software for CapEx Workflow automation software (tailored to CapEx) Software built from scratch by an internal development team or external company
End-to-end CapEx management (e.g., project ideation, budget approval and allocation, CapEx request approval, and post-spend review)
Bespoke to your unique requirements (not “One size fits all”)
Bloated with extra functionality/features (you may not need)
Onerous user training to cover functionality and best practices for unused features
Unlimited customisation
Unlimited flexibility
Add CapEx-related processes (e.g., contract approval, payment sign-off, mergers & acquisitions, due diligence tracking)
Add additional business processes (e.g., staff leave, new product creation, procurement savings/benefit tracking)
Solid, well supported platform
Peace of mind from existing user testimonials
Cost-effective, quick deployment
Large support community
Risk of failure



The hybrid model

In the table, we examined each option and argued the hybrid model offers the best of both worlds.

Process Director is the underlying technology behind eCapEx. It is a COTS product in continuous development over the last decade by BP Logix. The platform is a toolkit that allows you to build bespoke software incorporating electronic forms, business rules, workflows and dashboards quicker than a large-scale COTS package such as SAP or Salesforce but with the same flexibility as a development platform such as Java or .NET.

In many cases, we find Process Director can be configured to meet 95% of the requirements out of the box; with the remaining 5% subject to bespoke software development and/or API integration by our technical architects.

This hybrid approach results in software that does exactly what you want and is not bloated with extra functionality. Plus, you get peace of mind that your mission-critical application is built on a solid, well-supported framework.

At the same time, the hybrid model is less expensive than bespoke software because much of the development work has already been completed and you are not starting from scratch.

Another benefit of the hybrid model is the implementation takes weeks, not months. Much of this time is spent talking with key stakeholders to map out the process steps, rules and users and creating a specification. In most cases, the development time takes a few weeks compared to months with bespoke software or enterprise COTS solutions.

And the benefits continue well beyond the initial challenge being completed. Once you have invested in a platform upon which to build your solution, it can likely be re-used to automate additional manual processes within your organisation.


Do you consider a CapEx budget used when the request is initiated or approved?

There is often no right or wrong answer to this question but it is likely that having the flexibility to answer it yourself, rather than rely on a one-size-fits-all product, could be crucial to your implementation.

Ultimately, the decision you make will depend on the complexity of your requirements, available budget and whether you need the system urgently.

Solutions like Process Director are no-code toolkits that can be used to build your processes exactly as you need them and not hold you back forever. Even if your organisation changes, business users can easily change forms, workflows and business rules with low-code tools.

With off the shelf systems, you have to change your business to work with them – our hybrid approach means your system is built to work exactly as you want.

Are you planning to automate your capital expenditure process? Call + 44 (0)3300 100 000 or contact us to discuss your requirement or schedule a demonstration.

About ePC

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