Tailored web services
A tailored web service builds competitive advantage. If there is no suitable pre-existing platform to base your service on or you want to build a competitive advantage, a tailored web service may be the best solution for your development project.
Tailored web service as the foundation for business
Roughly speaking, it is usually not a good idea to start customizing a basic business website, but to choose a suitable platform such as WordPress. However, there are situations where a product platform simply does not have the necessary flexibility and a customised implementation is justified. Typically, the need arises when you want to build something that seamlessly supports your business and gives you a competitive edge.
Lifecycle cost of a tailored web service
A tailored web service may sound like a swear word to some people, because it evokes an image of something very expensive and laborious. In reality, it’s been years since web services were built from scratch, but there has always been some kind of framework that makes development more proactive, cost-effective and provides security for lifecycle management. At Sofokus, we often use a Django-based Python framework to quickly implement, for example, a management interface with off-the-shelf tools.
Usually, when someone perceives a tailored web service as expensive, they compare the cost of the project with a product-based implementation. If the application framework of a tailored project compares to the foundation of a house project, the product-based implementation compares to a prefabricated house. Building a prefabricated house is faster and cheaper, but only if the constraints of the package are accepted. Going beyond the constraints of a house package is usually costly – up to many times the cost of producing a tailored version of what you want.
Tailored does not equal coded from scratch. Costs should therefore be considered in terms of your needs, goals and the lifecycle of the web service. This analysis can usually only be done properly by a multi-platform vendor.
The technical features of tailored web service
To properly understand the term ” tailored web service” and to be able to compare it to other options, take a look at the following diagram that illustrates all the common ways in which web services can be implemented.
When you are purchasing a web service, first consider how you want to prioritise the following business aspects: competitive advantage, customisability, the ability to be further developed, suitability for your specific needs, life-cycle costs and launch costs. Note that it is not worth considering technologies or products at this stage.
Here are some examples of typical business needs and their solutions:
- “I want the cheapest possible web service to manage customer relationships.” –> Cloud-based CRM systems are likely to solve the problem in the easiest and cheapest way.
- “I want a basic website for my business.” -> Probably a product framework (WordPress) or a platform product (Drupal) will best suit your needs depending on, among other things, cost and customizability preferences.
- “I want a SaaS web service that becomes a market leader.” -> Application framework is probably the best solution.
Always choose the level that meets your business needs first, and then the technology. Consult your multi-platform supplier to help you choose the right level.
Implementing your own SaaS web service
When you need a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) based web service, a tailored implementation based on an application framework is usually superior. When you want to offer a self-service web service to your customers, it needs to adapt precisely to your ever-changing business needs. An application framework provides the best conditions to do this. Examples of SaaS services include the popular CRM application Salesforce or the ticketing service liveto.fi.
Implementing a SaaS service – or a tailored web service in general – requires a much higher level of expertise from the supplier than, say, a product framework implementation. A comparison can be made between assembling a house package or building a unique house according to the architect’s drawings. Partly for this reason, there are plenty of suppliers of content management products, for example, but application framework suppliers are fewer.
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