In a world where you can pick and pluck generic pieces up from the internet and other places to produce your website – often for free – there’s increasingly a place for a bespoke web solution.
Ironically, such a tailor-made result can be cheaper, iteratively produced towards a final product, rather than being prescribed at the beginning of how it will look/feel/be.
This realisation by 10-year old Wellington web solutions company 3Months has seen it change tack, so much so that “we’ve essentially walked away from content management systems,” says its client relationship manager, Nick Rowney.
A content management system (CMS) is a website feature such as the ability to upload a photo, add a page, change detail. Fully loaded CMS systems can look like the obvious answer, but often a customer will only use 20% of its potential.
The alternative, which has become more apparent as the web has aged, is that a one size model doesn’t fit all. In fact, often the need to be able to add something different to a generic template is more difficult and time consuming and costly than starting from scratch with a purpose built solution.
A bespoke (as opposed to a CMS-oriented or driven model) website, is not just about the website. It is for a client who understands that the requirements need to be answerable to a business case, vision, and know what they’re hoping to achieve and who understand their clients’ needs.
3Months uses and Agile methodology, with every job being a journey, where adaptation rather than a set development path is called for.
Even a 3 year project can be split into phases, the “idea being it forces a business to really understand what they’re trying to achieve, and lessens their risk,” says Rowney.
“It forces the business to prioritise the site’s requirements, and to understand the business value attached. Instead of viewing a website as a standalone part of the business, the bespoke approach puts the client in the position of a customer. “You need to understand where your customers are, what they look like, where they hang out,” he says.
“We want to have our own area of bespoke web development,” says Rowney, who had an extensive movie industry background before morphing into a client engagement role at 3 Months. “We don’t take every customer on, our approach may not be suitable for some businesses.”
Some web development companies built a website and walk away, but the fast moving world of the internet means websites need to keep up to date to take advantage of new opportunities.
“3Months believes in becoming your web partner, so we are always looking for new solutions for our clients,” he says. Apple’s iPhone and iPad are changing peoples’ perceptions of what is possible over the net; they’re game changers. The use of smart phones and location based sensors, and the mobile web we see as the future.”
Rowney says that just as the internet is only for those who can afford it, for those technically and financially savvy people who will use mobile technology, “it is the sweet spot for the next lot of internet businesses.”