Custom Software Vs Off -the -shelf Software.jpg
By: Anusha

Custom Software Vs Off -the -shelf Software

Every business needs variation and advancement. Hence, normally continual improvement is essential for the successful running of your business. On each day we have to think about the achievement and mistakes of the organization and also we have to plan for better development. So first we have to identify the requirements, needs & weakness of our organization and double check about the solution/software.

Millions or billions of software around the world is “off the shelf”.Which can include a vast number of customers? Next type of software is custom/bespoke software.Which is made by specific requirements & needs and which operates as you wish. 

Off– The - Shelf Software

Off the shelf software is intended for financial gain ie, commercial; commercial off the shelf software [COTS] & it targeted towards the worldwide customers. 
Some of the examples of COTS are;


Operating Systems - UNIX,Windows/NT,OS2 
Databases - Oracle, Sybase 
Graphics Packages - Motif 

Computer Aided Design software-CAD 

Graphics processing software 


paint/image editing software

Multimedia software 

Presentation software 

audio /video editing software 

The above mentioned are some examples for the off the shelf and which are steered to specific needs and targeted towards a wide range of audience. 
The cost of these products are distributed among the mass market hence they are affordable.Maybe these types of products are rich in a wide variety of features but basically include a lot of features that your company does not need. 



2.Low up-front cost 

3.Feature rich 

4.May meet most of your business needs

5.Support is often included or can be added with a maintenance contract 

6.Communities of user across the Internet and forums provide self-help support 

7.Upgrades may be provided in a reduced or free of cost.
8.It can be purchased and implemented immediately.

9.Likely to be high quality& bug-free because many customers tested and identify bugs 


1.May come with upgrade costs, licensing fee or per seat cost 

2.Does not meet all your business requirements 

3.Software includes features and functions that are not wanted 

4.You will most likely need to change your business process to meet the requirement of the software. 

5.Off the shelf, software is complex as it tries to satisfy all clients hence you will probably use only about 20% of its facilities.

6.Impossible to customize or high customization cost. 

7.Feature upgrades may not be relevant to your business. 

8.Can't own the rights to the system. 

9.You have very little influence over the software development 


In this type of software, you can define your business needs and processes and you found that none of the off the shelf software can't fulfill your requirements hence you can choose the custom/bespoke software. It also increases your operational efficiency.

An example of a custom software/bespoke software; Avast!4 Home Edition -A complete antivirus solution that is able to find & delete


1.The software is designed to meet all your business requirements. 

2.The custom software could help solve an existing problem and offer a new service. 

3.New process can be added easily ie, custom software can be modified according to your business requirement 

4.Staff training will be easy because it follows your business process. 

5.Quality support: you can directly contact the vendor for your support 

6.You own the software 

7.Possible competitive advantage 

8.Long term result and security 


1.High upfront cost 

2.Changes and new feature addition may be billable. 

3.Continuous communication with the developer during the developing process is (requirement, designs, testing etc,.). 

4.Selecting the appropriate developer is very difficult. Because the majority of the programmers are inexperienced & unprofessional. 

5.It takes a long time to develop such a system between few months to years. 

6.Very limited overall backup and support. There is no user community for self-help. 

7.New staffs will be unfamiliar with the software. 

8.If you do not have a copy of the source code for your application, you will have to depend on developers all the time. If they become unavailable it will badly affect your business

Now, you have to decide & confirm which one is more appropriate for your business & which one is more profitable. Anything is fine if you are comfortable and we have only one suggestion: use experienced professionals who are ready to sell some code because the source code is the backbone of the software.



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