Difference Between Custom Software and Off-the-Shelf Software

Difference Between Custom Software and Off-the-Shelf Software?

With every passing day, you make certain crucial decisions to raise your business game. The decisions range from budgeting to outsourcing, development to return on investment, and competitiveness. As a smart and vigilant entrepreneur, you must want to balance your business's immediate needs with its long-term goals and growth.

In the chaos to further boost the growth of your company, custom software development gives you a competitive advantage in the market. To your business’ success avoid traps and potholes like off-the-shelf software products that can stop your business before it even starts. Be it the budgeting or outsourcing custom software development team, each decision requires smartness and intellect to place you miles ahead of your competitors.

Reasons: How Custom Software Development Gives Organizations A Big Boost?

Your growth and success are directly proportional to the satisfactory experience of your customers. It is obvious that whatever business you own, business’ software and mobile application are definitely a crucial part of growth strategy and critical decision making. Custom software development is the most critical phase for determining the broader vision and future roadmap as it provides conceptualization and designs it to your business specifications and needs. Software developers need to have an end-to-end understanding of your business goals and IT environment to propose a development strategy that helps you in creating, implementing, upgrading, or maintaining software applications

What is Custom Software Development?

Custom development is the process of building a software application to specifically address the demands and needs of an entity or company. This method can be either by developing new custom software from scratch or by building on top of existing commercial software. When using this method, front-end developers, back-end developers, QA engineers, and business analysts must be involved in the process.
For many organizations, building software from scratch may seem like a daunting task. But the truth is, custom software development can offer tangible benefits. From providing you with a competitive edge to increasing the ROI for your project, a custom solution can generate more value for your company than an off-shelf one.

Also Read: Custom Software Development for Small Businesses and Enterprises

What is an Off-the-shelf Software Product?

As the name implies, COTS Software is software that is created for the general public (commercial off the shelf). With all of the software modules developed for commercial use and tailored to your custom needs, and no room for product customization. The software products are ready-made and customizable within their respective domains.

COTS can be purchased or downloaded and is frequently used, so it often has pre-existing features. It is less stable than custom software and requires more training time. Because it is developed for the public, it can't be tailored to a company's specifications.

Pros & Cons of Custom Software Development

You always have to take the bitter with the sweet, now let’s have a look over the pros and cons of custom software development below:


  • Return on Investment
  • Tailor-made Option
  • High Security
  • Complete Ownership
  • Enhanced Software Support
  • Flexible
  • Faster Adoption
  • Larger Scalability
  • Interoperability
  • Easy to Operate
  • Competitiveness


  • High Cost Initially
  • Significant Amount of Time Required
  • Risk of hiring the wrong dedicated team of custom software developers

Pros & Cons of Off-the-shelf Software Product

For a better understanding why business success weighs down in the favor of custom software development then it is necessary to see the reasons behind the fact:


  • Cost-efficient
  • Ready-to-use
  • Quick to Incorporate
  • Pre-Existing alternatives


  • Can charge you more in the long run
  • Time-consuming Customizations
  • Could offer you more Functionalities
  • Updates are all included
  • Inflexible & Complex
  • Licensing Charges
  • Lack of Conformance Workflow Interruptions
  • No competitive advantage provided
  • Not a good choice for business software and website creation
  • Lack of compatibility
  • Upgrading feature not available
  • Functionalities You May Not Need

Examples of Custom Software Development

Custom software offers a more specialized software solution tailored to project specifications. It has become a need for the most important and fastest-growing industries. Custom software examples are:

Custom software offers

  • Amazon
  • E-bay
  • Netflix
  • Youtube
  • Google

Examples of Off-the-shelf Software

These are applications that have been designed for a broad audience and are called ready-made solutions. The appeal of these applications lies in their simplicity and accessibility. Examples would be:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Media players like VLC and Windows Media Player
  • Games: Call of Duty, Angry Birds, and FIFA are also off-the-shelf software.
  • Enhanced CRM products such as Salesforce CRM, HubSpot CRM, and Zoho CRM are ready-to-use consumer software packages.

How Can Custom Software Development Help Your Business?

There are a number of reasons why custom software development makes sense for businesses. When you build something from scratch, you get exactly what you want and what you need, instead of working around existing flaws or trying to integrate different programs to produce results.

Custom software development is often a viable option for businesses looking to gain a competitive edge. By partnering with a custom software developer like Developers Studio, your company can integrate business process automation and productivity-boosting features into existing or new products. At Developers Studio, we ensure that the custom software solution we build for your specific needs enables you to increase engagement levels with customers and deliver an exceptional user experience.

The Bottomline

Custom software, also known as bespoke software or tailored software is built from scratch by a developer exclusively for an end-user, whereas off-the-shelf software (aka standard software) is ready for the public to buy in stores and online. Custom vs Off-the-Shelf software is an age-old battle. As a leading custom software development company we are in this battle every day. Quite frankly, the answer is: It depends! What works for one organization may not work for another. In this article, you might have looked at the most common factors like pros and cons that organizations need to consider when determining if custom or off-the-shelf software is the best choice.

Off-the-shelf software is typically larger and more complex. Custom Software can be more sophisticated. Both are viable solutions depending on what your requirements are. Now more than ever, companies are investing the time and money to create custom software to help them fulfill their business needs. At Developers Studio, we believe, “The product should be delivered in a way that adds value”.

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