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Custom Software Development vs. Off-the-Shelf Software: What’s best for Your Company?

Custom Software Development vs. Off-the-Shelf Software: What’s best for Your Company?

Getting a software product developed is a complex task both for developers and business owners. It needs proper brainstorming on different aspects that result in deciding the outcome of a software. There’s no doubt that the dependency of the business world has surely increased on digital products and Covid-19 has further fueled this trend.

Business owners have realized that there’s no way they can be more competitive than developing a digital culture in their work environments. Obviously, when we are living in such a tech-dominated age, we should take maximum benefit of those products and technologies that have the tendency to minimize our workloads and help us perform things in a much better and efficient manner.

In this article, I’ll be mainly discussing two types of software i.e. custom software solutions and off-the-shelf software solutions and by comparing both of them, I’ll try to come up with a narrative of which is best for a business under different circumstances. These are the two broad categories of software solutions and have got discussed by many industry experts time and again.

So, let’s get it underway.

What is a Custom Software Solution?

There are many ways custom software can be defined. Custom software is a program that is designed, developed, architectured and implemented considering and focusing on a specific business need/challenge. Business needs and challenges can differ from business to business and given that not every business operates in the same industry or in the same way, their approach towards solving that problem can be different as well.

So, custom software is developed keeping in mind that specific business challenge. It can be a mobile app, a web application, a CMS, or a CRM. By letting that software deal with the specific business challenges, a company can place its human resources to perform more functional tasks that are more concerned with the core of a company. At any time, a company can up or downscale that software due to its scalable nature.

Following are a few pros and cons of getting custom software developed for your business.


Custom Software Helps You Meet Your Business Goals:

The reason why businesses go for custom software development is that they want to solve a specific problem or a challenge. With the help of custom software development, you can put your business on the path of achieving its goals by knocking out those problems. Also, custom software improves business processes by incorporating a touch of automation which I guess is a big opportunity for businesses if they want to make it big in 2021. Take Amazon, for example, recently they have started to deliver products via electric vehicles in some 15 cities of the world. This will not only help them to minimize their cost but will also help them to innovate their shipment process and to set a trend for other companies in their niche.

Helps You Meet Your Exact Business Challenges:

This is the biggest plus of custom software that helps a business to meet its exact problems and challenges. The development of custom software is focused on helping a business tackle a particular problem, and because the factor of scalability is right there, a business can get it up or down scaled.

It’s Futuristic:

The way companies are adapting digital trends, there’s no doubt that almost every business in the world will reconsider its IT resources again. And given the fact that the tendency of businesses to rely more on IT products, it will soon become the center point for businesses to compete with each other.

Custom software solutions have the ability to remarkably change the face of a business if they are used effectively, and their ability to be highly scalable makes them the best choice for businesses.

It Eliminates the Complexities:

One good thing about custom solutions is that they not only help you gain your goals more effectively and in a timely manner, they also eliminate the complexities that are involved in various business processes.

You’ll surely not like to spend hours on getting something done that is not important for you, with the help of custom software, you can eliminate all such factors that consume more time and effort.

Gives you More Control and Ownership:

You will totally own the built solution, depending on your agreement with your software provider. It gives you an unparalleled amount of control over the program, how it is used, and how it has evolved.

More significantly, you don't have to think about altering the terms of your agreement with a third party, pressuring you to upgrade, or simply terminating support for your solution altogether. Also, no pesky fees for permits or hidden expenses.


• Custom software requires a substantial amount of development time

• You cannot expect things to change overnight, you must be patient

• Custom software is expensive and not every company can afford them

• Proper staff training is mandatory before implementing a custom solution

What is an Off-the-Shelf Software Solution?

On the other hand, off-the-shelf software solutions are generic, ready to made software solutions and normally they are open-source solutions that are readily available to anyone. They solve relatively general business issues, unlike custom solutions, and are thus geared at a larger audience of business and individual users.

Off-the-shelf apps may have many versions, giving a semblance of versatility to prospective customers by allowing them to choose between price and feature sets. In some cases, however, customization is also possible.

They’re Readily Available:

These software solutions are readily available and are best considered for that business that doesn’t want to spend a lot of time in development and wants results on the up.

Easy to Get and Implement:

Off-the-shelf solutions are very easy to purchase and deploy, by giving minimum know-how about the usability to your employees, you can get the results within a short period of time. It also results in spending less money on staff training.

Fewer Risks Involved:

As they appeal to a bigger audience, by looking up online consumer and expert feedback and following community forums and even social media, you can easily get an idea of how well an off-the-shelf solution will do.


• They are not custom-built to deal with your business challenges

• They have licensing fees and ongoing costs

• Software scalability and customization is very limited

• They don’t cater to specific business needs

Time for the Wrap:

By defining your expectations, spending, your business goals, and your business standing among your competition in the future, you can decide which one is the right choice for you. Keeping in mind the pros and cons of both the software solutions, you can estimate how your business will fare when incorporated one of these solutions type.

In case, you are looking to hire quality software development services, SoftCircles is a US-based custom software development company that develops bespoke software solutions for businesses to cater to their business challenges.

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