Off The Shelf Software vs. Custom Software 

custom softwareThe software requirements for a business vary widely.

With many companies and business opting for hiring custom software developers, or choosing a pre-packaged program to serve their needs. It is in this perspective that the choice of the software for a business will depend on among other individual requirements.

The available range of software development options may include among others off-the-shelf software or custom software. The off-the-shelf software is created to serve a variety of businesses, whereas custom, is created and tailored to one, individual business.

Check out the following cons and pros to help you determine what option is better for you.


For more cons and pros, check out Chuck Cohn’s article on Forbes.

Custom Software Pros:

  • Tailored for an individual business hence able to suit specific needs and increase the user efficiency.
  • Being for individual use, the owner gets to retain various program codes and in such way has full control in regard to future upgrades as well as access to some of the program areas. This allows for easier configuration of the software to reflect the changing trends of the business.
  • Future improvements and developments of the software are based on growth and changing business trends. This makes the software development more effective and efficient to upgrade. This also makes the process  more cost effective if changes or edits are required.
  • Having created the software from the scratch; the programmer is able to act as the chief maintenance person.

Custom Software Cons:

  • The initial cost of creation is expensive. This however may vary with consideration to other factors such as scope of the project, the required software capabilities and the size of the team involved in the project.
  • The customised software is made available upon request. In such way it means that depending on the scope of the project and accessibility of resources, the process may take much longer than expected.
  • Change or fallout with software developers may require training or developing new software in case of malfunctions. This can can also be an expensive process.

Off-the-shelf Software Pros:

  • The initial cost of acquiring this software is low. This owes to the fact that the software is mass produced.
  • Initially contains more features that the customised software. In this regard you can be able to access more capabilities and much easier.
  • Upgrades are also available consistently at a little or no costs.

Off-the-shelf Software Cons:

  • Some of the features may not work as required hence ineffective.
  • Some features may be completely irrelevant to business.
  • Comes with set system requirements, hence may require a change in hardware.

Conclusion – Custom Software Developers or Pre-Packaged 

Choosing between off-the-shelf and custom, is completely dependent on the business requirements and budget. CEO’s and management must think what functions would make the business more efficient and what would be the best solution for the long term future.

It is recommended to shop around for both packaged and custom software and assess the: functionality, features, ease-of-use and time frames.