Difference Between Custom Software And Off-The-Shelf Software

Sep 02, 2019

Getting the right software for any company is usually the biggest problem. Most entrepreneurs don’t know whether they need custom software or one that is already predesigned.

However, it is good to see that it is possible to get the best customized and off-the-shelf software. For those who don’t know, customized software refers to software that has been built, especially for a particular company to solve specific problems.

Off-the-shelf software, on the other hand, is already made, and the user only needs to configure it. When checking out off-the-shelf vs. custom software, there are some key factors that you will have to consider.  Although it is safe to say that both kinds of software are capable of remarkable results, it is essential to note the following differences between the two;


Usually, the price of custom software is high. That is because it requires the owner to cater to the development process and any other kind of resources needed. Off-the-shelf software, on the other hand, doesn’t cost so much. Some of them are even free because the developers, in many cases, have different goals other than making money from the users. It is, although good to know that you can always find a programmer for a start-up that will not cost you much. It is also essential that you watch out for


This is another crucial factor to consider if you want to adopt a particular software for your organization. Generally, custom software is hard to use. That is because they are new in every aspect, and time might be needed before your employees or even yourself grasps how to use the application. Off the shelf, the software is off more comfortable to use because they usually come with a control panel that has been simplified. There are even some off-shelf software developers that allow users to set up their control panels with options suitable for them.

Off-the-shelf software assures good results

One of the main reasons why many people go for off-shelf software is because they are tested and approved. Depending on your software developer, your custom software performance can go both ways. That means, it might work properly or, it may fail to deliver what is expected. This is one of the reasons why it might take longer to set up custom software than using a predesigned one. 

Custom software offer options

Customization allows the freedom to do more with your application. The best part is, you have full control over every feature, and through your developers, you can have whatever kind of software you want. Because off-the-shelf software comments are predesigned, there is nothing much that you can do especially if you need something that is out of what has already been provided. That is because you will not have the clearance to access the back end of the software and make any configurations.

Because off-the-shelf software comes with installed features, you may find that your software has so many options you don’t need. It may also lack some specific features that may be vital for your organization. That is why, before purchasing any software, you should conduct enough research so that you don’t end up realizing some mistakes in the future.

Off-the-shelf software is compromised

This shouldn’t cause any panic, but the truth is told, off-shelf software can make competition dilute. That is because they are designed to be used by anybody, including your competitors. In short, if your competitors get to use the same off-shelf software as you, will all be doing the same things to meet the market demands. Because the shelf software is designed for different kinds of users, it is a compromise since not all users are on the same level. Custom software, on the other hand, leaves no room for competition to copy hence diversifying competition.

Responsiveness to changes and development

As time goes on, many factors change within the organization. That will require you to keep your software up to date for it to suit the current market. While custom software allows for quick updates, off-the-shelf software is not quite responsive. The reason for this is, all kinds of updates and changes need to be made from the headquarter.

That requires testing to be done, not forgetting other logistics to ensure that the proposed changes don’t crush or interfere negatively with the users. Many people who use off-the-shelf software don’t know the answer to what is application modernization. That is because of the rigid nature of their choice of software.


Note that some off-the-shelf software will allow for customization. Generally, these customization features are made possible after the user upgrades their membership. This turns out to be costly because you will be paying to use the service. Customized software, however, is only expensive when you are buying it. After that, usage is free because you will own all the rights depending on your agreement with your software developer.

Developer hiring risk

Because many people want to avoid any risks in their businesses, off-the-shelf software developers, have been making good profits. You may pay so much money to a company that has promised to deliver excellent software only to end up looking for a better developer. The amount of time wasted when such issues occur can be costly. To avoid undergoing all that, many people opt to go for off-the-shelf software.


Whether you are looking for an excellent company or someone to develop an app for you, know what you need. With the option of getting fully customized software or an off the shelf software, you need to be careful with your choice. That is because you want to ensure that the future of your company is safe from unexpected problems. Also keep in mind that when it comes to software, updates are a must; hence, your choice needs to consider several factors and features for your organization.

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