Custom vs Off-The-Shelf Software: Which One to Choose?

Know About the Core Differences Between Custom and Off-The-Shelf Software Products

When developing a software solution, companies usually require a product that can handle their unique needs. This type of software solution is built with great expertise requiring a larger period of time. Those companies that have got both budget and time can afford to build such type of software. However, those who do not have the liberty to wait such longer, usually go for off-the-shelf products. These software solutions are prebuilt with generic features that allow companies to perform different routine operations easily. It is therefore advised to know the differences between custom vs off-the-shelf software products, as both of them come handy in different types of situations.

Unfortunately, many people do not know about the differences between custom vs off-the-shelf software solutions. They think that every software product works in the same manner, hence there are not much differences in their functionalities. This is certainly a wrong concept that needs to be eradicated by knowing the right answers. The software industry has grown quite big, and there are tons of solutions available out there. All of them work in different manner, as they are built for diverse purposes.

Knowing about these software types is important for every project stakeholder. They cannot go with the random thought process to build software products, as this type of approach doesn’t work much in development. It is important to know how different digital systems work, as that allows you to pick better software development services. In this blog, we will discuss about custom vs off-the-shelf software products in detail, so that you can understand which software type suits best for your business. It is a critical information that allows you to take correct decisions related to the project development all the time.

So, let us first start from the basics below understanding the core definitions of custom vs off-the-shelf software solutions. Let’s take a look at them in detail below.

What is Custom Software Product?

Custom software solution

We all know the fact that every company has different goals and objectives. They relate from diverse backgrounds, which is what keeps their objectives separate. To achieve them, they use different types of practices and techniques that can offer quality results. These practices are unique, requiring a digital solution that can support them effectively. This is where the importance of custom software products come into play. It becomes necessary for those businesses that are looking to work with unique products. These systems are advanced, and they are precisely built using cutting-edge software development tools.

Generally, enterprise level applications are built using this custom approach. It is considered because big enterprises always require a solution that can work according to their required demands. They do not look for one-size-fits-all product, as that do not suits in their work culture. With the help of custom software products, they can focus on particular tasks effectively. It is an important need for them that allows their operations to remain smooth without bothering about any disruption.

All the custom software products are built having the same idea in mind. It is the core principle of custom development that needs to be understood by every software development team. They must need to listen to the unique requirements of clients first, as all of the custom development depends largely on it.

Who Should Use Custom Software Development?

Custom software development is a specialized field in which top professionals are required for the job. It is preferred by those companies that are looking for a custom digital solution for their business. This type of product is built on demand, meaning that it requires a big budget. Normally, enterprise level companies use custom software products. They mostly hire expert .NET developers to create these software solutions. Sometimes, they also outsource projects to third parties that are more skilled and experienced in this area.

Using custom software, companies can perform specific functions quite easily. It is made according to their preferences, hence its usability is not that difficult for them. From UI to backend functionality, everything is built as per the given requirements, so using them is not a problem for the respective companies. However, those that are not directly related with this product will definitely find it difficult to handle. It is basically not made for them, so its usability will certainly look difficult to them.

Speaking about the specific names, there are some organizations that precisely require custom software products. It includes banks, hospitals, universities and more other similar institutions. They require specialized software systems to manage their day to day tasks. It is therefore important to build software products as per their given demands, so that they could manage different operations efficiently.  

What is Off-The-Shelf Software Development?

Off the shelf software product

The concept of off-the-shelf software development is quite different from the custom development. It refers to a type of development in which teams do not focus on particular requirements of any client. Instead, they pay attention to the requirements of masses to build a generalized software product. This type of development is called off-the-shelf development. It is not intended for any particular company, instead it focuses to fulfill the functional requirements of masses.

This type of software development is quite common in the industry. We all have seen countless commercial products built using this same approach. It supports the requirements of general public, which is why it is quite popular in the industry. With the help of off-the-shelf development, anyone can access general software products as per their convenience. It does not limits itself to any audience or type of usage. This is the one of the major reasons why off-the-shelf products are quite successful in the market and everyone loves to use them on day to day basis.

Meanwhile, these off-the-shelf software solutions also supports different operating systems. They are basically built for masses, hence their cross-platform functionality is considered very important. From Windows to MAC and other operating systems, these generalized products runs on all types of systems that are used by different people regularly.

Who Should Use Off-The-Shelf Software Products?

Those software solutions that are created for the general purpose can be used by anyone. They are not limited for a particular audience or a company. Instead, they are built for masses, and anyone who knows about their functionality, can easily use them. This means that people with little knowledge of the product can use it efficiently. Though some features will not fit to their requirements, but still it would come handy for them in different functional areas.

There are various examples of these products you can easily find in the market today. For instance, Adobe Photoshop is not just made for a particular company. It could be used by anyone who knows a bit about graphic designing. This product is quite popular in the market, and it is used by designers relating to different companies and industries. It is therefore a perfect example of generalized software product that is built for the masses in the industry.

These commercial products often come with a specific price tag. It means that anyone can use them as long as they are buying it authentically. Their original versions do come with an official license that ensures their genuine buying from the right source. Almost every off-the-shelf product follows this approach, as it also helps to boost the sales using the right channel.

Difference Between Custom vs Off-The-Shelf Software Products

CMS software solution

Many project stakeholders do not know the core differences between custom vs off-the-shelf software products. They usually take them as similar products which is certainly a wrong approach. As defined above, there are a lot of differences between them that should be known to everyone. If you are not paying attention to them, you are just hiring or outsourcing your software project blindly. This will not only waste your time, but could also waste your money taking all your project efforts into vain.

So, to avoid this scenario, it is advised to first learn the basic differences between these two software types. If you do not know much about them, take a look at the points given below. It will help to clear your concepts, and will give you a better view related to their functionalities and differences. Lets take a look at them below.

Software Scalability

First of all, the major difference between these two software types links to the scalability. Custom software solutions can be easily scaled to any extent. They can be edited and managed as per the emerging requirements of the company. On the other hand, off-the-shelf software products lack this capability to some extent. They are usually built with a predefined context that does not changes quickly according to the custom requirements.

Competitive Edge

With a custom software solution, your company gets a competitive edge over others in the market. The reason is that custom software products are unique as compared to others. They are not created for every user, which is why they are considered special. The generalized softwares are however made for the masses, hence they can be easily used by anyone. Though the skill level of every individual still creates the distinction, but it just does not matches up with the quality of custom software.

Software Pricing

Another big difference between custom vs off-the-shelf software systems is the pricing of products. Generally, custom software products require a bigger budget. They also require an experienced team to deliver the goods, as there are various technical difficulties involved in the project. The general software on the other hand do not come up with a big price tag. They are mostly available at that different pricing plans that can be availed by the users according to their preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a custom software product?
A custom software product is a type of system that is made specifically according to the demands of a client. It focuses on particular things that are agreed in the SOW document, as that defines the core goals and objectives of the project.
What is the importance of custom software products?
Custom software products are considered very important in the market. They allow companies to get a competitive edge by working with a system that is unique from everyone. This softwares are created on demand, hence they are termed very important.
What is off-the-shelf software product?
The generalized software products, also called off-the-shelf products are created for the masses in the market. They do not focus on any particular feature, instead they offer different functionalities that is required for day to day operations.
What is the difference between custom vs off the shelf software products?
There are many differences between custom vs off the shelf software solutions. From scalability to pricing, both of them differs on different grounds, which is why every project stakeholder should have knowledge about them.
What is the pricing of custom software solutions?
Custom software solutions usually come at a higher price tag. They require bigger set of resources, which is why their development charges are also a bit higher.

Final Words

That takes us to the end of this article in which we have discussed various differences between custom vs off-the-shelf software products. Being a project stakeholder, you must need to know about these differences. It lets you know which type of software will suit best for your business needs. If you want to build something specifically, then you should go for custom products. On the other hand, if you require a generalized software that could manage your day to day tasks efficiently, you could for off-the-shelf software systems.

If you are looking for a digital agency that could help you to develop these software systems efficiently, get in touch with us today. We will assist you to develop quality custom and off-the-shelf software products, rightly as per the needed requirements.

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