Tuhin Bhatt
Request a Call Back

Enter your contact details and one of our friendly team member will be in touch soon!.

    Software Development Software Development

    Off-the-Shelf vs. Custom Software (Standard vs Custom Software)

    Tuhin Bhatt's image.
    Co-founder of LAD

      Published on June 4, 2024

      6 min read

    Are you a startup or small-to-medium business entrepreneur unsure whether to choose off-the-shelf vs custom software for your tech solution?

    First, consider the potential costs of off-the-shelf and custom software.

    While the amount can be significant, weighing these against each solution’s potential return on investment is equally important. (Pain Point)

    Still, there are many aspects to consider when assessing custom software vs. off-the-shelf solutions.

    This blog will explore the comparison between the two and help you make the right decision.

    What Is Off-the-shelf Software?

    Off-the-shelf software, also known as standard or commercial software, is a “ready-made” program available for public use.

    They come with standard features and tools for accounting, marketing and sales, human resources, and other organizational purposes.

    Think of it as a “one-size-fits-all” software.

    Examples of off-the-shelf software include SAP and QuickBooks® for accounting, Microsoft Office for administration or general use, as well as Salesforce or HubSpot for sales, marketing, and customer service.

    The Advantages of Off-the-shelf Software

    When comparing custom vs off-the-shelf software, which one is more superior?

    Before answering that, let’s take a look at why off-the-shelf software might be a better choice for your business:

    • Time Efficiency. Off-the-shelf software can be immediately used. It is relatively easy to install and has pre-configured functionalities and tools to help streamline your team’s tasks.
    • Abundance Support. When you encounter bugs with off-the-shelf software, help is always on the other line. Usually, standard software offers a range of support options, from calls to email, and some even assign a dedicated customer success employee for you.
    • Low Learning Curve. Off-the-shelf software is learnable, even for beginners. If you’re confused about how to navigate the software, find the answers in their knowledge hub, user community, or even YouTube tutorials.

    The Disadvantages of Off-the-shelf Software

    However, you also need to be aware of the cons of this type of software so you can prepare the right mitigation plans:

    • Bloat Features. When using off-the-shelf software, there might be features that you rarely use. Yet, you’re paying a hefty price tag for a package that includes these unnecessary features. Make sure to research thoroughly before picking which plan is best for your business.
    • Limited Customization. Standard software allows you to rely only on its features. You are also limited in how you’d like your brand to appear to the audience within the software. Even if modifications are possible, the pricing is usually on the costlier end.
    • Lack of Scalability. Commercial software might be the way to go for early businesses. However, when your team grows, you’ll need software that can cater to the different functions in your organization, which off-the-shelf software might not be able to fulfill.
    • Higher Ongoing Costs. If you’re using standard software, you’ll constantly need to pay for the subscriptions, which results in a more expensive long-term investment.
    • Security Risks. Since this kind of software is for widespread use, it is more prone to cyberattacks. Software within this category may not adhere to the latest security or industry standards, so be critical when evaluating.

    What Is Custom Software?

    Now that you’ve read through the full run-down on standard software, you might be wondering why your business needs bespoke software development, such as a customized solution.

    Custom software is a program that can be customized to your requirements.

    You’re in total control, from its user interface to the functionalities that go into it.

    The biggest difference between off-the-shelf software vs. custom software is while the former is intended for the mass market, the latter is specified for internal use.

    Tailored software has become more common in businesses of all sizes, from SMBs to corporations, especially in retail, IT, fintech, and manufacturing.

    This is also proven by its increasing market share on year-to-year.

    An example of custom software is Walmart’s in-house solution which is the central for supply chain, inventory, logistics, and order management.

    The Advantages of Custom Software

    So, what are the advantages of custom software development?

    Is it truly as daunting as it ought to be?

    Let’s find out:

    • Limitless Innovation. Custom software can adapt to organizational changes, requirements, or even the landscape—no matter how simple or complex. This is especially important when you’d like to keep up with recent innovations, such as artificial intelligence (AI). Just make sure to communicate your ambitions to your custom software developers.
    • Higher Personalization. With custom software, your brand will be remembered more by the audience. This is because you have more control over your own branding, trademark, and user interface (UI). This gives you a competitive edge, especially if your competitors are using generic, template-based software.
    • Efficiency at Scale. Thanks to custom software’s scalability, you can bring in automation in every task you find redundant across departments, such as manual data entry. As a result, your team can focus on more valuable work, increasing productivity all around.
    • Cost Savings. While the initial setup costs might be considerable in amount, you no longer have to worry about paying subscription fees every month. Thus, you can allocate the capital for other opportunities, such as research and development.

    The Disadvantages of Custom Software

    Now, what are the cons of custom software?

    • Resource Intensive. When building custom software, you might need to hire an entire team of developers and designers to complete this project.

      However, we understand the challenge of how to create custom software. Worry not; our team at LAD is here.

      Whether you need a dedicated team of expert developers or a consultant to strategically roadmap your custom software development to success, we’re one call away.
    • Higher Setup Costs. While dedicated software might save you bucks in the long run, the cost to develop it for the first time ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity of your requirements.

    Wrapping Up

    So, between off-the-shelf vs custom software, which one wins?

    If you’re still unsure which option is the best option for the business, our London App Development UK consultants are ready to answer any query you have.

    Talk to us, and we’ll help you make the best decision with your software development.

    Image showing Tuhin Bhatt.
    • Twitter Tuhin Bhatt
    • Facebook Tuhin Bhatt
    • Linkedin Tuhin Bhatt
    Co - Founder

    Tuhin Bhatt is a co-founder of London App Development (LAD), a leading Web and Mobile App Development Company. He helps passionate entrepreneurs build amazing tech products. Tuhin being a peoples man who has a passion to share his technical expertise with clients and other enthusiasts.

    Contact With Us

    Take The First Step Forward

    Talk to our support team. Give us a call. Drop us an email. Connect socially. Or write to us through the form below.

    Fill Up form our team will get back to you with in 24 hours