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Custom Software Vs. Off-the-Shelf Software

27 May 2022 by Sara Wahba

Custom Software Vs. Off-the-Shelf Software. Many business owners ask a common question for software companies; what is the difference between package software and custom software? 

Nowadays, we use many software solutions on our devices, whether mobile phones or computers. However, we don't have enough information about the software we use. 

It is time to know the differences between commercial off-the-shelf and custom software, the pros and cons.

Custom Software vs Off-the-Shelf Software: Primary Difference 

There are two main types of software that we use daily on our different devices: off-the-shelf software and custom software. Off-the-shelf and custom software get described by their creation and availability. 

Packaged software is commercial software that is generally available to people to purchase without customizations at specific prices.
On the other hand, custom software is developed specifically for an organization or purpose, and its prices vary depending on its features.

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What is off-the-shelf software? 

Off-the-shelf software, also known as packaged or ready-made software, is commercial software available to the public and sold at fixed prices for each software. The packaged software provides the buyer with a limited set of features in one place. Those features can have similar functionality and constitute a complete package for the user.

Off-the-shelf software example:

Microsoft Office Program is the best-packaged software example. It has many connected tools. These tools are similar like one developer develops the tools, the theme is the same, but every device performs its function. However, most of them are paid products and are not available in the market for free.

Off-the-shelf software: Pros

Off-the-shelf software providers invent this canned software to provide the public with different tools in the same family. However, you need to customize the packaged software that may not be compatible with your current systems. Here are some of the off-the-shelf software advantages: 

  • Off-the-shelf software is varied and available in large numbers.
  • Available at a low cost on the first purchase.
  • Easy to use and install.
  • They have user communities for support spread across the internet.
  • You can review and check the feature before purchasing the packaged solution.

Off-the-shelf software: Cons

Packaged software is reliable and widespread, and many people purchase it. However, ready-made software is generic with no customization for your business needs. Therefore, you will not find a package software that fits all types of businesses in all domains. Here we list some of the disadvantages of the packaged software:

  • Off-the-shelf software is similar and widely spread.
  • Packaged solutions are easy to hack and poorly secured because many know how to use them.
  • The packaged software customization and maintenance costs and subscriptions are high such as SaaS.
  • Slow to change with industry needs.
  • The off-the-shelf solution has many features that do not fit the business's needs.
  • Most of the Off-the-shelf software is rigid and difficult to modify. As your business grows or changes, you'll be unable to grow or change the software. 

What is custom software?

Customized programs are like clothes tailored for you to fit all your demands perfectly. Custom software developers design the custom software specifically for an organization or purpose. The tailor-made software includes all the features that a business needs.  Custom software development could be available as required for this software. Therefore, customized programs help organizations manage their customers' and employers' data in the company and more. However, these tailored software programs do not come into the market and get explicitly designed to perform a task for a company. See 5 Signs Your Business Needs Custom Software Development 

Custom software example: 

Customized software may be specific to a company or business sector. For example, the custom software can help organize your customers' or company employees' data. Thus, it could be developed by a custom software development company like Kapsys.

Custom software: Pros

Tailor-made software includes many features and benefits for business owners. As a result, these advantages are attractive factors for business owners, as many turn to customized software solutions. Now, we will list down some of the benefits of custom software:

  • Unlimited options
  • Full ownership according to the company's agreement with the software vendor.
  • You can scale up and add unlimited features by hiring a custom software development company.
  • You can make quick changes or maintenance.
  • Custom software development companies can design custom solutions to your precise business needs.

Custom software: Cons

Today, custom-made software development services are becoming more and more popular because business organizations can get the features that help them implement their unique ideas by creating custom software. So, Kapsys lists for you some of the custom software pros: 

  • However, the custom software has a high initial cost.
  • Custom software is not a quick solution; it takes a long time to develop such a system, which can be mitigated if embarked in phases.
  • Risk of hiring the wrong developer or company
  • Creating a custom solution leaves you dependent on the custom software provider. 
  • You can't test custom software for all the business cases, and the user should discover the problem while using it.

Custom Software vs Off-the-Shelf Software: Differences in a Nutshell



There are many differences between package software and custom software. First, you can compare the pros and cons of the proprietary custom software vs off-the-shelf software, then find your fit software solution. Suppose you have chosen custom software solutions, not canned software. In this case, you need to find the best cust software development company for designing the proper custom software that aligns with your business goals and requirements. Kapsys could help you to find your best solution; contact us