The Comparison Between Commercial-Off-The-Shelf & Custom Software


Since there are so many software outsourcing alternatives, they must provide their customers with the best business software they can. Saigon Technology has covered a wide range of issues relating to various types of software development outsourcing in prior articles. Custom software development and commercial off-the-shelf software are two of the most prevalent kinds, with the most visible distinction (COTS).

The contrast is clearly represented in the individual features, and it is also a complimentary element based on each enterprise's software development demands. When discussing an enterprise resource management system (ERM), for example, it may contain a lot of built-in capabilities, but it will only be useful if it meets the business needs of the organization that uses it.

The Major Contrast 

Software that is uniquely built will be referred to as custom software. They will assess your needs and propose a specific strategy for creating such a product. Among the benefits are:

In contrast, an off-the-shelf commercial has several other features like it's a product that you may buy and use immediately. This type of product is typically made by businesses that follow the one-piece suit-all model, selling the same set of services to all clients with minimal personalization. Even while these items will be based on general best practices, they may not be suitable for your specific needs.

We can easily see the contrast between these two concepts as follows:

Custom Software Development

COTS Software Development

  • Contain exactly the features you require
  • Owning an idea – the identity of a business
  • Flexible prices
  • Future seamless support
  • Fixed price offering
  • Quickness (buying and using is always without going through too much complex development and design process)
  • Created based on the general needs of the market

Who is this type suitable for?

  • The majority will be companies and groups with specific needs and their own corporate identity. It can be assumed that the size of the company is not really related too much to the need to use these two types of services, but it depends on the needs and direction of the company further on with software products that they want.

Who is this type suitable for?

  • As mentioned at the beginning of the article, this “one-piece suiting all model” kind is really a good choice for companies with a small budget, who just want to have a simple product for a need that is small and accounts for an insignificant proportion of the risks that can be brought from using the software.

 5 Highlighted Differences

  1. Fees

The entire cost of ownership must be taken into consideration when calculating all of the costs. The initial expenses of custom software development may be greater, but the operating costs will be cheaper. On the other hand, as a business owner, you don't have to be concerned if the product you purchase has issues for which you don't know who is to blame, because the development issues will be handled by the outsourced developers themselves; saving a lot of time by not having to deal with problems and upgrades.

COTS software, in contrast, will have low initial prices, but greater service costs. As a result, you'll have to pay for each month. If you want an upgrade, further customization, or assistance, you'll have to pay more.

  1. Time

Obviously, conducting a project will take a lot more time than an off-the-shelf commercial. However, this is not necessarily a big minus point, but sometimes it is seen as a plus point for the outsourcing team to understand more and closely grasp the business grasp and market nature of the client company.

To understand this timing issue, in order to speed up the process, software development organizations utilize Agile methods and MVP demos, which may be used to test fundamental capabilities and functionality. Deploying the finished product, however, might take many months.

  1. Deployment

New applications may easily be installed without disrupting existing operations or losing critical data. The software will also be easy to adapt and modify as your firm grows. Incorporating COTS software is a bit more difficult. Your data may be damaged or you may pay additional costs if it is not customized to your needs.

  1. Feature set

One huge difference between these two concepts is the set of features. In the case of bespoke software development, you will have more functionality because it will be created with your specific needs in mind and customized for any activity.

As a result, COTS software will be severely constrained in this area because it was created based on mass-market demand. Buyers don't really have too many opportunities to interact or ask questions to software developers or ask them to add some extra modules or take out something they don't require.

  1. Further maintenance

When you purchase something, you also receive a significant benefit: a post-purchase warranty. Similarly, when ordering or contracting a software development project, you must get this right to guarantee that there aren't too many flaws that would jeopardize the overall objective of your organization.

While using the custom software product, you'll have access to continuing support. Specialized staff will always be available to assist you, so you won't have to worry about bugs, system outages, or obsolete tools. As long as they have a large number of clients using their product, and they need to keep them satisfied in order to retain their reputation, COTS software typically includes a dependable support system. Not to mention the updates might be delayed or even charged extra.


Due to our aim for perfection in software outsourcing, we provide exceptional skills, talents, and a proven approach. However, we're also an experienced software outsourcing company with well-established global capabilities, quality standards, and delivery methods that ensure business values.

A high-quality product is the result of a great team and equally outstanding software development procedures working together to produce it. Over 400 software engineers working here are professionals in online and mobile app development, cloud migration, machine learning, and artificial intelligence services... Saigon Technology's excellent credit rating and selection as a software outsourcing partner by many overseas clients are not by chance, but rather by strategy. Viet Nam and the rest of Asia and the globe stand to benefit a great deal by thriving and elevating technology products.

Feel free to contact us right today with your brief information, for a free quote & consultation!

Content Manager

Thanh (Bruce) Pham CEO of Saigon Technology

A Member of Forbes Technology Council

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