Custom software development vs off-the-shelf, packaged software

Avatar of Andy Jones by Andy Jones , 20 May 2020 Custom Software Development

Are you considering an investment in new software for your business? If so, there is a decision to make – do you have something built which exactly meets the needs of your business, or do you choose off-the-shelf, packaged software.

For businesses on a tight budget or in need of a quick solution, the off-the-shelf option is often the one to choose. If you want something unique (that gives you a competitive advantage) or want the best possible solution to your business challenges, however, you should give serious thought to investing in a custom designed solution.

Let’s compare the pros and cons of the two options:

Off-The-Shelf, Packaged Software


  1. Low cost – Packaged programs usually come at a lower price than bespoke software.
  2. Community support – Since many companies are using the software, you can get your questions answered by the user community.


  1. Lack of customisation – A packaged solution will always mean compromise, and that you need to change the way your business functions in order to suit the software, not vice versa.
  2. Inflexibility – As your business grows and expands to cover other areas, you don’t have the ability to customise or adapt packaged solutions to meet your new needs. You may need to invest in new software in the future as a result.
  3. Lack of control – With software as a service (SaaS), you have no control over the product and how it is updated. Updates, including changes to the functionality that you rely on, are rolled out to everyone at once, whether you like them or not.
  4. Variable support – Some packaged software companies provide good support, particularly for their largest customers. However, users of other software packages report that customer support is very slow and there is a huge backlog of bugs or ‘feature requests’.

At Make IT Simple we provide high-quality custom software solutions for businesses of all sizes. If you are still wondering which type of application is right for you, check out the comparison table below.

  Custom Made Software Package Software
Flexibility Yes No
High Security Yes No
Quick customer support Yes Depends on manufacturer
User-friendly Yes Often yes but it depends on the support level. Unwanted updates can make an application more difficult to use.
Low cost No Yes (in general but not always)
Quick development time No Yes
Easy to use Yes Sometimes Yes, Sometimes No
Quick integration Yes No
Long-term support Yes Unknown
Competitive Advantage Yes No
Adds value to the business Yes No

Want More Information?

The advantages of custom software are overwhelming – when you need a fast or low-cost solution an off-the-shelf programme is fine but if you want the BEST solution it requires custom development.

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If you are looking for a bespoke software development company, please get in touch by phone by calling +44 (0) 1905 700 050 or filling out the form below.