How to Choose Between Custom and Commercial Business Software?

How to Choose Between Custom and Commercial Business Software?

Businesses around the world are trying to adopt digitalization as they progress into the future. Most companies are already leveraging a wide variety of features through off the shelf business software. Some business chooses to hire custom application development services for their unique requirement that commercial software cannot fulfill. This has started a debate about which one is better, off the shelf of custom software. In this article, we will go through every advantage and drawback of both software and how to choose the right one for your business.

What is Off the Shelf Software?

Off the shelf or ready-made software is commercialized business software. This software comes with a feature packed bundled that is licensed to the business owner for a subscription fee. Instead of using different types of software for various features standardized software offers one-stop all features in a single software. They combined some of the common features used by different businesses and create a centralized system that can be used across industries.



Off the shelf software are affordable and budget friendly and that’s why most start-ups utilize them for their work process. Commercial software is built and tested to the highest of standards and maintained by the seller. This way business does not need to worry about any glitch or issue with the software which saves them expenses. Also, businesses can use this software by paying a monthly subscription which is a cheaper option compared to building custom software from the ground up.

Ready to Use

One of the major selling points for off the shelf software is that they are ready to use immediately. We can learn more about them through the parent company to understand their features which are required by your business and download the software. Once you install the software, it’s ready to go, no need to wait for testing or integration. This will expedite the process of implementation throughout the company and shorten the time for operating.

Countless Features

Standardized software is designed to cater to one type of industry or one type of function. It means they have multitudes of features related to the task that is useful for the business. The off the shelf software is created for the masses, they included almost every feature required by the business. Most of the time, this benefits the company but those businesses that require specialized categories cannot work with it.

Update and Maintenance

The biggest advantage of commercial business software is they do not require any type of effort from the company to fix an issue. Also, the parent company of the software manages all the updates and maintenance. This is a welcome step for small businesses and start up as they do not need to pay extra for any update. Apart from that, if any issue arises, the software developer will fix it remotely.


Lack of Specialized Feature

Off the shelf business software offers more features than we require however, they still lack some of the options we need. Every business has its unique requirements that do not fit into the commercial software catalog. Without these specialized features, they might require another software for the work, which can add expenses.

Less Customization

As businesses are evolving, so do their needs and requirements. The off the shelf software offers less to no customization. While businesses can continue to use the same software, they might need to modify a few aspects to accommodate their need, this is not possible with standardized software.

Expensive in the Long Run

Subscription model is budget friendly for the start-up and small businesses; however, it is expensive in the long run. These off the shelf software often increases the charge after the first year. Also, they charge more for some of the main features.

What is Custom Software Development?

Custom software is designed and built for a specific user base or industry. They are tailored to the requirement of the business and only offer those features which are in need. Most businesses choose to build custom software as they have unique and specific requirements that are not available in off the shelf software. This software offers all the features and options of an ever-evolving business.


Bespoke Design

Business software is only useful if they provide assistance with the work process. Most off the shelf offers many features but they do not cater to those businesses that have specialized needs for their software. Custom software is developed for a specific need of the business and does not offer any other features that are not required.


A business that invests in custom application development services owns the software. They do not need to pay any monthly or yearly fees to use the software. With ownership, businesses can save long-term or hidden costs associated with the software. This way, we can use as many workstations or computers as we need without paying extra.


Bespoke business software offers unlimited customization. Businesses can hire custom software developers and they can make changes to the software as needed. This will offer better efficiency and productivity to the company because they can change the format or structure as needed. Most businesses need to upgrade or totally replace their business software after a few years as they grow larger. We can make necessary changes to custom software to accommodate our future needs and requirement.

Easy Integration

Although most commercial business software is easy to use and integrate smoothly, they are still hard to operate as it cannot function with an existing system. Sometimes we need to purchase a new system in order to use the software. Custom business software eliminates this issue entirely by building software that functions properly with an existing system. We can develop software that accommodates our user base and system without making changes. We can also build mobile application for the software with the help of mobile app company in India.


Initial Investment

Custom software takes time to build and it’s a bit of an undertaking. We need to hire an in-house team or outsource it to a custom software development agency. This requires time and investment that most small businesses cannot afford.


Unlike off the shelf software that is ready to use, custom software needs time to develop. In order to build perfect custom business software, developers need to put it through a rigorous test.

How to Choose Between Custom and Off shelf Business Software?

Both of this business software offers many advantages and few drawbacks, but how to choose a software for your business? Here are some points to keep in mind while making a decision.


Choosing between commercial and custom becomes easy when we decide on the budget for the software. Startups and small businesses need to keep their cost low in order to turn a profit and they cannot spend a large amount on custom software. However, sooner or later, their requirement will change and they need to start over again.


Is your business require any specialized features that are not available in off the shelf software? If yes, then you need to go with custom software. However, if your current requirements are being fulfilled with commercial software, then you don’t need to invest in custom software development.


Standardized software does not allow any customization or they charge for it. This creates an issue for those businesses that need modification in their business software. Custom software offers unlimited customization which is a major plus point. To keep up with the digital infrastructure, we can invest in blockchain development company in India to build better custom software with security.


Most businesses that use off the shelf software know this from experience as they cannot find support in time of need. Large SaaS businesses that offer off the shelf software cannot provide support to every client and that is a fact. While custom software does not have any problems, if they need support, the development team can fix the issue in a short time. If businesses hire an in-house team, they can continually monitor the software for any issue and fix it before it became a problem.


One of the common problems faced by everyone who uses commercial software is integration. Off the shelf software is not designed to function properly with the internal system. However, custom software is designed to work in accordance with the legacy system.

Long Term Usability

In short term, commercial business software can solve problems for every business. However, as the company progresses to evolve, it cannot accommodate its needs. Custom software has future proof designs as they are developed in accordance with the future requirement.


One of the common examples of commercial software is MS office and everyone has utilized their services many times. Off the shelf software are similar to it as they provide a large range of features for every industry. This is beneficial but starts ups and SMBs but in the long run, they need something which accommodates their requirement. Custom software is designed to fulfill the needs of a single entity, your business. MAADI is one of the most popular custom application development services that offer bespoke business software for companies that require specialized features.