A confusing question it may sound, with people arguing highlighting the pros and cons of custom and off-the-shelf software. Being a customer, you may not have in-depth knowledge about the right one to choose. Both custom and off-the-shelf options have to be contemplated with respect to your needs. 


Zartek believes it’s our responsibility to educate the clients about the advantages and drawbacks of custom and off-the-shelf software.  

Advantages of Custom Software

Off late, clients have been opting for custom software development. Let’s have a look at the advantages offered by custom software.

  • Custom-Tailor the Software - Different startups, businesses, brands, and services will have their unique requirements. Off-the-shelf software would be having many features which may not be required for your business and would clutter the product and increase size. Customization of functionalities, the inclusion of specific features, design peculiarities, and introduction of innovative concepts that are specific to the brand would be possible only in the case of custom-tailored software.  Custom software helps the client to discuss the requirements in detail with us. Our professional team will brainstorm the best methodology to incorporate all the additional features and technical advancements to be included in the software. And would submit the proposal for the suggestions and opinions of the client. Consequently paving the way for outstanding, as well as, completely customized software. The client will also have access to their proprietary code.  

  • No dependency on third party - Ready-made software is maintained by third party companies and hence our product is dependent on their performance. This makes the product dependent on a third party company to maintain and fix issues and bugs. This could put the product at risk in case of any major issue and the client would have to wait for the third party company to fix it.  Having custom software would allow us to allocate a team for maintenance with high flexibility to add new features and scale. 

  • Cost-effective Development - Decide your budget allocation for the software in advance. This would aid you in planning the software development accordingly. Start with basic software for your business, implementing only the most necessary features. Zartek has been providing customers with budget-friendly software solutions that don’t create exorbitant budget overheads. Once you developed the software and launched it successfully, the improvements or modifications would be undertaken in the due course. The fund for the same could be allocated in a protracted manner to avoid it hampering other plans.

  • Flexibility - Every module in custom software will be extensible in the future since we follow a more product-centric approach to development. Clients can also decide the technology stack while building custom software and Zartek team would help the client in this. 

Advantages of Off-the-Shelf Software

As you have seen the advantages of custom software, here are the benefits of opting for an off-the-shelf one.

  • You can opt for SaaS - Software as a Service or SaaS has been gaining popularity in the recent past. With this model, you don’t require to own software. It can be licensed for use by your business. Normally, the centrally hosted software is given on subscription.   

  • Affordable Upfront Cost - As the software is already available, it would be available at competitive rates. You can choose the software you want, depending on the functionalities and other aspects. And own it at an affordable price.

  • Standard Support - The software provided would have included lifetime or periodic support for the software in the licensing contract itself. Therefore, you don’t have to be concerned about the software up-gradation part.

Drawbacks of Custom Software

Of course, custom software development has drawbacks as well. You may have a look at those before you decide about which one to choose, custom or off-the-shelf.

  • Payable Improvements - Introduction of new functions, improvements, and other relevant changes would need you to pay. This may be a recurring process until the time the custom software is completely functional.  

  • Highly Skilled Developers are Required - Since the software you need is pertinent to your business, a skilled dedicated developer would be required, who can understand and implement your needs proficiently.

  • Cost will Depend on the Developer - With you hiring a highly-skilled software development company, you may have to pay an exorbitant amount for the development. The cost for the development of custom software will therefore vary, depending on the software expert.

Drawbacks of Off-the-Shelf Software

Although most of the drawbacks would be evident to you by now, we are enumerating those below.

  • Requisite Feature may not be Available - Your business may necessitate some specific features in the software. It would not be available in case the same is not a common one.

  • Adaptability of the Software - At times, the software may not be easily adaptable to your system. Hence, would require additional updates and modifications. Or changes in your system itself.

  • May have to pay a Fee for Customizing - If the software is not adaptable and you need some customization, the developer may charge you for the same. It will add to the software costs.

  • Cannot port to a custom software easily in the future - It is difficult & almost impossible to shift from off-the-shelf software to custom software. Importing your existing customers’ data, logins, payment receipts is dependent on the third party’s data export policy.

  • Tie into outdated technologies  - The software might have been developed on older technologies & would not be updated to modern frameworks & technologies according to market demand. 

Custom, as well as, off-the-shelf software has both pros and cons. You can decide the right one for you after thoroughly contemplating your business needs and other applicable factors. You may reach out to us for discussion in this regard and for obtaining an expert opinion.