Let’s start off with a reminder about off-the-shelf software and custom application software. Off-the-shelf software is any packaged application developed to meet the common needs of a large audience. It can be any application that you can download, install and use instantly. Meanwhile, custom-made software is developed according to the requirements of one client or organization and usually addresses a specific functionality. Both individuals and companies frequently use custom software development services to design software for a specific purpose. However, there are drawbacks that organizations should take into consideration before launching the development process.

Drawbacks of Developing Custom Application Software


Developing Custom Application Software costs more than prepackaged off-the-shelf software. Although the current expenses may pay in the long run, some organizations won’t take the risk at the present moment, unless they have a solid return on investment (ROI) plan. The implementation of unique functionality requires the use of cutting-edge technologies. Furthermore, organizations will need the custom software development services of a tech company or a team of experienced developers, designers, project managers, and engineers. This alone piles up costs that are much higher than off-the-shelf solutions. 


In addition to investing money, a lot of time is also put into designing and developing custom application software. It may even take months or years to actually get some custom software delivered. Organizations need to dedicate time to providing requirements to the outsourcing company or development team. The latter also takes time to develop and also testing the software from a user’s perspective, taking into account unforeseen complications, and it may require many iterations before getting the desired results. This is a major disadvantage for organizations that are looking for immediate solutions. 

Maintenance & Support

Since technologies change over time, you may have to rewrite your software if your technology becomes outdated. Otherwise, you will need regular follow-up on the software’s maintenance features such as backups, performance optimizations, updates, and bug fixes, among others. If your software is custom-built, the possible unavailability of its initial developers makes it difficult for others to take over the update or modification of the software. Moreover, regular maintenance and support are costly and require continuous expenses, something you won’t worry about with off-the-shelf software that is constantly updated. 

Choosing Wrong Vendor

Ending up with the wrong vendor will cost an organization time and money. As in all industries, you can stumble upon unprofessional software development companies that provide bad services and low-quality solutions. Therefore, organizations should take the time to choose a developer. It is best that the company conducts some research and filtering before selection, to protect itself from possibly greater losses if working with the wrong people. Most importantly, management should not fear overpaying in that case because it is better than ending up with a custom software solution that does not meet requirements.

Managerial Involvement

Building custom software requires more time for development as well as more involvement from the client organization’s management. Unlike off-the-shelf software, custom development presents a company with numerous options regarding every aspect of the project. Those options have to be discussed with the corresponding manager and decided upon by the management board. This back-and-forth process might take some time but is necessary to avoid technical assumptions, misinterpretations, and wrong implementations. 

Making a Decision

There are many benefits and drawbacks to both types of software automation. If you are a business owner, it is fundamental to consider all the existing factors and choose the software that is appropriate for your requirements. You will also need to base your choice on how it will affect your organization in the long run.  

To counterbalance some of the drawbacks of custom software development, many organizations choose to outsource the project to a professional development company. Normally, the latter should gather information and technical requirements regarding the objective of the software before starting development. 

So if you’re concerned about the drawbacks of building custom software for your business, the best thing you can do is outsource your project to a company with proven experience and skills. This will balance the price and outcome quality. Still, if you’re having trouble making a decision, get in touch with our experts at Staggering ROI who will gladly answer your concerns.


What does custom software development cost?

The cost of custom software depends on its complexity, technical requirements, the systems that should be integrated and the technical support needed. 

What business fields often use custom software?

Custom software provides solutions tailored to a business’s singularity. It is often used in fast-growing niches like:

  • Healthcare Institutions: They use custom software to secure patient monitoring, resource management, insurance integrations, etc.
  • Insurance Companies: They can offer individual service plans, chatbots, etc.
  • Banking/Financial Services. Online and mobile banking users are increasing.
  • Retail and Logistics. Online shopping apps, marketing software, and blockchain logistics solutions, all help meet clients’ needs and win customer loyalty.

What are the main features of customized software?

It is a resource for clients to meet their precise technological needs. Custom applications handle unique workflow issues. Consequently, they increase efficiency by addressing specific friction points in organizational processes.