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Commercial Off The Shelf Software (COTS) vs Custom Software Development


There is always the need to solve a problem by introducing software to fulfill or perform specific functionalities. Many times, organizations are faced with choice to buy software that has already been created, known as Commercial Off the Shelf Software (COTS), or pay a software development company to create custom software.

There are many factors that should be considered when making this decision.

• Requirements: If the project requirements are general and can be met by an existing software in the market then COTS should be considered. If the requirements are very specific and unique to a particular industry, organization or company then a custom software solution should be explored.

• Budget: COTS software is generally less expensive than developing custom software, especially for small to medium-sized projects. However, for large projects with complex requirements, the cost and customization of a COTS solution can quickly add up, and custom software may be more cost-effective in the long run.

• Timeline: Developing custom software takes time, while COTS are already developed and ready to use “out of the box” after minor configuration.

• Complexity: COTS are typically developed with a goal to perform a set of general functionalities catering to a broad user group; e.g. QuickBooks accounting software is used by the masses across multiple industries. Custom software is built for a targeted industry or customer for specific functions that address complex requirements.

• Integration: Both solutions typically have the ability to integrate with existing systems. COTS typically have limits on integration while custom software can be developed to integrate with the vast majority of systems.

• Proprietary: Custom software can be developed and contain financial calculations, sales margins, or operations and procedures that are company secrets that the customer will own. COTS will have service level agreements (SLA) and license agreements that customers must abide by that may limit the control or ownership when using the software.

In order to achieve the optimal solution, Marraij provides consultation and assistance to organizations and companies in the public and private sectors. Click here and lets talk!

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