We do IT differently.

Call 844.750.4170 for more information.

Custom Software vs Off-The-Shelf – What is right for you?
November 7, 2019

Custom Software vs Off-The-Shelf – What is right for you?

Your business is unique, and your software might need to be too!  We rely on technology so much to carry out our daily operations. It seems like there must already be a program for what you need. Canned software can be an easier choice but it’s not always a perfect fit and can end up costing you more in the long run. Here are some things to consider when deciding between custom or off-the-shelf software.

Benefits of Custom Software

  1. Scalable – Hopefully your business is growing. With custom software it is easier to make sure your solution can grow with you. Since it is made specifically for your business, adding special features and scaling to the size you need is what it’s made for. Off-the-shelf software often has limitations on what you can add and how much it can handle.
  2. Innovative – When it comes to technology, it can be hard to stay ahead of the curve. Custom software can be cutting-edge in a way that canned software isn’t able to be. It’s a great way to make sure that you are investing in the latest technology for your business. With custom software you can build something that puts you ahead of the competition, not on the same level.
  3. Compatible – When you build your software from the ground up, you ensure that it will work seamlessly with all of the programs you currently use. Off-the-shelf software can run in to problems when communicating with these other programs. That’s when your canned option, which was less expensive upfront, can take more time and money to fix.


  1. More Expensive – Just like clothes or furniture, getting something custom is going to cost more. Some questions to consider are: What is the value of something that is exactly what I need? Although the initial price tag with custom software might be higher. You should factor in the cost over time. Will you need to add or adjust current systems you use to be compatible with the off-the-shelf software? How long until you outgrow the capabilities of the canned software? We find that customers often break up the custom software development into phases to relive some of the initial cost. For example: Phase one consists contains the critical must haves while Phase two includes additional features and so on.
  2. Time to build – If you want something one of a kind, then you have to wait for it to be built. Developing custom software can be a process of creating, testing, and adjusting to make sure it is right. If time is a deciding factor for you, off-the-shelf may be a better option.

What We Can Do

If you still need help deciding what software solution is right for you, the team at Sierra Experts is happy to help. Whether you are looking for something simple or complex, the team of software developers here excel at both adapting existing applications as well as creating a custom solution from scratch. From Middleware to mobile apps, database systems and custom applications we can create the perfect solution for you. Give us a call at 412.722.0707 or send us an email at sales@sierraexperts.comto learn more about how we can help you get started.