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How Bespoke Software is nothing like Off-The-Shelf Software?

In the era of digital transformation 4.0, several corporates and entrepreneurs are looking forward to investing in software that would fulfill their needs and gain competitive advantages over others. While considering a software solution, you usually have two options –  either to purchase Off-The-Shelf software that is regularly used in the market or to go with a Bespoke Software designed and developed especially to meet all your requirements.

In such a situation, one may have questions like how Custom software is different from Off-The-Shelf Software?

Which software to choose between bespoke and commercial software? Or which one is the better software? – Custom or off-the-shelf software.

However, one can find the answer to such questions through the comparison given below.

what is bespoke and off-the-shelf software

1. Bespoke And Off-the-shelf Software – what are they?


Software of this type is perfectly tailored as per the needs of an individual or an organization. Such software directly reflects the unique features and processes followed by the organization.

These solutions are tailored entirely for the exact specification of yours.  The software is designed according to the specific requirements of your business.

These solutions are developed to fit into an existing work system, so you do not have to change your working model for the software. As this solution is tailored for your business and you own its source code, there is no issue in integrating it with your existing system.


It is a readymade solution offered by a software provider which you buy and use without customization. Such software is adjusted to client’s needs in a limited way, and its workflow may not be fully optimized.

This pre-packaged software is designed for multiple business models to target a large number of audiences. Getting an Off-The-Shelf  that perfectly fits your requirement is problematic.

Using commercial software can lead to a complicated situation where you may not use all its features or lack the necessary ones at some point in your organization.

2. Some Development Approaches Of Bespoke And Off-The-Shelf Software

The choice of the user depends on their business requirements, specifications, budget, and many other factors. People who choose commercial software look for a reputed vendor and its software simplicity. While people who choose customized software look for scalability and flexibility which can be useful in a long-term strategy.

There are tons of arguments that stand on each side, but you have to find which type of software is more beneficial to you? After going through these development approaches, you will have a clear idea about the most suitable software for your business.

Flexibility And Customizability


You have full control over the process in a bespoke solution as it is designed explicitly to meet their unique requirements. Such software easily adapts to the growth of your business. Generally, bespoke is easy to use as its design is highly flexible. With the high flexibility of software, it allows processes and business to expand when necessary. Its high flexibility also efficiently manages the workload.

If the work model of the company changes at any point in time, bespoke solutions can be customized accordingly. This gives full control over the software that you are using. Changes in requirements usually happen over time, and in such cases, customizability of bespoke is helpful. One can customize their bespoke software according to their need and efficiently achieve their goals.


For every task and requirement, there is software available in the market. Off-The-Shelf are made for the generic audience, so they are not very flexible. Here, the control over the software and its work process is minimum. You cannot twist its workflow or procedures according to your requirements.

Sometimes, commercial application features are not useful, and a user can not customize, remove, or add the lacking ones. There is no complete ownership given in Off-the-Shelf software. This decreases the customizability and makes it complex to align with the changing process of your organization. However, In some cases, you have the authority to customize your commercial software. But, for that, you need to find a vendor and pay a handsome amount to customize it.

Execution And Integration


Generally, using bespoke software is easier because it is designed solely for an organization. Changes can be done in bespoke at any point to make it more comfortable to use. Also, the interface in it is designed to keep its execution simple. Your teams  will not require any specialized skills to use a Bespoke solution.

Seamless software integration with the existing system, data, and the process is the key consideration in choosing it. Bespoke can be integrated with the most complex structure of the industries. This also increases the operational efficiency of your business. Besides, database integration complexities and adding plugins are easily possible in it.


If one chooses Off-The-Shelf software for their organization, they may not adapt to its interface, layout, or work process. This can sometimes lead to complications. And your teams need to get used to the software as there is no other choice left for you. They may sometimes need training in understanding and operating the readymade solution.

Integrating such software with the existing solutions and procedures is very complicated. There is no surety that Off-The-Shelf would be compatible with the infrastructure of your organization. Besides that, Lack of compatibility may create resistance in your work environment. Such scenarios may cause limitations in your business or may lower the overall productivity.

Features And Functionality


It is built alongside the organization’s process so all the required features are added while developing a bespoke.  Later on, if users do not like those features or their requirement changes, additional features can be easily added. This process is easy to execute as you have the source code and all rights of your solution.

One of the main advantages here is that clients can deliver their ideas and shape the functionalities to their exact needs. This allows users to have full control over its bespoke solution. You can get all the functionalities that you are looking for in software when it is personally customized.


       Off-The-Shelf are designed for a majority of audience and not for an individual, so features are given accordingly. Sometimes, required elements may be lacking, while sometimes excessive features that are not useful to you are provided in it. while adding the lacking features in off-The-Shelf is very hard.

Functionalities in Off-The-Shelf are added by keeping a large audience base in mind.  This can create confusion and complexities at the time of use. Besides that, users do not have control over the functionality in the majority of cases. So, making changes with the inbuilt functionalities of software is nearly impossible.

Support And Maintenance


You can directly communicate with the vendor of your bespoke solution whenever needed. This allows you to solve queries faster and in an effective way. Support services offered by the vendor are personalized, which feels more reliable. You can ask for the support before and after the purchase of software from your vendor. We can say that availability of support services in Bespoke is full-time.

Maintenance of solution depends upon the vendor and the service level agreement you had with them. One can have maintenance service with ease if they require it from the vendor side. At the same time, in-house maintenance can also be done. This totally depended upon your choice.


Many people access this type of software, so direct communication with the vendor is not possible here. However, there are online help and support functions to answer frequently generating queries. But, if your query is not found in those online functions, then the situation can be troublesome. Support services in some commercial applications are slow, while some of them are reliable. But there are very few solutions that offer full-time or personalized support services.

While in most cases responsibility for maintenance is solely on you. If  the number of your users are high and your software database is thick then its maintenance may be troublesome. In case, if the vendor is offering maintenance, they may charge a good amount for it.

Time And Money Expenses


Bespoke solutions generally take a few months for designing, development, testing, and deployment. This time depends upon the complexity of the solution, its features, and size. It is also dependent on the software development company you are choosing and the team strength allocated to your project.

Bespoke’s initial cost is a little high as it is tailor-made for unique specifications. Such software is designed for the company’s long-term growth, increased operational efficiency, and productivity. There are no recurring fees to be paid for the subscription of Bespoke So, the users eventually end up saving expenses over the long run.


One of the benefits of Off-The-Shelf software is that users can start using it right away. They only need to choose from the multiple options available to them. Such solutions can be deployed within no time, and you can start using them immediately.

As readymade solution vendors target a large user base, their prices are kept affordable.  And the cost of such a solution may fluctuate depending upon the recurring subscription model and access to users. As you access higher subscriptions and choose additional features, its prices gradually increase. But it has recurring fees to be paid monthly or yearly, which makes it costly when used for a long term.

Security And Threats


Security in personalized software can be deployed as per your need. This is dependent on your business type and its requirements.  If the data you deal with is highly confidential, you can ask your vendor to set up a higher security protocol level.  Data protection given in such software is high. Besides that, you do not share your data with the vendor, which automatically increases its security.

Threat management in Bespoke is easy as hackers do not prefer to target it without any personal reason. It is usually hard to get into a software that is deployed in-house. In any case, if a security issue arises, then it could be resolved quickly by your vendor.


The vendor in Off-The-Shelf software sets security standards. If you opt for a solution from a reputed vendor, then its security standards are usually high. But the privacy and data confidentiality is not entirely in your hand. As the database is shared with the vendor, it downgrades overall security.

Such software is a common target of hackers as their database is enriched with lots of customer data. Threat management is not easy in such cases, and solving any security issue may take time. This may lead you to downtime of software for that period.

development approaches of Bespoke and Off-The-Shelf Software

3. Sigma Data Systems Can Help

You can see there is a vast difference between Bespoke and Off-The-Shelf Software. Both types of software have their advantages and disadvantages considering different factors.

Generally, Bespoke is seen as a long-term benefit, while Off-the-Shelf is a short-term benefit for any organization. If an organization or an entrepreneur is looking for business growth, they should proceed with bespoke solutions.

Sigma Data Systems can help

At Sigma Data Systems, we are experts in custom software development. We can develop the software needed for your business or customize your existing software and add required features to it.

With our seamless integration service, we can help you get better work quality and high productivity. Working closely with our team will help you get satisfactory post-sales services such as full-time maintenance and support, software training, and management.

Sigma Data Systems is a perfect place to start with your bespoke solution today. If you are still unsure, you can learn more about the Importance of custom software and the methodologies involved in software development

Siften Halwai

In addition to serving as a content writer, Siften Halwai is a certified Cambridge English: Business Vantage who loves accepting challenges. His IT educational background and years of writing experience have given him a broad base for various content formats. Siften loves to read and write. Also, he’s a great cook, always ready to explore food and cultures.