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    Why is Custom Software Application Development outperforming COTS?

    Are the recurring licensing costs for the Commercial Off-the-shelf Software(COTS) bothering you?

    Are you so done with the inadequacy that COTS offers in the name of features to ease your business operations?

    There is a huge number of companies that use COTS; even if the license renewals make them uneasy, even if they are unable to automate business processes, and even if they are incurring excessive costs in maintaining their technological assets!

    Many enterprises using COTS have higher TCOs due to the cost of maintaining their applications. And, today in the digital era, such enterprises are relooking into their strategies, which is a relief, finally.

    Among the proposed changes in a strategy, the overhaul is to avail the service of a custom software application development company to build low-code applications with low TCO.

    Here are some lethally fair reasons why some companies are preferring to move away from COTS and investing in custom software application development.

    COTS makes organizations pay for more than what is required

    COTS isn’t a bad idea to invest in, no I mean seriously few genius minds have invested a fair amount of time to understand business operations. And, they have made an effort to build a uniform piece of software that is eligible to be used for business of any sort that uses standard operations.

    It’s a great invention, indeed.

    But, why would you pay for something that you don’t need in your business?

    Whereas COTS provides an extensive set of features, most of which may not apply to an organization’s business requirements. Yet, the organization investing in COTS is compelled to pay for all the features. Over a while, the TCO of operating the COTS might override its benefits.

    Organizations want a modular approach where they can pay for what they want! This is the reason they are working with custom software application development companies who can customize the business solutions for them.

    Being a modular application, custom software is versatile, and there is no technology or vendor lock-in. Modules developed by a vendor can always be replaced with another module from another vendor.

    Evolutionary pace

    COTS may not grow at the same pace as market and technology trends. It may not include incremental changes with the same frequency as custom software applications. Enhancements to COTS are made based on many factors. Enhancements are not made to keep the application updated with the market trends. Instead, they are based on customer feedback and feature requests from probable customers.

    When you work with a custom software application development company like Integrative Systems, unlimited enhancements are possible. The custom software development vendor can easily upgrade the application as per your requirements. That is why it’s easier to deal with a custom software vendor than a COTS vendor.

    One Size doesn’t Fit All is not the answer for most problem domains

    As discussed above, COTS is a wonderful utility built with solid effort and research. But, we all have to agree on the fact that “One Size doesn’t Fit All!”

    The COTS vendors build business solutions that are suitable to all and are also marketed as All-in-One Software. And, the real problem lies here.

    The companies who wish to adopt a limited set of features demand customization, which is possible with COTS but is expensive. On the other hand, custom software application development is a win-win deal for both the vendor as well as the customer.

    When a customer knows what features should be incorporated into a business solution, a custom software application development company can build a unique, custom-tailored solution to serve the business requirements.

    A custom-tailored size that fits one, uniquely.

    Limited configure-ability

    COTS cannot support the tons of use-cases that various organizations may encounter. Even if COTS applications have rich feature sets, the feature sets may not fully cover the complex use cases of organizations. Companies use plugins, externally developed modules, and internal customizations to align their COTS portfolios to specific business requirements.

    But, this approach defeats the very purpose of purchasing the COTS as the organization has to spend extra costs on customizing it to suit the business requirements.

    Ideally, they can change the approach and select to go for custom software application development which is built upon the unique business requirements.

    Modified off-the-shelf software is way too expensive!

    Companies that didn’t find value in COTS resorted to the Modified off-the-shelf (MOTS) approach.

    With this approach, companies would first invest in COTS and then decompose it with the help of an in-house development team and customize it to suit the business requirements. Though, these sorts of customizations are not supported by COTS vendors and may backfire in a way that no one could imagine.

    However, it’s been found that this approach was expensive in comparison with custom software application development.

    Modified Off-the-shelf Software is not an easy bet to take!

    Right from acquiring legit resources, training them, conducting orientations to align them with the business requirements, guiding the way, and managing the teams effectively is way too much critical than one can think.

    Another reason not in favor of MOTS is the lack of standardization. If the COTS vendors made upgrades, then the MOTS portfolio had to apply these upgrades, and compulsorily so if it was related to security.

    Another issue was that in-house customization led to a lack of coding, development, design, and testing standardization. It led to decreased integrate-ability between MOTS applications.

    Open-source mix

    COTS vendors are reluctant to integrate open-source technologies. The strategy is to monopolize the adoption of technology by not giving open-source technologies recognition. But in comparison to custom software applications, the open-source mix in COTS is still catching up. COTS introduces constraints in the way open-source features are leveraged. Most often, end-users are constrained to use proprietary technologies along with open source technologies.

    Irrespective of the budget constraint, custom software development is based on open-source technology.

    Businesses needing small to high-density solutions for various markets, problem areas, and opportunities can use custom software applications. By partnering with a custom software application development company like Integrative Systems, customers can address business-specific challenges.

    Regulatory and legal compliance

    Custom software application development is preferable for solutions that demand a high degree of regulatory and legal compliance.

    As an example, a COTS supply chain product may be customizable. But the customizations could be generic, as each company would have its own set of requirements. The COTS supply chain product may not be able to cater to these customizations.

    For the companies that abide by regulations and compliance, COTS customizations are inadequate and they demand something much much better. Rather, something very specific that complies with the specific set of needs, like a custom software application.

    By building only a specific set of features, they can get a full-fledged solution and something that is lightweight and with low TCO. Custom software application development companies such as Integrative Systems can build mini solutions for specific problems and also large solutions to address large problem sets.

    This versatility is often a catalyst for rapid business transformation.

    Custom software applications belong to the company that purchased them

    Even though purchased by an organization and deployed on-premises or in the cloud, COTS is not entirely the organization’s technology asset. COTS is largely controlled by its vendor(s).

    Organizations are fully dependent on COTS vendors for their upgrade, customization, and enhancement requirements. Also, COTS vendors control customizations and also do not support any in-house customizations by the purchasers.

    On the contrary, custom software application development permits the organization to own the business application; may it be a small application or an enterprise level, they own it completely.

    The organization won’t have to seek permissions from the custom software application development company that built the solution, to make changes of any size, either with an in-house team or a different vendor altogether.

    Custom software can be maintained forever

    COTS cannot be maintained for a long time. If done in-house, there is a limit up to which maintenance upgrades can be done.

    Bespoke software does not have such constraints. This is one of the reasons why large organizations prefer custom software applications over COTS.

    Businesses can work closely with a custom software application development company such as Integrative Systems to strategize a business transformation through custom software applications.

    Integrative Systems help businesses with a portfolio of solutions, including business process optimization, data analytics, application strategy, etc.

    Custom software can be easily protected

    Security threats are a growing concern with corporates. COTS is not an excellent option to handle all the possible security threats. There could also be threats that need immediate attention. COTS may not respond to such threats promptly, but a customized application can easily be patched up for such security vulnerabilities. Once a security threat is detected, a patch can be released, and the application is re-deployed. It ensures that the data is always secure.


    COTS has its perks to offer when companies are planning not to invest much in business solutions. But, it’s not a good idea to invest in COTS if you are looking to get a business solution that is scalable and customizable to cope with the changing business needs.

    Integrative Systems ( offers 360 degrees and bespoke custom software application development services for all types of industries. We can provide a scalable solution for your requirements involving highly specialized resources and technologies.

    Feel free to reach us at [email protected] and we shall connect with you within 48 hours.

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