A Comparison between Custom Software Development and Generic Software Development

The software development world continues to evolve as demand changes. There is a wide range of services offered by a software development company today that are on offers to customers worldwide. There are different development types, depending on company preference. 

Some may require custom software development while others go for generic software development. The choice depends on the company outsourcing the service. In this article, we are going to delve into the comparison between custom software development and generic software development. We will also be focusing more on itemizing the pros and cons of these types of software programming options.

A Comparison between Custom Software Development and Generic Software Development
Custom software development has some distinct qualities to generic software development and this article will delve into the pros and cons. Read on to learn more!

1. Custom Software Development

Custom software development is a mechanism wherein a custom software development company creates a product for a particular customer. The specific customer may be an organization or group of persons. Mostly, the product has a distinct requirement in the market for only a limited time, and only for the specialized requirements of the business. 

2. Generic Software Development

It’s a process executed by developers that develop the software product. Typically, the product is made for various business needs that have a positive market demand over a certain period. Software development companies build a generic solution at their own cost and sell it to customers. 

Generic software is set and ready to use, and available in the market for any brand to choose from. 

Generic software development versus Custom Software Development—a Comparison

1. Exclusive

Tailored software is unique, built for a specific client. 

A generic solution is created for the mass market. 

2. Updates and Needs

In custom software, changes are made when required by a customer. It’s made by the budget, time, and the defined needs of the client. 

In generic software, updates are done by a specific plan, which is defined by the market needs. Moreover, a generic software solution is made based on future updates. 

3. Cost of Development

Custom software or tailored software could be expensive since the customer will receive a unique product. Nevertheless, the competitive edge that the customer acquires could overweigh the heavy investment cost. 

A generic or off-the-shelf solution is typically affordable. There may, however, be some hidden costs. For instance, they may be extra costs you have to pay to set up and implement this kind of software. 

4. Control

The key difference between custom software and generic software is the control over the process of development. The control of an off-the-shelf solution is handled by the development company that builds it. Even though the customer acquires a license to use the solution the owner could make some changes and remove some useful features for the customer. 

A custom solution is controlled by the client or the customer. The customer alone decided on what to do with the software solution. 

5. Functionality

The functionality of a generic solution is designed to resolve a specific issue for a lot of entities in that vertical. Custom software on the other hand has functionality for solving a concern for a certain entity. 

6. Amount of Functions

Typically, an off-the-shelf software includes as many functions as possible due to its wide use. For this reason, the functions are made simpler. At the same time, however, you hardly ever use even half of them. 

A tailored solution is focused on the features that the customer requires. Compared to generic software, it’s less user-friendly. However, for a particular kind of user, dealing with the custom solution is quite obvious. 

7. Architecture

The architecture of a tailored software should be balanced between the current client requirement and scalability. 

A generic solution must be highly scalable. It may need to pivot during the lifecycle as per the business requirements of the development company. 

8. Quality

The quality of a generic software product is not the main parameter that the development company adheres to. If the company delays the release to refine a few features and set up better characteristics, all these could lead to market share loss. Thus, quality is not a priority for a generic solution. 

In contrast, a custom solution should be of the best quality to impact the revenue and progress of the client. The custom software quality parameters would be parallel to what impact they must have on the company of the client. 

Custom Software—Pros and Cons

Specific. The resulting software is specifically designed to match your exact specifications and needs. This is helpful when you have unique requirements and require very specific features. Time. Takes some time and expertise to determine the needs you have for your software solution. This could mean more lead time before you get to put your plans into action. 
Control. You not only have full control over the product’s design, but you also get to determine when new updates and features should happen. Cost. The biggest drawback is the high cost. Nevertheless, the costs could be offset quickly by the increased efficiency of using the tailored solution. 
Updates. The updates would be done following your specific requirements. Development Management. To offset some drawbacks of a tailored solution, a lot of companies outsource to custom software developers. 

Generic Software—Pros and Cons

Less Initial Cost. A generic software has a less initial investment. Because the products are generic, there’s a huge user base, and the cost is divided among various users. Hard to Integrate. Generic software is not easy to integrate into the company. Some processes may have to be changed to suit the solution and could involve big costs and time to train employees. 
Easy Support and Documentation. The generic packages have user guides from the software firms that develop them. Aside from that, there are also a lot of unofficial guides written by those who already use the solution. Costly later on. While the initial cost may be low, later on, it would be quite expensive. Generic packages require regular updates to scale and add new features per the growing needs of your company. 
Instant Availability. Generic packages could be bought off-the-shelf and could be used immediately. Most have a host of features that could be used upon installation.Less Flexibility. An off-the-shelf solution isn’t flexible, and could not change as per the company’s growth. 
Updated Regularly. As development companies build new software versions, regular updates are released. 


Knowing the differences and the pros and cons of both custom software and generic software enable you to make a well-informed choice. The decision of choosing the solution ultimately would depend on your brand’s requirements and needs. 

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