Custom software

Custom software is a type of software developed either for a specific organization or function that differs from other already available software (also called off-the-shelf software). It is generally not targeted to the mass market, but usually created for companies, business entities, and organizations.


Custom software is considered efficient to produce when designed for a specific purpose. It also enables closer relationship between the developer and the customer.

Customized software

During development, the developer can interact with future users to incorporate additional functionalities that they may want. The developmental phase does not need a strict deadline. Mass-market software, in comparison, often are plagued with serious bugs as a result of a short span between deadline and first sale. Custom software developers can create a version that contains only the system core and essential system modules. This permits bugs found in the software to be fixed and the developers to have a foundation to add more functionalities in the future.


Customized software tend to incur high cost and require a significant length of time to produce. An off-the-shelf product (e.g. from Microsoft, Apple Computer, etc.) is mass produced to sell at a fairly low price. A large number of people can be trained to use this software or to be a support group. The problem with off-the-shelf software is that for organizations with a highly specialized requirement, the functionality required is not available or implemented in a way that adds to the users’ workload. Custom software, on the other hand, can provide just that required functionality, but because of a smaller users’ base, the licensing cost is higher for each user.

When using custom software, a problem may occur in exporting data to other systems. This feature has to be built in the other systems. If the custom software utilizes a proprietary file format, exporting may be difficult compared to generic software that enables the user to convert a document to other formats by a single ‘click’.

Advantages and disadvantages of custom or bespoke software.