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Custom software lets you capture the uniqueness of your business.

Marc Andreessen’s famous quote, “software is eating the world” comes from his wonderful article titled Why software is eating the world, which was published in 2011.

In 2011, software did definitely consume the planet. A new generation of digital trailblazers created and released breakthrough software that would undoubtedly take the internet by storm. We saw an increase in the number of organisations such as Amazon, Hubspot, Mailchimp, Salesforce and Dropbox. Companies flocked to these platforms, arming themselves with fresh superpowers. 

The digital revolution had arrived. Productivity reached new heights, the startup environment boomed and SaaS took centre stage.

For years, the momentum grew, with a few ‘digital stars’ creating for the masses. It was fantastic; in many cases, it was transformative. But that wasn’t enough, and it still isn’t. We’ve crossed the chasm and we’re hungry for more. 

Now we all know what a great experience looks like. We want software that is tailored to our individual requirements and issues, and we are more eager than ever. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough good developers to meet demand. 

Generic COTS (commercial off the shelf) software, as well as growing development costs, will continue to grace corporate financial sheets. But change is on its way. A new era of custom software development is here. An era that broadens the power of creativity, is tailored to the demands of the customer and is cost-effective. A period in which many digital heroes construct for a select few.

In 2021 the roles have reversed and it’s the world that is now eating software and it’s all being driven by a new wave of custom software development that is faster, cheaper and delivers a great experience.

What is custom software development?

Custom software development is the design, build and implementation of a solution that is fit for purpose, your business has unique requirements or you want to be able to provide your own great customer experience.

One of the most important factors today when designing and implementing a solution is adoption. Custom software development ensures that your platform is easy to use, uses the latest technology and provides a great experience.

Off-the-shelf software may be the right solution for your business, depending on your requirements although you will find that many off-the-shelf products may not be fit for your purpose, will need expensive changes to work for your business or will need you to change your business processes to fit in with the way the product works.

Custom software development will be a better option if your business is looking for a solution that is fit for purpose, your business has unique requirements or you want to be able to provide your own great customer experience. Another key consideration is ownership, if the technology is a key part of your business then owning the intellectual property is important.

Custom software development allows you to modernise your systems and capture the uniqueness of your business in a fully supported custom software application that is unique to your business and will differentiate your organisation in the marketplace.

COTS vs Custom Software?

COTS is an abbreviation for commercial of the shelf where a third-party software vendor develops and distributes COTS software. From picture editing software to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software comes in many kinds and sizes.

COTS software has traditionally been less expensive than bespoke software development. It works on a one-to-many basis (where one company will build and sell software to many customers). This strategy enables the COTS business to offer access to the platform for a fixed or monthly charge rather than a fee depending on development time, which is less expensive. 

However, the time it takes to construct bespoke or custom software has fallen considerably in the past few years, which is lowering the cost of producing custom software. COTS software being a generic solution will be costly if you need customisation that is not part of the product’s roadmap, making a fit for purpose custom platform, application or mobile app in may ways the more cost effective strategy.

COTS VS custom software development
changes in custom software development

How is custom software development changing?

Custom software development has mostly been used in the enterprise during the last 30 years. SMEs just did not have the time or resources to build specialised software. When COTS software failed to solve the problem for SMEs, tools such as Excel and Access were drafted in and a solution was cobbled together.

This is no longer true. The no-code platform has arrived as a solution.

Platforms with no code add an abstraction layer on top of software development and replace coding with… clicking. It truly is transformative. No coding tools provide customers with an all-in-one platform that allows them to input data to tables like a spreadsheet, build user interfaces like a presentation, and automate routine, monotonous chores like producing a flow diagram. They certainly are that powerful.

Custom software creation is now achievable for a fraction of the cost, in a fraction of the time, and by non-engineers. Most significantly, power is now concentrated in the hands of specialists – those who know the subject/problem better than anybody else. The software user has evolved into the software creator.

Why it's important

SMEs, startups, and enterprise organisations no longer have to suffer at the hands of the business spreadsheet, or engage in time-consuming resource-consuming processes, or pay exorbitant costs for generic software that only caters to 20% of their demands. You are now in command. You are now the solution’s artist. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages:


Custom software development is tailored to your individual needs. You may completely tailor your new programme to your needs – no bloat, odd UX, or excessively engineered components. You create and build precisely to answer your problem – nothing else.


Investing in COTS is the same as investing in another company. Building internal software is an excellent approach to invest in your own company. Furthermore, depending on the overall make-up of the product and its ease of packaging and distribution, there is the possibility to sell and profit from your new programme. However, you can be certain that if your product solves your problem, it will also solve someone else’s.


It is difficult to scale COTS software systems to meet new requirements. In certain circumstances, you have restricted access to the code and no control over the roadmap, thus altering the programme might be hard, resulting in scalability concerns.


It is crucial to be able to make adjustments to your product. It boosts scalability, allowing you to respond to market changes more quickly, and increases user pleasure.

Financial control

COTS platforms frequently raise their pricing on a yearly basis, making budgeting difficult. A lack of control over the roadmap might also result in the engagement of expensive COTS developers to design specific features to match your shifting demands. You have complete control over the expenses and decisions with custom software.


When you use a third-party vendor, you provide them access to your data. When developing custom software, you have complete control over the data and where it is kept.

How much does it cost to develop?

Traditionally, hiring an engineer(s) to design unique software will cost between $30,000 and $80,000. The cost varies greatly depending on the size and scope of the intended project, as well as the quality/experience of the individual/team you wish to employ.

Primarily, the following impact the cost:

  • Software size
  • Software complexity
  • Integrations
  • Research
  • Design
custom software development costs

Custom software development lead time

Custom software development typically takes 4 to 6 months. It might take anywhere from a few hours to a month depending on the complexity of the software. However, with speed comes restricted flexibility – something we’ve thought about at Conn3cted for a long time and believe we’ve discovered the appropriate balance.

Conn3cted offers custom software development as a service. Discover more about what we do, here.

Conn3cted are a digital technology agency that create beautifully designed digital products with a clear focus on a better customer experience.