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Off-the-Shelf vs. Custom Built Software Solutions: Which one is right for your business?

By Tengiz Tutisani

Throughout 30 years of experience in the Agriculture and Animal Health industries, AGDATA has always focused on putting our customers in the center of our evolution. Our history is built upon supplying technology solutions for all things data management, marketing program management, market intelligence, and trait license management. Consequently, we offer a long list of software systems in our portfolio that helps solve various data challenges in the Agriculture and Animal Health marketplace.

When you look at existing software solutions in our industry, many will qualify as COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf, or “ready-made”) software, which you can use as-is or apply customization to tailor under your needs. When collaborating with a technology partner, it’s important to consider which way to go – COTS or custom software development? Here are a couple of considerations from our experience that can help you make an optimal decision.

Exact Match COTS

It is the technology vendor’s responsibility to analyze customer’s needs and compare them with their portfolio offerings. This choice yields shorter delivery timelines than custom-built software, as well as alignment with an industry’s current standards and practices via leveraging established solutions.

Customized COTS

What if an existing offering is close to meeting expectations, but there are a few features you would like to customize to meet your business needs? A technology partner can consider applying customization or configuration techniques to tailor the product under the client’s needs. While this involves additional work, it can be advantageous compared to building custom software from scratch. An essential prerequisite for this approach is a vendor with experience of building, maintaining, enhancing, and running COTS solutions in the industry.

Custom-Built Software

There are cases when a customer has unique needs that would be complex to fulfill by existing systems. In such situations, you must consider choosing custom software development. This choice requires detailed alignment on requirements, implementation, and product releases. On the other hand, custom-built software is an ideal choice for solving intricate, distinct business problems that can give you a competitive advantage in the target market.


AGDATA has over 30 years of experience in both COTS and custom-built software solutions.  Want to learn more about how our solutions can help your business? Contact us here!

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