Standard or custom software? [an objective comparison]

6 May 2024

Are you looking for new business software? Then this is one of the first questions to ask yourself: 

“Do I pick standard or custom software?” Click here and quickly find out which option suits you. 

Only when you determine, which of these two types of software is best for you, will you know how to continue your quest for finding the perfect solution. The cost, implementation/development process and your options vary greatly for standard and custom software. 

Fortunately, after reading this article, you will know which of the two is your perfect choice. This will help you make an educated (software) choice! 

We are happy to help you pick the right software through the following topics: 

Is standard or custom software a better fit for your organization?

Quickly discover below which type of software suits you better. Will you go with a more generic package or opt for a customized solution?

In these situations, standard software is your best option

Standard software is your best choice when business processes conform to generic standards and do not require specific modifications. 

This option offers you a cost-effective solution with immediate implementation and does not require extensive development time.

In these cases, custom software is the option for you

Custom software is your best choice when you have specific needs that are not met by standard software. 

A custom solution provides flexibility for unique processes, ensures compliance with strict security standards and allows for seamless integration with existing systems.

Do you want to excel with your software? And thus be unique within your market? Even then, a custom solution is often required. 

Below is a Quote from Stefan Jansen Commercial Lead at Avisi. He tells you why custom software can be essential when you want to excel with your software: 

“Software can make the difference by helping you innovate and find your differentiator. The Treacy and Wiersema model illustrates this with three value strategies: operational excellence like Picnic, which excels logistically; customer intimacy like Coolblue, known for their customer experience; and product leadership like ASML, which delivers industry-leading products. The key is to specialize in one strategy, where customized software can be essential.”

Stefan Jansen Commercial Lead Avisi (ontwikkelaar van maatwerksoftware)

Stefan Jansen (Commercial Lead bij Avisi)

De mogelijkheden van maatwerksoftware bespreken? Plan dan geheel vrijblijvend een korte meeting met Stefan.

Detailed explanation of both standard and custom software

Below you will discover all about the two types of software that have a central role in this article: custom versus standard software.

Below, you'll first discover all about standard software. 

Want to go straight to the information about custom software? Then click here and go directly to the section on custom solutions.

All about standard software

Below we would like to tell you all about standard software.

What is standard software? 

Standard software is software designed to perform generic tasks without customization for a specific company or individual. 

Generic software is used in various industries and is used for a variety of functions. 

Consider CRM systems, for example. This type of software focuses on things like contact management, social media, e-mail and sales. 

Also consider ERP systems, for example. You use these for things like accounting, inventory management, production management and a variety of financial functions. 

These (standard) software packages are designed with a wide range of features that meet the needs of the average user without the need for customization.

What are examples of standard solutions?

Here are some examples of standard software systems:

  • AFAS
  • Odoo
  • Exact
  • SuperOffice
  • Snelstart
  • Salesforce 
  • Microsoft Office
  • Accounting software, such as Quickbooks
  • Standard inventory management packages.
  • HubSpot (see video of the CRM system we use ourselves below)

Anyone working in HubSpot's standard CRM package will see the same buttons, options, and design. This is completely different for custom software. 

Advantages and disadvantages of standard software

Below you will discover the biggest advantages and disadvantages of standard packages. 

Let's start with the advantages.  

The advantages of more generic software

  • Instant availability: Standard software is already developed and can be used immediately after purchase, with no time required for development.
  • Cost efficiency: Because development costs are spread across multiple users, standard software solutions are often cheaper than custom software.
  • Continuous support and updates: Suppliers of standard software often provide regular updates and technical support, ensuring continued value and troubleshooting.
  • Ease of use: Standard software is often designed with usability in mind, making it easy to learn and use for a variety of users.
  • Wide range of features: Standard software packages often include a comprehensive set of features that meet the needs of many users, making them suitable for various business needs.

The disadvantages of standard solutions

  • Limited customization options: Standard software is developed for a broad audience, so it may not fully meet an organization's specific needs. This can lead to limitations in customizing the software to specific business processes.
  • Potentially redundant functionality: Standard software packages often contain a wide range of features, some of which may not be relevant to a specific organization. As a result, an organization may pay for features they do not use.
  • Dependence on third-party vendors: When using standard software, an organization is dependent on the vendor for updates, support and troubleshooting. If the vendor does not meet expectations, it can cause problems for the organization.
  • Potential security risks: Because standard software is used by multiple organizations, it can be an attractive target for hackers. If security vulnerabilities are discovered, it could compromise the security of the organization.
  • Limited differentiation: Because many organizations use the same standard software, it can be difficult to differentiate from competitors based on the software used. This can affect an organization's competitive position.

All about custom software packages

Below we'd like to tell you all about custom software.

What is custom software? 

Custom software is software designed specifically for a particular organization. This is to meet specific needs that are not met by standard software.

Although custom software is tailored for a specific organization, it can also incorporate existing building blocks and frameworks to save development costs and time. However, developing custom software often requires in-depth requirements analysis, stakeholder collaboration and an understanding of business processes.

What are examples of custom software solutions?

Are you curious about examples of custom software solutions? 

Coincidentally, we have a real-life example for you! In fact, our comparison platform ( was developed by Avisi. Avisi fully customized our software for us!

Software is the most important aspect of our business model. With our software, we distinguish ourselves from the competition. Hence, a standard software solution was insufficient. 

Curious to see what our custom software looks like? You can see it below:

The image above tells only a small part of the story. On the back end, based on the questions you fill out, our software calculates which vendors are the best fit for you. This is a complex process! 

In addition, this type of software is so specific that only a handful of companies need it. Hence, it is not profitable for a software builder to offer this type of software to the masses. 

Advantages and disadvantages of custom software

Below we zoom in on the major advantages and disadvantages of custom software in detail. 

The benefits of customized software

  • Full customization to meet specific needs: Custom software is designed specifically to meet the unique needs of an organization. As a result, business processes can be accurately supported and optimized.
  • Ability to differentiate: Custom software allows organizations to differentiate themselves from their competitors by providing unique functionality not available in standard solutions. Again, consider the Tracey and Wiersema model that Stefan from Avisi mentioned earlier. 
  • Strict adherence to security standards: In cases where strict security standards must be enforced, custom software can be developed with built-in security features specifically tailored to the needs of the organization.
  • Seamless integration with existing systems: Custom software can be developed for seamless integration with an organization's existing systems and infrastructure, promoting efficiency and interoperability.
  • Flexibility and scalability: Custom software offers the flexibility to be adapted and expanded as an organization's needs change. This allows the software to grow with the organization and support its future goals.
  • Full customization to meet specific needs, even when they are complex. 
Klanten en contacten Sales CRM

The disadvantages 

  • Higher costs: Custom software development can be more expensive than using standard software, mainly because of the high cost of the development process, including analysis, design, development and testing. However, the cost is often worth the investment. In fact, custom software better suits the needs and requirements of the organization. 
  • Longer development time: Developing custom software can take longer than implementing standard software because the process of designing, developing and testing custom solutions is more complex and requires more attention.
  • Maintenance and support: Custom software requires regular maintenance and support to ensure that it continues to meet the changing needs of an organization and to address any bugs or issues. This can involve additional cost and effort.
  • Absence of instant updates: Unlike standard software, which receives regular updates and patches from the vendor, custom software may not always benefit from direct updates and enhancements unless they are specifically requested and developed.
  • Dependence on developers: Organizations that use custom software are often dependent on the developers or development partner who built the software. This can cause problems if there is a lack of communication or cooperation, or if the developer is no longer available.

The comparison tool that helps you find standard software [CRM and ERP systems]

And? Based on this article, do you know that you are looking for standard software? If so, we have developed an independent comparison tool especially for you.

Use our tool and find a suitable ERP or CRM system within 5 minutes. You're not stuck with anything.

Find your standard Software package

Want to know what you get after filling out the questions? You can see it below:

As you can see above, the tool gives you instant insight into which software vendors are your best match.

Also, click on “View All Details” and find out exactly what a vendor has to offer you. 

Avisi, the organization where your custom software development is in good hands

Want to get to know Avisi, the custom software development company, better? 

Avisi themselves speaking: 

“For more than 20 years, Avisi has had one goal: software development must get better. That's what drives us, call us professionals. We build solutions that are of value now and in the future. Motivated by complex problems, we are always looking for the best technical solution and the latest innovations.”

Interested in custom software? Contact Avisi and see what they can do for you!

Peter de Bruin
CEO & Sr. Software Specialist
With over 15 years of dedicated experience in the enterprise software industry, I have seen firsthand how crucial it is for an organization to find the right software system for success. In this rapidly changing marketplace, a fair playing field is not always a given. My mission is to create a fair match between companies and vendors, putting the importance of appropriate and effective software first. Our independent selection tool is designed to fulfill this mission, with the goal of creating a future where everyone can effortlessly find the perfect software package, with a smile. Let's strive for that effortless future together.
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We therefore offer independent and honest advice. In doing so, we bring balance to the market so that you can confidently select the optimal software solution, knowing that your success is our top priority.