It is short form for commercial off the shelf (COTS)
It’s software that is ready made and available for sale to the general public e.g. Microsoft Office is a COTS product that is packaged as a business solution. COTS product are designed to be implemented easily into existing system without the need for customization.

Advantages of COTS
1. Applications are provided at reduced costs.
2. The application is more reliable when compared to custom built software.
3. COTS is more maintainable because the system documentation is provided with the application.
4. They are readily available in the market.
5. The application is of higher quality since competitors strive to produce better softwares.

Disadvantages of COTS
1. Slow to adapt or change to industry’s needs. Your feature request may get ignored if it doesn’t benefit the larger customer base.
2. It may require you to change infrastructure e.g. processing power, memory
3. It may require you to change your process to fit the software.
4. They are readily available in the market.
5. It cannot entirely fulfill customer requirements.

A computer program or web application that is specifically designed for a particular purpose, department or company. The software is owned by the customer and can incorporate features from other software programs. Customized softwares are written and designed to meet client’s specific business processes. Since custom software is developed per single customer, it can accommodate the customer’s
particular preferences and expectations.

They may be designed in a stage by stage processes allowing all the possible hidden dangers to be undertaken into account including issues which were not mentioned in the specification especially during the first phase of software development process may involve many departments including marketing, engineering, research & development and general management. Large companies, commonly use customs softwares for critical functions including content management, inventory management, customer management, human resource management or just to fill the gaps present in the existing software.

Advantages of custom software
1. You can start with the minimum necessary requirements and add on later.
2. It can be tailored to your exact business needs and processes.
3. Changes can be made quickly as compared to the COTS software.
4. Can be made to suit your infrastructure i.e. no need to upgrade the computer central
processing unit and memory requirement

Disadvantages of custom software
1. There is very high initial and implementation cost.
2. All changes in features requested are billable.
3. You may incur additional cost in any case a new developer is called in for upgrade
4. It’s less reliable

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