Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS)


COTS describes software that offers “one size fits all” default capabilities to organizations. In contrast, custom development or “bespoke software” is tailored specifically to the unique needs of an organization. 

What is off-the-shelf software and what are some examples?

Off-the-shelf software or commercial off-the-shelf software is any kind of mass-market software offered without customization. It can be used immediately after purchase.

What are off-the-shelf software products?

An example of a popular COTS product is Microsoft Office. Countless organizations use it and adapt to the software as it offers no custom or “bespoke” solutions for organizations. 

What type of software is off-the-shelf?

COTS software can be anything from tools for payroll and claims processing to ERP and CRM systems. Most typically, it refers to B2B enterprise software.

What is an off-the-shelf platform?

An off-the-shelf platform is a readymade software solution with platform capabilities.