Issues With COTS Components

  • The Pros and Cons of COTS Components in Enterprise Applications Development. By PROF ARTHUR U. UME

At any given time in enterprise computing and applications development, the developer may decide to integrate COTS components into his/her design. COTS components simply means Customized-Off-the-Shelf artifacts that the developer may obtain online in order to complement the core components of a proposed Information System. There are few advantages for using COTS components in this way, however the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.


Lower cost; less time to implement; proven reliability and performance benchmarks; less technical staff requirement; future updates provided solely by vendor; easy to contact users from other companies; may provide flexibility and less enhancement problem down the road; may offload all maintenance burdens from the shoulder of the “mother” company; may provide cutting-edge technology and solutions to business need.

The Real Issues/Disadvantages with COTS components

  1. High dependency factors; compatibility issues with existing legacy systems in the organization; some COTS packages may not be easily customizable.
  2. New versions of COTS component will be released each year.
  3. An annual maintenance fees are always required for vendor support …and they are always increasing.
  4. In real life scenarios, the interfaces between the “mother or core software” and the COTS components are never seamless; continuous “tweaking” will always be needed.
  5. There are some computers being used by vendors that are either too old or too new, and this will always constitute portability or interoperability issues.
  6. Lack of real functional and technical requirements …because of fear by the vendor of copywriting!
  7. The level of Quality of code “under the hood”of a COTS component will never be known. Unknown development processes and methods.
  8. Increasing dependency thereby relinquishing key/core business processes for vendor…. not advisable!
  9. Predominant platform compatibility issues across departments in an organization.
  10. Very uncertain …and many a time abrupt component upgrades by vendors of most COTS components .
  11. Ever Dependency on vendor support and maintenance schedules by the organization.

9 thoughts on “Issues With COTS Components”

  1. I keep listening to the news talk about receiving boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the finest site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i find some?

    1. Sorry Waldo Vasallo, we cannot suggest a site where you can receive boundless online grant applications; predominantly we are software application developers and teachers, and can help you out if you run into concrete issues while crafting enterprise application systems.

  2. I am glad you find the topics interesting. Feel free to share your insights on the topics being discussed. PROF. ARTHUR UME

  3. Thanks for your comment. Keep in touch, and feel free to share your insights on the topics discussed. PROF. ARTHUR UME

  4. Integrating COTS (Commercial -Off-the Shelf) components while crafting/developing software or information systems is a good thing. But, must be done sensibly. This is very true when core business processes and logic are being modeled, designed and implemented. Implementing core business processes and requirements solely with COTS components is rather foolhardy; because anchoring the stability of components that implement such processes on the vagaries of Vendors’ is not advisable; majority of the Vendors are not well situated nor stable with their COTS offerings. Extensibility issues and maintainability issues always would lure their ugly heads out …down the line for systems built solely with such components!

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