Acquiring software from external suppliers and developing less software in-house can help software-developing organizations improve operational efficiency by reducing costs, time and reusing current technologies. Software projects increasingly use Off-The-Shelf (OTS) products. From the acquirer perspective, there is a need to understand in more detail OTS-based software acquisition processes, because they are different to and less well-understood than those for the acquisition of custom software. In this paper we have undertaken a systematic mapping study on OTS-based software acquisition. The study compares and contrasts OTS-based software acquisition and non-OTS-based software acquisition, and identifies factors influencing decision making in OTS-based software acquisition. We find that the main difference is that there is a relationship between determining the software requirements and OTS selection in OTS-based software acquisition. For commercial OTS software, the major factors are functionality and quality of the software, but for open-source OTS software, cost was the most important factor.



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