Software code across screen with keyboard foregrounded

Custom software is used by many of the world’s top companies and varies in complexity and scale. Depending on your needs, you may design a simple piece of custom software or a full system. As you can imagine, this is not a cheap undertaking.  Before going ahead with the project, we always recommend considering the development costs. While these costs will be one part of the equation, ownership costs once the project is completed are also important. By examining costs of each element of your software, you’ll have a good idea of what these will be and whether it’s a worthwhile investment.

Working within budget

Before examining the components that determine the cost of custom software, note there are options available for every budget. You can work with a small or a large budget, depending on what your company has to play with. Your software development team will be able to add and remove features to meet your requirements. You’ll need to be realistic about the time and expertise involved in creating custom software. Typically, larger custom software projects start around £40,000. More complex options for larger companies can go up to £250,000.

Upfront and ownership costs

When considering the cost of custom software, it’s not as simple as creating the software and never having to spend anything on it again. While the upfront costs will cover your software’s design and development, after the launch and testing of it, there are still ownership costs. Most software costs a reasonable amount to operate and update over the years, which is something companies often fail to account for. While you may want to cut costs during the development stage, you’ll usually pay for this further down the line. When budgeting for custom software, consider its overall cost, including storage and processing fees if needed.

Custom software size

One of the biggest reasons for the wide variation in the cost of custom software is the size. A simple project will naturally involve fewer resources and will cost your company much less both upfront and to operate. On the other hand, a complex solution for your business will start at a few hundred thousand pounds and only increase in price from there. When we are discussing the size, the number of functions, processes, and screens a piece of software has all influence the overall cost of the project.

Designing custom software

No two custom software projects are exactly the same. For many companies and developers, this is one of the most attractive things about custom software. By adding unique components and systems, you can make a piece of custom software like nothing you’ve ever seen before. However, the more you play about with your custom software design, the more costly it will become. When you are creating a heavily researched UX design, this will naturally cost you more in the long run. Consider what design parts are worth additional expense and what you could sacrifice to save on upfront costs.

Software complexity

A complex piece of custom software will require more time and expertise during its development, which naturally increases the cost of your software. Depending on the function you expect your software to serve, you’ll find more testing and coding is needed. If you are designing software with functions that need specialists to work on its coding, expect this to add upfront costs to your project.

The deployment platform

The price for custom software is also dependent on the deployment platform used. These each have their own stipulations, and depending on how many devices you are hoping to use a new mobile app or piece of software on, the higher the cost will go. When developing an Android application, you’ll find there are more devices to accommodate, especially when compared to iOS. Therefore, Android apps are often far costlier to create. Most projects are looking to compete with the world’s most popular brands. By adding multiple development platforms, it’s about the only way you to keep up with the competition.

Data migration

Data migration allows data from your previous system to be transferred to your new custom software, thanks to exporting and custom scripts. Most companies can’t afford to lose the data on their previous software, so this is a cost that needs consideration. To ensure this process goes smoothly, data migration is usually cehcked to ensure there were no issues during the process. The new system is also tested to make sure the data functions properly on it. This can add both time and costs to your custom software creation, especially during the testing phase.

Software integration costs

If your new custom software then needs to be integrated with other software, such as a payment provider, this will add additional time to your project. Depending on the integration’s complexity, this can be a costly process often adding unexpected costs. If you are using older systems and software, you’ll find this to be more complex and more costly as a result.

There are many factors that come together to impact the cost of custom software. You’ll also want to take into account the amount of time the development will take. Time is a huge factor when assessing costs as, if you can spread out the project over months or years, it may be easier to similarly spread costs. Regardless of the type of custom software, always work with an experienced team who will offer best results and give you advice about working within your budget.

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