Piggy bank and calculator to represent custom software budget

For companies that are thinking about building custom software, one of the top considerations is how much it’s going to cost. As a custom software development company, we are often asked “is possible on a budget?” While the answer is “yes”, there are many different things you’ll want to consider before setting your project’s budget. In this blog post, we’re going to look at how you can develop custom software on a budget.

Consider the value and impact of your project

Before considering your budget for your upcoming project, we encourage you to think about the value the software will provide. Consider the cost savings, before trying to cut corners too much. It’s important to know what you can expect from custom software, as this will help you decide if it’s financially worth undertaking in the first place. BSPOKE Software can work with you to understand your expected budget and needs. Our consultant can also highlight the ways in which this software could help your business to save money in the long run.

Start with the essential features

When we speak to companies about building a piece of custom software, they often have ambitious ideas about the type of features they’d like included. While we can certainly add anything to your custom software, what we usually recommend is you start off small and add extra features as time goes by. This can help you to stick to a budget and spread out the cost over months or years. By choosing the right software development life cycle, we can deliver a few features at a time. Working this way also allows for the testing of each component properly before moving on to the next.

Consider the lifespan of custom software

One of the top reasons we believe that custom software is always worth the investment is its lifespan. Custom software lasts much longer than standard off-the-shelf software. This means that when you divide the cost of the project by the number of years you’ll use it, you’ll find that it usually is a much more cost-effective solution. In fact, when you take into account that you won’t have to pay for user licenses,  you could find you save heaps of money by choosing custom software. Custom software isn’t something that’s just reserved for huge corporations. Many smaller businesses also find this to be an excellent solution to improve their efficiency and productivity.

Have realistic expectations

If you are looking to commission a piece of custom software on a budget, make sure you are realistic about how much can be built and still fall within your budget. Many companies hope to create elaborate pieces of software on a shoestring, which sadly, just isn’t possible. The amount of time, effort, and expertise that goes into a piece of custom software may surprise you. So keep this in mind when setting your budget and allow a little extra for additional features.

Maintenance and improvement costs

Factor in maintenance costs for the future. This maintenance allowance is usually required for adding new features to your software, which may be needed as the industry and technology continue to develop. As technology is moving at a rapid pace, it is often necessary to upgrade to keep ahead of your competition. When purchasing custom software, you’ll find it much easier to make these updates and improvements in the future. This makes custom software a more budget-friendly solution as opposed to having to keep purchasing new software applications.

Add time for research and planning

When thinking about your software budget, take into account the time and effort that’s required for planning and preparation. This may come in the form of time your internal team needs to spend thinking about ideas. It will also need to include the time the development company needs to plan and design your project, such as creating a software requirements specification. The software development process is much more complex than many businesses believe, but with proper planning, you can be sure they’ll be no issues further down the line. We encourage you to be as involved as possible with the planning process so that everyone has the same expectations from the start of the project.

Understand that changes will happen during the project

As with anything in life and business, no project is likely to remain precisely on budget throughout the process. In fact, some software development projects end up having money left over. This can then be used for extra features if required, however, this can extend the time the project takes. Think about this upfront and remember to regularly review your budget to ensure you are keeping on track

Conclusions

It’s certainly possible to develop a piece of custom software on a budget. In the long run, custom software is generally more financially viable. Most companies receive an ROI within a few years, which is why it’s such a popular option with all companies. For more information about planning a custom business software project, contact our team, who will be happy to discuss your requirements.