When it comes to decision-making in business, budget is king. Unfortunately, our business dreams and bottom line can often be worlds apart. So if you’re in the market for some custom software for your company, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you balance the books. Read on to discover what custom software is, how it can help your company, what it might cost, and – most importantly – the ways in which you can get what you need for less.
- What is custom software?
- What are the benefits of custom software?
- How much does a CRM software cost to develop?
- Factors that impact the cost of custom software
- Size matters
- Consider the design
- How complex is it?
- What data do you need?
- How many end users?
- When do you need it?
- Have you got a custom software project in mind?
Custom software is a bespoke solution designed to meet your company’s specific needs. Unlike off-the-shelf software (which has a one-size-fits-all approach), bespoke software is unique to you and your business. To use the analogy of building a house, an off-the-shelf property would be a home with a set amount of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. that cannot be changed, whereas a custom home would be built to your specification, with the exact amount of bedrooms, bathrooms you require…and maybe a pool?!
In a nutshell, custom software can give your business a competitive advantage. If everyone in your sector is using the same or similar off-the-shelf software, having something that stands out from the crowd will get your brand noticed. Further benefits of custom software development include:
- It’s tailored to your users: the functionality, design and user journey can be designed for your users
- It’s bespoke to your business: the end product will match your business needs and give you options to grow.
- It’s a time-saver: common tasks will be quicker and easier to complete saving you precious time
- It’s cost-saving: as well as the automation of repetitive tasks, you won’t have to pay for functionality you won’t use
Examples of popular custom software solutions include e-commerce, SaaS platform (software as a service), content management systems (CMS), and customer relationship management (CRM). Now is as good a time as any to mention that we can help you with all of the above! Find out more here.
Now we know the benefits, let’s talk numbers. For example, how much would it cost to create custom CRM software? Well, that’s one of those questions that can be categorised under, ‘How long is a piece of string?’ That’s because no two projects are the same and the cost depends on your specific needs and requirements.
To give you a rough understanding of what to expect with your software development costing, GoodFirms (1) polled over 150 software development companies and industry experts to investigate software development trends. They discovered that:
- The average cost to develop software was roughly $36,000 (£27,700)
- The average time taken to develop the software was 4.5 months
The GoodFirms research uncovered projects ranging from $3,000 (£2,300) to $120,000 (£92,300), which underscores the fact that the final figure will be based on your specific project. So, with such a wide-ranging scale of costs, how can you ensure your project stays on budget? Let’s look at the ways…
Spending time in the early stages of your project development process to pull together an accurate overview of your requirements can really help streamline the custom software development process. To help you plan for your custom software needs, we’ve delved deep into our experience of developing custom software solutions to uncover the ways in which you can shave precious pounds off your overall budget.
When it comes to custom software you only pay for what you need. So if you don’t need it, let your software developers know and they’ll leave it out of the build. Anything you can do to cut down on the work involved in building your application – such as reducing the amount of screens in an app – will save costs.
This is because developers often cost up a project based on the number of people involved, totalling up the daily rate for each person in the process and how many days they’re needed. Fewer screens mean fewer days required to build, which means you’ll be getting a smaller bill at the end of the project. And who wouldn’t want that?
To return to our analogy of building a house, getting a mosaic floor of a picture of your dog installed at the bottom of your pool would be more expensive than installing a plain concrete floor because of the time and effort involved. The same applies to software development where the more design elements you require, the more expensive it will be.
For example, custom illustrations, bespoke brand videos, and creative UX elements can see your budget rise so be sure to make careful consideration at the development stage. And don’t forget, if budgets are tight you could always plan to add further design features at a later date.
The more complicated your project is from a features, technological, and design point of view, the more development time, coding time, and testing time will be required. This will have a knock-on effect on the cost. Another ‘complication’ that can hit the bottom line is which platforms you want your software to work on.
Software that runs on just one platform, such as web, will naturally be cheaper to build than software required to function on web, iOS and Android. So, it’s worth researching which platform (or platforms) your end users are most likely to use to avoid wasting time and money.
Does your software development project involve migrating existing date from your current system? To do this involves creating a custom script that removes the script from your old system and delivering it to the new system. Although the process isn’t too complicated, it can be an arduous job if there’s a lot of data involved or you need to cherry-pick particular data. If some or all of the data needs translating, that’s an additional cost to factor in, so it’s worth having a spring clean of your data before migrating it so you only move across what you need.
Another cost-saving exercise is to consider your integration requirements. Setting up your custom software to seamlessly integrate with third-party systems, such as payment providers like PayPal or Worldpay, can be costly. By drawing up an integration hit list you can, as a company, decide what you really need, and your custom software developers can advise you on the time (and cost) involved to connect with each system, as some are more time-consuming than others.
Having an understanding of your user base – the number of people who will be using your custom software – can keep costs down as part of the development cost involves optimising and testing the system for the expected user numbers. So it’s not a case of ‘the more, the merrier’ from a budget point of view. As with the design elements we discussed earlier, this is an area that can always be increased at a later date so your system scales and grows in line with your business.
If you’ve got a launch date in mind, ask yourself: Is that a nice-to-have deadline or a must-have deadline? As with most things in life, the sooner you need it, the higher the cost, so if you’re not in a rush to get your software up-and-running, relaxing the launch date can be a cost-saving exercise.
If you’re unsure whether custom software is right for your business, here are no less than 11 reasons why we recommend using it – including details of how you could receive tax return on the costs involved with custom software development software.
Whether you’re considering…
- SaaS solutions
- CRM software
- Internet of Things (IOT)