Considering a custom app for your business?
You can solve a lot of problems with custom software. Be sure you have counted the cost before you start, however.
A custom mobile or web app can enhance user productivity, provide a better customer experience, or even be a status symbol. Nonetheless, creating custom software may not be your wisest choice.
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Software is Expensive
All software is expensive. You may think your monthly subscription fee for the software you are using is high. Perhaps you’ve considered spending it to build custom software instead. The bad news is, if you think existing software is expensive, you will not like the cost of custom software. Custom software is even MORE expensive.
Custom software is not a one-time out-of-pocket expense. Once you’ve created custom software, you will need to budget both time and money for it every month until you stop using it. Technology is constantly changing and your investment in custom software will be outdated quickly if you don’t keep it up to date. Even if your software is mature and doesn’t change, the environment around it will. The operating system that it runs on will get updates. The technology you’ve built your custom software on will get patches applied. The list goes on and on. These unknown changes mean you should budget for updating your custom software monthly, year after year until you decide to stop using it.
Consider Using Off-the-Shelf Software
Existing software may meet your needs and be much cheaper. Although many software products seem expensive, consider what you’re actually getting.
As of this writing
- The average hourly rate for a software developer is $60 USD/hour.
- Salesforce Small Business edition is $75/month.
- Quickbooks’ most popular edition is $85/month, and their most expensive is $200/month.
Think of what you are getting for those prices.
You’re getting state-of-the-art software that
- has an uptime guarantee of 99.999% in most cases
- is thoroughly tested by a large Quality Assurance team
- has a trained support staff, online articles, and videos to help you get the most out of it
- has enhancements derived from millions of users’ real-world experiences over decades
- Many other benefits
All for the average price of 1-2 hours of a software developer’s time. It’s a bargain.
Many off-the-shelf software applications allow you to modify and extend them with custom functionality. That means you can build on top of what they have already provided! Although all aspects of custom software development will apply to your customizations, you will still reap tremendous benefits.
Custom Software is Time Consuming
Building and maintaining a custom software application takes a significant amount of time. You will need to transfer all the business knowledge you’ve collected over the years into processes you can automate in your custom software. It’s unlikely this is a simple linear problem. Once you get started, you’re likely to find ways you’ve been doing things that translate poorly into the digital world. Finding the best way to put those ideas and processes into a custom software application will take some trial and error.
Sometimes people think creating software is simple and easy, and sometimes it is. For example, you may know someone who made a WordPress site in one night. However, custom software designed specifically for your business is different.
Designing custom software to automate your unique business logic can get very complicated very fast. The more complex your business logic is, the longer it will take to create custom software to run it. So be sure you are prepared to iterate over your software until you get it right.
Choosing the wrong development partner can guarantee failure from the beginning. For example, suppose the firm you select does not have expertise in your industry or specific knowledge about the problem you are trying to solve. Maybe you find a team that works fast or is cheap, only to discover that the solution they create is not maintainable. In these cases, you may end up with a subpar product that does not actually work as you envisioned.
Poorly designed software will limit your ability to scale over time. Your business will continue to grow. You must build custom software with seams that allow it to change and pivot without significant disruption to your existing product.
Custom Software Should Add Value
Your custom software should support your unique business objectives. It should help you earn more money than it costs to create. Be sure that the software development partner you choose keeps your business objectives a priority at all times. Every aspect of your software development should focus on supporting your business objectives.
In conclusion, creating a custom software application is a considerable investment of time and money. There are a lot of pitfalls and a lot of risks. You deserve a software partner that prioritizes your business and creates software designed to support your business objectives.
Finally, sometimes writing a custom software application is the only way to achieve your goals.
In that case…
Are you still considering creating custom software?
We are experts in custom software development. We have helped dozens of companies like yours build high-quality software designed to scale and grow.
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Schedule a free call. We will listen to your needs and give our advice. That’s it. There’s no cost and no further obligation. We promise.
- You schedule an appointment.
- Describe your software challenges and ask any questions you have.
- We share expert advice from our 35+ years of experience.
Yes, it’s really that simple.