While it is relatively easy to get an accurate estimate of the initial cost of building custom software (although that can balloon as well), two large post-build costs of custom-built software are often overlooked:
1) Maintenance and Support
The maintenance and support costs of custom-built software frequently cost more over the software’s lifetime than the initial build. For example, any hardware additions or replacement can require software updates if the hardware deviates from the original hardware. Also, after the initial “warranty” period, bugs found in the software require paid development time to fix.
2) System Downtime
Custom software is more likely to have bugs than off-the-shelf software because it is not tested nearly as thoroughly (that would dramatically increase the cost of development). It is important to figure out how your company will deal with any downtime. [Read more…]