As a life sciences company, you may be using or have considered custom-built software. While most business people get an accurate estimate of the initial cost of getting the software built (although that can balloon as well), two large post-build costs of custom-built software are often overlooked:
1) Maintenance and Support Costs
While most off-the-shelf software provides free software updates and low cost or free support, the maintenance and support costs of custom-built software can 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 at all from the original hardware for which the software was built. Plus, after the initial “warranty” period, any bugs found in the software require paid development time to fix.
So when looking at the costs and benefits of custom-built software, be sure to include the costs of a support contract (and be sure to know what is included and what is not) or budget for maintenance and support.
2) System Downtime
Custom software is more likely to have bugs than off-the-shelf software because it is not tested nearly as thoroughly, since that would dramatically increase the cost of development. So, you are likely to have downtime with custom software. The important question to ask is how your company will deal with downtime? Can you afford to have a server or lab equipment be down for 1-3 business days? Or, do you need some type of backup to support you during any downtime.
The important thing is to plan for some software and system failures so that you can have a contingency plan in place before it happens.
For our clients, we typically recommend they use off-the-shelf solutions whenever possible. However, that is not always practical. So when you choose custom-built software, be sure to include all of the costs of the software.
About Skyriver IT
Skyriver IT delivers frustration-free IT. We provide small and midsize life sciences companies with the information needed to make better IT and business decisions. If you would like to discuss how we can help make your IT frustration free, please feel free to call (858) 812-9322 or visit www.SkyriverIT.com