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Why Custom-Built Software Costs 2-5X What You Expect

10 mins read
written by
Dhoof Mohamed

Custom-built software can often look like a great solution to the specific needs of a growing company. The challenge is that most companies dramatically underestimate the total cost of custom software. It’s relatively easy to estimate the cost of building custom software (which can significantly increase). However, it is the post-build costs that are frequently overlooked. Here are the two big ones:

1) Software Maintenance and Support

Maintaining and supporting custom-built software, over the lifetime of the software, often costs more than the initial build. After the initial “warranty” period, any bugs found in the software require paid development time to fix. Hardware additions or replacement often require software updates. All of these are out-of-pocket expenses versus the no-cost updates you get for most off-the-shelf softwares.

2) Downtime Costs

Testing increases the cost of development. So, custom software is usually not tested nearly as thoroughly as off-the-shelf software and that leads to more downtime. Most downtime affects productivity and has a cost associated with it. What cost would you incur if a server or other critical equipment is down for 1-3 business days?

Skyriver IT typically recommends that clients use off-the-shelf solutions if it can be made to work for your company’s needs. However, in some instances custom built software does provide a competitive advantage. If you are considering custom-built software, be sure to include all of the costs of the software when considering the costs and benefits.

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