We get a kick out of building useful apps.
We love custom software development because it can help people learn in so many different ways. However, before you invest money and time into building an app for your company, you will need to know the impact that it might have on your business.
We have been creating custom cloud solutions and apps for quite a while now, and through our personal experience, we have seen that there is much need for clarity before you begin the development process.
This is particularly important when looking at how custom software solutions are going to impact your business. Here are a few important points to go over while you are still in the planning process phase so that you can look at the effect that custom software is going to have on your company.
- 1 What Issue Are You Trying to Solve?
- 2 What are Your Desired Outcomes?
- 3 How Much Can You Expect to Invest in Custom Software Development?
- 4 What is the Time Period for Recouping Investment?
- 5 How to Create a Budget for Software Development
- 6 Final Thoughts
What Issue Are You Trying to Solve?
Invention is the mother of necessity – or it was a few years ago. These days, it isn’t as much about necessity as it is about convenience, but there is still a niche out there for great innovations to be developed as a result of great needs. Perhaps your scheduling process is a little bit too slow.
Perhaps you are having to deal with too many bits of paper on your desk every day, or too many spreadsheets. Perhaps you are using an app as a way for your clients to pay off your services, and it is too slow or not user-friendly. Or you could be using software that isn’t customized to your company’s processes.
Clearly understanding the issue or need that has gone unmet is going to help you keep focused on what you’re trying to get out of custom software development.
When building an app, you usually have way more ideas in your head about what you want than your budget allows. During this filtering process, you will need to be consistently asking yourself, is this app feature going to get me closer to solving a business problem, or can it be left on the cutting room floor?
What are Your Desired Outcomes?
We think that there are two different types of people in this world: those that want to create an app so that they can sell a product to their existing clients, and those that want to create an app that is designed to improve the way their business runs.
If you are building an app to sell a product you will have certain outcomes, including market share, revenue goals, and trying to get as many users as possible.
If you are building an app that is designed to improve the way that your company runs, you might have goals like being able to reduce paperwork, creating a shared database of information for your employees, or having a tool that is going to support your company’s unique process.
How Much Can You Expect to Invest in Custom Software Development?
The thing about software is that it is like housing. There is a house that fits virtually every budget, and the fancier the house, the more expensive it’s going to be.
When figuring out a budget that you are comfortable with when it comes to your customized software, you will need to consider your business goals. If you are hoping to achieve with your business goals and how much are you prepared to spend on it?
A well-seasoned development partner can assist you with this. We believe in approaching this with the Goldilocks budget. You will need to invest enough money to get the impact and value that you’re looking for, but not so much that you are over investing before your product is even out there and being used by clients.
What is the Time Period for Recouping Investment?
Sometimes, when a company invests in custom software, they are looking for a short-term return.
Other companies might be wanting a longer-term return, because they are building more substantial software and know that it’s going to take a while to get off the ground. Knowing which approach your company wants to take is going to help you work out the right amount to invest, as well as the milestones of your software plan, and what kind of features you’re hoping to see at each stage of the process.
How to Create a Budget for Software Development
Of course, having a ballpark when it comes to a budget and coming up with an exact figure is a completely different process.
You will need to be realistic about your budget, especially when aligning it with the goals you have for your custom software development. You will need to be able to accommodate for the project to go over budget at times, but not so much that you are investing more than is necessary.
Think About Pre-Production Planning and Research
You might be so excited about the idea of developing software that you haven’t even thought about the pre-production planning and research phase. Before you have even got into the nitty gritty technical side of developing your software, you might need to hire an expert that can help you plan for what’s ahead. We think that allocating between 5% and 10% of your total budget to pre-production is ideal.
Figure Out the Cost of Implementation
You’re past the research phase, and you’re getting into the implementation phase. Your budget needs to incorporate two things here: who you’re going to need to hire to be in your group so that you can start to develop your product and how much time your group is going to spend every week working on the project.
You will also need to allow for materials and your budget as well. 10% to 20% of your budget should go towards configuration time, 40% to 60% of your budget should go towards advancement time, 20% of your budget should go towards arrangements and testing time, and then 10% to 20% of your budget should go towards implementing and executing the project at the end.
How Much is Maintenance Going to Cost?
The thing about developing customized software or an app is that the work isn’t done when you’ve produced it and it is being used by customers.
You are also going to have to allocate enough money in your budget to service the software or app after it has been developed, as it will require this pretty consistently, not to mention any updates that will be necessary in the future.
Again, the best approach is to allocate too much in your budget, so that you can feel confident about having to spend a little bit more at times. However, don’t overdo it.
Today, we have gone over the implications of custom software development, and its impact on your business. It’s definitely still worth doing, especially if you believe that the impact that it can have on your business is only going to be positive.
There will be setbacks at times, and there will be points in your project’s journey where you feel like it’s never going to happen. We think that the best approach here is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Expect the unexpected, and know that at some point, you will have a customized piece of software that can benefit your company, or an app that has been designed to streamline the purchasing process for your clients. Good luck!