Software development can serve a variety of important functions in a business. This can include complex programs, mobile, and web applications and operating systems. Software development involves a lengthy process that includes designing, building, testing, rolling out and maintenance of programs and applications that can be used in business processes. Effective software development can be expensive and many businesses, especially small and medium-sized companies, are constantly looking for ways to save.
Many cost-focused businesses look to do-it-yourself solutions. However, this can lead to poor-quality products. It is better to put steps in place to save software development costs on high-quality tech and experience than to invest in low-grade development.
The average costs of software development
Efficient and effective software development requires developers and engineers to be highly skilled and experienced in development best practices, software end-goals and the maintenance of software development products. For experienced developers, the average software developer’s salary is $83K. This is why developing software can be highly expensive.
Website development costs and app development costs have skyrocketed in recent days. For example, a simple mobile application can cost up to $80,000! This is way above some business’ budgets. Let’s look at the four main steps in the building of new software, which are the most expensive:
Designing of software
Small businesses and startups often follow a do-it-yourself approach to the first few steps in software development. They will map out the product design steps and the main functions of the new software product. This can save costs, but experts still need to get involved in the designing of the actual product.
Many software development companies offer consultation services before they start building a product. This can help in the development processes as experts will offer advice on what is possible and what is not when it comes to specific software products. This can save a lot of costs on building a product that does not function correctly.
Development of software
Once the design process is done, the building or development of the software product can begin. Custom turnkey software development is a complicated field and can experts can charge large amounts for the building of products. For smaller businesses looking for freelancers, back-end web, API, desktop and mobile application development can all cost up to $150 per hour. Large software engineering companies can cost up to $400 per hour. It’s also important to remember that, depending on the product, development can take hundreds of hours. This is a massive expense for anyone looking to invest in new software products.
Testing of software
Testing can often involve a bigger team, or even a new team if fresh eyes are needed. The testing process can often also be a lengthy exercise, as improvements will be made if needed, and testing will follow after each change. Some cutting-edge software products have to undergo months of testing. The length of this process can make it costly.
Maintenance of software
Another cost of software development is the maintenance of software products. Often, when the right automated processes are not in place, the maintenance of software need to be done manually. Many businesses do not have the relevant know-how for this and software engineers need to be hired. This can be a lengthy and costly process. It is advisable to ask your software development team to put automated processes in place right from the start.
Why is it important to invest in software development?
It is almost impossible to think about a business today that doesn’t use the software. Software development has become a crucial aspect of businesses big and small to streamline systems and improve processes. As these businesses grow, so do the need for newer and more improved software development to stay relevant.
To stay ahead, businesses such as online merchants and fintech companies may require unique tools, for example, software to streamline payment processes. Effective software applications should then be designed and developed. This often requires a long and complex process and thorough testing should be done before the rollout to ensure functional software features.
Six ways to lower software engineering costs for small to medium-sized businesses and startups
When a small to medium-sized business or a startup decides to invest in software engineering, they should look at ways to cut development costs to stay within their budget. There are simple steps that can be followed to ensure the capitalization of software development costs and a smart investment in innovative design.
Outsourcing has become increasingly popular when it comes to IT projects and software development. Outsourcing involves hiring another business or individual to complete a certain project. Outsourcing is an excellent way to save on costs. Many highly skilled and experienced software developers and engineers can assist with projects at affordable rates.
When you outsource, you do not have to hire an internal team. Employing a team full-time can be expensive. You will also have to deal with the admin that goes along with it, including contracts and annual leave.
It is important to remember that the lowest price does not always deliver a good quality product, so it is advisable to do some research before outsourcing a software development company.
Set clear goals right from the start
When it comes to developing software, it’s important to know exactly which outcomes you are looking for. When you work with a team of developers, the main goals of the project can easily be misinterpreted or overlooked. It is, therefore, important to have a clear roadmap that also highlights the end objectives. This roadmap and objectives can be penned down in a document. Add as many details as possible to avoid misinterpretation during the development process.
Get end-users and consumers involved
Very often software products are developed successfully, but once it is introduced to end-users or consumers, it does not suit their requirements. This is why it is important to get end-users and consumers involved before the product is developed. This can include comprehensive surveys to find out exactly what end-users’ needs are, as well as a full needs analysis. This will avoid businesses developing software not used as intended in the future. Costs can be reduced on a big scale if you realize the needs and requirements of everyone involved right from the start.
Get automated processes in place
If a software development team is only available for a certain period, it is wise to ask for automated processes to be put in place immediately. With this, you can save a lot of costs when tests and improvements need to be done in the future. Manual processes, which can be costly and time-consuming, can be reduced and automated tools will ensure that the processes are done efficiently and effectively.
Leave out any extras or “nice-to-haves”
When a new product is developed it is vital to get the basics right first. A new software product should be able to offer its core functions correctly. Unnecessary functional features or so-called “nice-to-haves” can drastically increase costs, as it requires more time, skills and labor. Often these extras are not even used by end-users. If you have a software development budget, work towards your main goals first and leave the rest for when you have the time and the capital for it.
Test new software thoroughly
It’s incredibly important to test any new software thoroughly before the rollout thereof. Many software developers and engineers and companies will claim that they can build highly successful new software products in a very short period. However, this can often lead to products that do not function correctly. Therefore, new software needs to undergo a strict testing process. Any bugs and faults need to be recorded and fixed immediately. This will avoid the costs of hiring a development team again after the product has been rolled out. Improvements in existing software products can be expensive. Testing is one of the most important steps in the development of new software.
For businesses to stay relevant, Software engineers need to constantly produce new and innovative software products. Often these software development engineers have to build software products from scratch when new needs and requirements rise. Therefore, software engineering is a unique field and engineers need to have both scientific and creative skills. They need to be able to visualize the product right from the start, design and build it, as well as make sure that the end-product functions correctly. For this reason, software developers are pricey.
The bottom line
While software development may be important for certain business processes, the cost thereof can be sky-high. Many cost-focused small to medium-sized businesses and startups do not have the budget for this. Luckily, certain steps can be followed in the software development process to ensure unnecessary costs are cut out. A business looking to invest in software development should have clear end-goals, including the main objectives of the new product, a strict budget, and a roadmap. This will help software development teams to stay on track and avoid unnecessary costs.