Hidden Costs Of Mobile Software Development
How do you estimate total costs for your software project? Your software team gives you an estimate for design, then it serves as a base for a development estimate, then add testing (30-40%) and project management (10-15%). But what is there that tries to escape your eye?
If this project is your first one, it's quite usual to have unrealistic expectations. One of your primary tasks as a software owner is to ascertain all costs and risks related to development and deployment, as well as further maintenance of your product. Hidden costs follow you during the whole process, and it's easy to exceed the scope. Then come the hardships of borrowing more money from investors, draw it from your business, and in the worst cases put the project on hold or cut the costs. The success of your product will be up in the air.
Prevention lies in knowing the cost-related pitfalls. The very first advice is to choose a software company that offers the full cycle of development, has business analysts and project managers to help you be more realistic. Freelancers and companies that offer incomplete development cycle (e.g. without designers or QA engineers) will not be able to make estimates to rely on.
Here are the hidden costs to be prepared for. You won't face all of them – some concern mostly corporate software, for example – but it will be useful to take notice.
- Involvement of a business analyst and/or technical consultant. Research as for project implementability.
- Legal consultations and trademark registration, if needed.
Design And Development
- Backend development, server hosting. These costs depend on the complexity of your software's logic.
- Changes of requirements in the middle of development are quite undesirable; some are easy to handle, some may call for substantial recoding.
- For corporate software – data migration from the old system or the previous version of software. Integration with other systems. Expenses for storage of the old system's backup.
- Releases of new devices and platform versions in the middle of development – involves extra adjustments and purchases of new hardware (for corporate users).
- Paid libraries and other software used in your project.
Deployment And Maintenance
- Application store fees for native and hybrid apps. Apple App Store: developer's account ($99/year) and enterprise account ($299/year for proprietary apps for internal use). Windows Phone Store: individual account ($19/year) and company account (approximately $99/year). Google Play: one-time $25 fee for an account.
- You get only 70% of all revenues brought by your app, be it upfront charge or in-app purchases. The rest is taken by Apple, Google, or Microsoft – whichever platform you build for. Exact amounts may vary.
- Training users, if necessary – for corporate software.
- CMS management – continuously providing your users with up-to-date content.
- The way you see your software and the way your users want to see it is always different. After the release apps are continuously updated and tested, tailored to users' preferences, new OS versions, changes in third-party APIs, etc.
- Customer support service. You have to invest into it and keep providing quick responses to customers' requests.
- If your network starts rapidly growing users, you'll need to expand the backend so it can handle the load.
We can consult you on these issues more closely after we study your project. There's nothing a good team can't handle – you only have to be thoroughly prepared.
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