Front Range Data Management Services, Inc.

Custom Programming Cost


  Microsoft Excel
  Microsoft Access
  Custom Reports
  SQL Server
  Visual Basic
Custom programming or Off the Shelf software?

Custom programming sounds expensive, right? First, we aren't going to tell you it is cheap; we charge a market rate for programming, and build excellent solutions. We also won't tell you that we'll build you an accounting system or a payroll system. The professors were right when they said don't build your own. However, most businesses have a proprietary process that involves data, either as the central part of the service, or to measure the service or company performance. Companies put a lot of resources into this, and most of the time, that data is either forced to fit in some off the shelf package that costs a great deal of time and effort, and does not produce the data needed, or the data is stored in a lot of spreadsheets, and not looked at in the aggregate. These are both conditions that cost you money, and adversely affect your competitive edge.

So what will a custom program cost? We develop estimates using some guidelines. First, we determine the number of tables the system will require. For example, are you interested in a sales and preferences tracker? That would involve a customers table, an employees table, a purchases table and a products table. We estimate approximately four hours each to build the tables in the database and build the forms to interact with those tables. We figure, with this size database, two hours for tasks like building lookup tables and the forms to edit them. Then we look at what kind of output that would be required; general reports we estimate at three hours each, simple listings at one hour each, and ineraction with specialty devices (label printers, bar code scanners, etc.) as an hour or two each.

We will be up front with you. What we discussed above would work out around 30 hours. We will tell you that, once your system starts to take shape, your stakeholders will start asking, "can it do this, too?" This is referred to as "scope creep" in information technology project management language. So we will tell you to expect to double our estimate to allow for these possibilities. It has been our experience that customers have been even happier with the "scope creep" items added than the original system, so we want you to consider that. So this system would price out around $5,000. It would do what you want it to do, rather than making your business work around an off the shelf system.

It has been our experience that these systems recover the initial investment in short order, ususally within six months.

We develop Visual Basic systems from our Denver office that make working with data easy, and it is cheaper than you would think! Call us at (303) 403-0386 or request estimates or assistance by e-mail.

Copyright 2012 Front Range Data Management Services