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Goal-Time Blog Article

"I Need a Custom Website, Right Now!"

Figuring Out the True Business Needs

Published by Goal-Time LLC on 2022-07-05 10:49:00

Business man checking watch, appearing in a rush.
For the purposes of client confidentiality, we're going to anonymize this a bit.

We have an existing client with a data collection and analysis department.

The data collection and analysis side of things was running on a "slightly out-of-date" web-based system. And the developer who built and understood it was no longer available. As they dug deeper into the features available in the existing solution, we found bugs that had just never been identified before, as the features had never been used.

The options in front of him, after a lot of discussion, were:
  • Spend the time to debug the old system, which meant dedicating a lot of time and money to getting a developer familiar with the existing system and code-base.
  • Build a whole new custom system to handle all of the needs of the more modern requirements, and all of the security requirements that come along with it.
Needless to say (I hope), the repair costs would be highly expensive, running a new developer through someone else's code, and then trying to maintain it in the future. Just wasn't work the cost to have a working out-of-date system.

The custom build probably started in the realm of $100k or more, and was not the "happiest" of options, but was what the client asked me to estimate, and the direction he thought we would need to go in.

We offered another option, after some quick research, which was a 3rd-party vendor that had all of the features, functionality, and security that we needed. Turns out that this solution presented itself (around the high-end, worst-case scenario) at about $5,000/year.

Besides the lower up-front cost, this could be implemented in less than 2 weeks and white-listed to show our client's branding to anyone using it. And there was no contract to sign. We could test it monthly, and cancel if it failed to meet our needs.

Cost and Risk Analysis:
Repair Custom Build 3rd Party
Time until useable 6 months - 1 year 1 year 2 weeks
Initial Development Cost $ 75,000 $ 120,000 $ 2,000
Initial Security Cost $ 12,000 $ 20,000 $ 0
Maintenance Dev/Sec $ 1,500 / month $ 2,000 / month $ 199 / month
New Features $ 7,500 $ 3,500 $ 0
5 Year Operational Costs $ 357,000 $ 344,000 $ 13,940
Risks Code being Out-Of-Date Major Industry/Security Changes Very Few

The choice became a very simple business decision. And this is why you should make sure a trusted technology partner (like Goal-Time!) is involved with your team. Sometimes there are easier solutions than you would ever imagine.