Digital Transformation

The Value of Long-Term Custom App Development

This blog dives into the pros and cons of custom app development for business leaders and decision makers as a long-term service rather than a one-off project.

Blog Post

8 minute read

Nov 15, 2023

Businesses today are constantly searching for innovative ways to streamline their operations, enhance the customer experience, and gain an edge. Custom app development offers organizations the chance to meet consumers where they are digitally while also creating a unique and tailored user experience.  

Of course, before committing to custom app development, decision makers need to consider the investment it requires from both a financial and scheduling perspective.

Today, we’ll dive into the value of long-term custom app development, addressing key concerns that often arise while also highlighting the benefits that extend far beyond initial implementation.  

If you’re wondering what a custom-app development solution can look like, take a look at our ZMac case study through which we review the success they found with a custom low-code app solution delivered by Impact.  

The Cost of Custom App Solutions

For starters, simple apps can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $40,000 to develop depending on the level of complexity, amount of functionality, and desired processing power. To put it plainly, as the complexity of the app increases, so does the cost.  

It’s also worth noting that the actual cost of a custom app development project could vary widely outside of the estimates listed here.  

As mentioned above, one of the most important variables that will heavily affect the final cost of development is the complexity of the application that you need developed.  

This is why some enterprise level apps can cost upwards of $500,000 to develop. However, these typically come with powerful engines and a suite of complex features.  

While these figures might sound high, the value from custom app development comes from its longevity, tailored functionality, and the way it acts as a catalyst for a series of seamless solutions that all work together.

Custom Apps vs. Out-of-the-Box Solutions 

Another one of the considerations you’ll need to make before deciding on custom app development or an out-of-the-box solution is the time you have at your disposal. If you have the time, and the resources, springing for a custom solution might make the most sense as it will give you the best support for the gap you’re trying to cover in your operations.  

“The average time it takes to build an app is anywhere between 4-6 months.”

That being said, if you’re short on time, an out-of-the-box or turnkey solution might offer you more immediate coverage. Another solution you might consider if you’re short on time is an app built with low-code development tools.  

Turnkey solutions have a shorter implementation period because they take a one-size-fits-all approach toward building enterprise solutions. However, by looking to turnkey solutions you can end up creating disparate processes that don’t work well together and need additional customization down the line.  

Unless you really need an immediate solution, custom app development is an avenue that’s well worth investigating.  

Developing Custom Apps In-house vs. Outsourcing 

If you should choose to develop a custom app, or series of custom apps, for your organization, you’ll next need to determine whether you have the resources to build these solutions in-house, or if you’d rather find a strategic partnership to take on development.  

If you already have an in-house development team, you can (and should) rely on them to create these solutions with your direct input and feedback. An in-house team can be great, especially because they’ll have a sole-focus on your organization and an intimate knowledge of the backend of custom-built solutions.  

Your in-house team might even benefit from using low-code development tools to ease and streamline their processes and workflows.  

On the other hand, if there isn’t an existing internal development team, there are a lot of expenses to building one that only increase the total cost of the custom app development. Some of these costs include recruiting and hiring expenses as well as ongoing employee salaries. Not to mention, opting to build a development team from scratch will also add to length of time needed.  

This is where establishing a strategic partnership can be a good choice for growing businesses who don’t quite have the time and resources required to build a development team in-house. By partnering with a team of expert developers, you can get the same attention you would from an in-house team without the additional costs.  

8 of 10 businesses find citizen development takes work off the shoulders of their IT team.

More Than a One-Time Solution 

One of the best arguments in favor of custom app development is that it delivers more value the longer it’s used. In that way, it’s not just a one-off project.

Here are a few ways custom app development offers value over time:  

  1. Scalability: As your business grows, so do your technology needs. A well-designed custom app can easily scale to accommodate increased demand and evolving requirements. This scalability ensures that your app remains a valuable asset throughout your business' journey. 
  2. Continuous Improvement: The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and customer expectations change rapidly. Regular updates and improvements to your custom app are essential to keeping it aligned with the latest industry trends, compliance regulations, and security patches. Having a team of experts manage and monitor application updates will keep your application safe, modern, and bug-free. 
  3. Adaptability: External factors such as market shifts, regulatory changes, and emerging technologies can impact your business. Custom apps can be adapted and customized to address these changes swiftly, giving your business the agility it needs to thrive. 
  4. A Better User Experience: As more businesses embrace custom app solutions, those that invest in long-term app development gain a distinct competitive advantage through the delivery of a top-notch user experience.  

In addition to the benefits listed above, with a team of developers committed to your custom app, you can add additional features in later versions that deliver more value and an even better user experience.  

Cohesive and Integrated Solutions 

Custom app development isn’t just about creating standalone applications; it's about creating cohesive and integrated solutions that connect and align your entire business ecosystem. This is vital to creating a smooth employee experience that makes your staff excited to come into work.  

Here's how custom app development can provide solutions tailored specifically to your business operations and processes.

  1. Streamlined Processes: Custom apps can be tailored to integrate seamlessly with your existing software, streamlining business processes and reducing manual data entry. This integration saves time and minimizes errors. 
  2. Data Centralization: Custom apps can serve as a central hub for data storage and retrieval. This allows for real-time access to critical information, enabling better decision-making and improved customer service. 
  3. Enhanced Customer Experience: Integrated apps can provide a 360-degree view of customer interactions and history. This empowers your team to deliver personalized experiences, strengthening customer loyalty and retention. 
  4. Business Intelligence: Custom apps can incorporate advanced analytics and reporting features. This data-driven approach helps you gain valuable insights into your business operations and customer behavior, enabling data-informed decision making. 

Custom app development acts as a bridge between areas of your business, creating a more interconnected and efficient operation. 

Wrapping Up on Custom App Development 

Custom app development is not just a one-time project; it's a long-term investment that offers a multitude of benefits to businesses. While the upfront costs may seem intimidating, they pale in comparison to the long-term value and competitive advantage that a well-developed and maintained custom app can provide.

When evaluating the value of custom app development, it's essential to look beyond the initial expenses and consider the broader, long-term benefits that this investment can bring to your organization. Embracing this as a vital part of your digital transformation strategy can help your business thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace with custom solutions tailored to your custom needs.

To get an idea of what a custom app development process can look like, review our ZMac case study in which we go over the custom low-code solution Impact delivered to ZMac to revolutionize their industry.  


Digital TransformationCustomer ExperienceEmployee ExperienceBusiness Growth


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