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How Much Does Software Maintenance Cost? – What to Expect for Apps & Enterprise Software Updates

Read Time: 4 minutes

Developing a new enterprise software platform or custom-built mobile app can seem intimidating due to the complexity, time and financial investment. It’s easy to focus on the initial build and all of the work that goes into transforming a software requirements document into a well-architected mobile app or desktop software platform. But development should never end there; otherwise you risk falling short of your platform’s full ROI potential, especially over the long term. This leads to the inevitable question of, “How much does software maintenance cost?” or “What should I expect to pay for mobile app updates?”

Mobile app and software maintenance is critical for maintaining efficiency and compatibility with device operating systems, hardware and any software that’s integrated with your platform. Yet the costs associated with software updates and enterprise app maintenance are often overlooked or even unrealized. This can lead to a scenario where your platform gets buggy, less efficient over time, or even inoperable.

Once the mobile app or software development process is complete, it’s time to shift focus toward a long-term software or mobile app maintenance and update plan. Let’s explore why maintenance is so essential and what to expect for enterprise software / mobile app update costs.

Do You Need to Update Custom Software & Enterprise Mobile App Platforms?

Technology is rapidly evolving and advancing, so your company’s platform needs to evolve or risk getting left behind. Quite simply, custom mobile app and software maintenance is vital because your platform’s technology interfaces with lots of other technology, including:

  • Laptop and Desktop Computer Hardware;
  • Tablets and Mobile Device Hardware;
  • Device Operating Systems;
  • Internet Browsers;
  • Integrated Third-Party Software or Mobile Apps;
  • Technologies Used Within the Platform; and
  • New Cellular Network Technologies Like 5G.

Even if your platform is developed by the best of the best, it cannot operate in a void so it’ll still need to updated so it can continue to interact with the ever-evolving technologies that make today’s modern world tick.

How Much Does App and Software Maintenance Cost? – Planning for Updates

As you plan for a development project, it’s important to understand that mobile app or enterprise software development is associated with some recurring update and maintenance costs. The exact price varies depending upon factors such as the size, features, integrations and technologies used within your app or software interface. With this in mind, it’s advisable to budget for a percentage of the total development cost as recurring maintenance expense.

At 7T, we recommend that clients allocate the following as they plan out the financials for their development project.

A Single Mobile App or Software Platform — 15% to 20% of initial development cost per year
If you have a single mobile app or custom software platform, it’s generally wise to expect to spend approximately 15% to 20% of the initial build cost on annual updates. So if a platform costs $200,000 to develop, the client should expect to spend approximately $30,000 to $40,000 per year for maintenance and updates.

Two Platforms Using a Unified Code Base — 20% to 30% of initial combined development cost per year
If you have a mobile app and desktop version of your software that shares a unified code base, the cost of maintenance and updates is greatly reduced thanks to the coding commonalities. You can expect annual app / software maintenance costs to come in around 20% to 30% of your initial development cost. At 7T, we routinely leverage unified code base and technologies such as React Native, allowing a client’s mobile app and desktop software to share upwards of 80% to 90% of its coding. This cuts down on the initial development costs and the recurring software maintenance costs.

Two Disparate Stand-Alone Platforms – 15% to 20% of initial development cost per year, per platform
In the case of two stand-alone platforms — such as an Android mobile app and a separate Mac OS enterprise software system — the annual maintenance costs would be around 15% to 20% per each platform since each must be approached separately as a stand-alone entity.

Each update serves as a great opportunity to integrate new functionalities and features too, so it’s prudent to re-evaluate your needs as a business as your next round of software maintenance approaches.

In fact, software maintenance and mobile app updates should be considered as a key component of a company’s continuing digital transformation strategy. Scalability, evolving business practices and new business opportunities can dramatically impact your operations and thus, your needs in a software platform.

Planning for Software Development Cost as You Create a Software Requirements Document

Ideally, you should consider ongoing software maintenance and app updates as you’re planning your development project and compiling the comprehensive guide that will serve as your Software Requirements Document (SRD).  The team here at 7T has compiled an informative ebook on how to create a software requirements document in a way that will maximize your ROI, while allowing you to accurately anticipate future software maintenance and update costs.

At 7T, we specialize in digital transformation by developing mobile apps and software platforms that feature emerging technologies, from mobile app development, custom software projects such as CRM platforms and ERP development, or Snowflake data solutions, we are ready to deliver collaborative, multi-phased software development services to clients in all business sectors.

At 7T, our development team enjoys working with company leaders who are seeking to solve problems and drive ROI through digital transformation. An innovative Dallas software development company, 7T integrates cutting-edge solutions into virtually every project, whether it’s mobile app development, CRM platforms or ERP development, and data solutions. We’re here to deliver collaborative, multi-phased software development services.

7T maintains offices in Dallas, Houston, Chicago, and Austin, but our clientele spans the globe. If you’re ready to start creating your software requirements document, contact 7T today. 


Reach out to our team today!

7T - SevenTablets, Inc.

7T is a custom software and mobile app development company serving clients in Dallas, Austin, Houston and beyond. Our specialties include augmented reality (AR), data governance, UI/UX design, ERP development, CRM development, mobile security, and more.


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