Bespoke Software Development
Esferico ltd. is small software development company specialising in the development of applications for Small and Medium Sized Businesses, as well as other organisations with specific bespoke software needs.
With well over 30 years experience, Esferico staff have historically been software developers of bespoke and our own 'off-the-shelf' products for central government, military contractors, banks, major solicitors medical companies, education of all levels and in a wide-range of other industries, on a range of platforms and in a range of development environments.
Although we also have a history of developing Data Science education programs for Apprenticeships in UK Universities, today Esferico typically specialises in the development of various relational data and information management applications for companies more typical of an every day need. We do this utilising cross-platform development tools which allow us to develop applications with a single or very similar code-base but which can be deployed to all of the major desktop operations systems (Win, Mac and Linux), as well as Web Applications, cutting development costs by re-using proven business processing functionality.
As an example, Esferico's own library and asset management system 'Pergamon' was originally developed as a typical Desktop application. The Cloud / Online version of the application, named 'Mystic' was deliberately designed to mimic the desktop application in look and feel - significantly reducing or even removing the need for re-training.
Design & Development
At Esferico we use a range of design and development methodologies and strategies to best get your application off the ground, but regardless we do so in a rapid development cycle. The aim is to provide you with at the very least a visually accurate prototype as quickly as possible in order to understand the ergonomics of the user interface being developed.
In parallel to this, we also undertake the design of your database environment, providing a visual indication of it's workings for discussion prior to implementation in a database environment of your choice - our specialities are in MySQL, Oracle, MariaDB, PostgresSQL and CubeSQL1 (as well as the single user SQLite environment), but also happily deliver to any ODBC compliant database environment (e.g. MS SQLServer and MS Access).
Unlike other software development companies, Esferico undertakes 100% UK based development work. Many of our past clients see this feature as a requirement of their work, from councils and local government departments to clients who are sensitive regarding their IP or security. Regardless however, it also means that we can keep full, minute-by-minute control over the work that is being undertaken and are not dependant on even frequent development reports. We do not outsource to other countries under any internal circumstances, and have only done so in the past when our client is multi-national and the outsourcing is seen as a requirement of the work. We do however, undertake work for offshore clients if development in the UK is permitted by their own restrictions.
Esferico has extensive experience in education - not only is our primary in-house product mainly aimed at the education market, but our founder and several staff are qualified teachers and lecturers with experience in Further and Higher Education. Through our sister company, we can develop and provide CPD rated training and refresher courses in both the solution and surrounding practices through our online VLE (Virtual Learning Environment), providing your staff with ongoing revision and CPD hours for their CV.
Bespoke Development Cost
The cost of Bespoke development is always the elephant in the room.
The cost of off-the-shelf software rarely indicates the cost of bespoke development to the uninformed as it is usually aimed at high sales, or at least a large number of purchasers in a niche market which reduces the per-unit price.
There are many tales of development costs ranging in the many thousands of pounds per day that make the news, and usually for negative reasons where the companies take huge profit margins.
A truer gauge of bespoke development can often come from a realistic daily rate for committing developers to the project - this may range from £200-£500 per day, or even far more dependant upon the skills that are needed for your project and at any particular stage of the project. From here, you can multiply the daily rate by how long the project may take - this can vary greatly from project to project, additional features such as data communications, and the complexity of functional processing of data above and beyond the standard UI forms. At Esferico however, there are few differences in cost between developing for the desktop and developing for the Web.
Unless we are hosting your application and it affects traffic volume and processing costs, we do not include per-seat license costs - we are developing an application for you, not determining it's implementation.
A small database application (regardless of the number of users) involving data entry and basic analysis may cost between £1500-£4000. A more complex application involving a range of departmental functionality may cost between £3500-£10000 or even far higher if required by teams of staff with account management functionality. Do not be surprised if the complexity of your application increases sharply, adding £10k's to the development cost.
Special functionality will add additional cost, but it all depends on your needs, and anything that can be quoted here is pure generalisation.
In the end, there are two paths with Esferico in the costs of your project - fixed price, and real-time development.
In our real-time development model, we create solutions based on daily work that is undertaken to further the project towards completion. At the end of each pre-determined and documented project stage (which may be between a day and several weeks, depending upon functionality and scale), a report of work done is sent to the client. Typically, payment is made on a weekly basis (monthly if the project is of some size) and continues until the application is completed.
Real-time development is a benefit to projects where changes may be made to the requirements as the projects progress.
Fixed-price development can be undertaken when there is a well defined project requirement which will only change slightly or not at all during the course of implementation, and where the details can be priced accurately.
In a fixed-price development, Esferico ltd. will undertake development for a single pre-determined price agreed with the client. Payment is staged along the development path, but no increase in project cost will take place. Fixed-price development therefore assures the client of development costs prior to starting the project and rarely change.
It is often a good idea to stage development of a bespoke solution, delivering what you need immediately and then adding functionality that is desirable rather than essential at a later stage.
Many clients feel uneasy with this however, as they feel that once they are roped into a bespoke development the developer 'holds them over a barrel' for further work and the costs that go with it.
At Esferico, this is a situation that can not happen - as part of our development agreement, Esferico always guarantee in writing that additional work to the application will be undertaken at contemporary costs to the original development (though there may be variance only due to inflation etc. or a significant change in required development skills for the next part of the project).
1 MariaDB, PostgresSQL and CubeSQL can be provided by Esferico servers if the client also wishes us to host the application. All other database servers must either be provided by the client, or can be provided at additional cost to the original vendor.