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How much does a custom solution built on Microsoft 365 cost?

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Introduction

Of course, one of the questions we always get asked, when building a solution on the Microsoft 365 platform, is how much will this cost?

This post will aim to provide some guidance to answer that question.

So firstly, lets explain the type of solutions that are being talking about. Lets take a common use case where a customer would like to have an approval process around content some content that they create. This might be a

  • sales quote
  • product documentation
  • publication (see case study)
  • regulatory evidence

A typical solution for this use case may have a process such as the one to our right.

The solution would use several services in the Microsoft 365 stack, it will depend on the licenses that a customer has but commonly we use the following:

  • Microsoft Teams to interact with the solution.
  • SharePoint Online to host the content.
  • Power Automate to process the workflow.
  • Power Apps to capture the user’s data.
  • Power BI to report on the solution.
  • Microsoft Azure Functions to provide the glue and perform custom content processing.

So come on, how much?

So firstly, it depends! The cost is going to depend on a number of factors. These include the amount of effort, the complexity, and integration points. However, typically, a solution like this will cost at a rate off £100 per hour, around £25000 and the project will take just over 30-35 days to deliver.

The project is bigger than I thought

Often when people come to us, they have an idea of how long it is going to take to build. Our advice is to take that estimate and times it by Pi. Yes, take the time you estimated and times it by 3, ok 3.14.

The reason being that often they are just thinking in terms of development time and not all the other steps that go into delivering a successful project.

Additionally, the idea of the solution you have now is going to be very different to the final solution. New requirements will appear as you go through this process will come out of the woodwork. To be honest that is what you want, it will mean that the project will deliver better outcomes for the business and provide more value which will be great for you and the organisation.

What is involved to deliver a solution?

So most software development houses will have a similar approach but let’s talk about the project framework we use to deliver projects. More information on that approach will be coming in a blog post soon.

The approach is this:

  • Discover Phase
    • This phase kicks off the project, delves into the project requirements via requirement workshops and creates a design which is used to build the application.
  • Develop Phase
    • This phase develops the solution based on the agreed design. This includes the Dev Ops setup to be able to deliver the solution to the customer. The user interface design work, development, unit testing, integration testing and supporting admin and user guides.
  • Deliver Phase
    • This phase delivers the solution to the customer. There are steps to perform user acceptance testing (UAT), installation of UAT and Production environments, training to administration teams and training to end user champions.
  • Feedback Phase
    • This phase is where we gain feedback from the project team and understand what is working well and what needs to improve. This feedback is then taken into the discovery phase for the next iteration of the application.

Conclusion

So, we hope that this post helps you understand the true cost of delivering a solution using the Microsoft 365 platform.

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