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Calculate the procurement cost of web reporting tool
Posted by: Zhou Feng
Date: December 17, 2008 08:51AM

Generally, Web report accounts for about 10% of a software development project. In recent 2 years, it showed an increasing trend. According to my own projects, it can reach 20% at most. However, in calculations below, we still use 10% as a standard, and assume the cost of each man-month as $2,500.

Take a $100,000 software development project for example. The workload of Web report accounts for 10%, then its procurement cost is $100,000. As the cost of each man-month is $2,500, it needs 4 employees to accomplish the report. In a practical project, there are several ways to split this $100,000.

1. Integrators' previous code accumulation + Programmers' customization according to project.
In short, it is pure manual coding. Here, it is can be classified into 2 conditions:
A. Based on integrators' previous code accumulation, customize according to project directly.
B. Look for an open source reporting tool, and amend it according to requirement.
This can reduce programmers' workload and latter maintenance cost to some extent. However, your development will be limited by the open source reporting tool. Besides whether product information and APIs are all included, bugs of the open source reporting tool will drive you crazy.
These 2 ways do not involve the cost of reporting tool. Its advantage is that developers can control programs completely, and the development cost is intuitively. However, its disadvantages are as follows:
1) If the report requirement is high, programmers' workload will be very heavy.
2) Report developing is inefficient.
3) Latter maintenance cost is higher. If a client wants to modify a report, he has to ask the developer for service. Then, it will involve the problem of money.
In practice, these 2 ways are usually used in small and medium projects.

2. Web reporting tool + Programmer development.
The advantages of using a reporting tool are as follows:
1) Improve developing efficiency.
2) Save time, and shorten construction period.
3) Latter maintenance is convenient.

There are a great number of reporting tools available in the market now. Then, how to choose a reporting tool which can satisfy the project requirement and control the cost reasonably?
In my opinion, you should choose your reporting tool according to the principle below:
It should reduce the workload of report developing for at least 50%, and cut down the total development cost for about 1/3.
According to the example above, it needs 4 man-month to make the report. With a reporting tool, it only needs 2 man-month to do the job. Add the procurement cost of the reporting tool, you only need about $6,000 to accomplish the job which costs you $10,000.

You can compare several famous reporting tools, such as Quiee, RAQ report, and BIRT, etc. Then, you can make your own choice.

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Calculate the procurement cost of web reporting tool
December 17, 2008 08:51AM

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