Grow Your Business with Custom Software Built for You

For 28 years we've partnered with clients to grow, transform, and launch businesses with custom web, mobile, and desktop software systems

Mighty Ant Lifting a Leaf Outperform Your Size Caption Graphic
Outperform Your Size Caption Graphic

Need new software for your space probe? Want to double the work your team does with software automation? Need help launching a consumer startup — like one of the top online dating sites? We've done all that.

Our chief systems architect is a national award winning Caltech computer science grad. Our development lead is a startup veteran who designed Walt Disney Feature Animation's digital animation pipeline. Our design lead has over a decade of experience working in digital media with top consumer brands.

A few folks we've helped:

Mighty Ant DataWorks client logos showing Nasa, eHarmony, Disney, American Heart Association, and others Mighty Ant DataWorks client logos showing Nasa, eHarmony, Disney, American Heart Association, and others Mighty Ant DataWorks client logos showing Nasa, eHarmony, Disney, American Heart Association, and others

Since 1989 Mighty Ant DataWorks has been using elite teams to create exceptional software to get more done, make money instead of wasting it, and help businesses grow. We work with organizations both big and small, everything from small family businesses to the university down the road.

What can we build with you?

Small/Medium Size Business Software Solutions Logo

Small/Medium Size Business Solutions

Replace your increasingly broken system you’ve outgrown with one that automates work, makes money, and lets you grow.

Some clients double what their team can do.

Enterprise Work Group Icon

Enterprise Work Group Solutions

Make your department work like it actually should. Automate reports, eliminate duplicate work, reduce errors, and give management real visibility of what’s going on – all while integrating with other groups and enterprise data systems.

Launch a Startup Icon

Launch a Startup

Work with top technologists to design a product users love. Create a bedrock strong foundation for future work. Get to market in 90 days.

Work with a team that’s launched before.

Advanced Web Development icon

Advanced Web Development

Automate your custom workflow on web. From registration or application systems, to custom ticket sales, to media catalogs, or web portals of all sorts — if your needs go beyond a cookie-cutter WordPress site, we’ve got you covered.

Custom Database Development

Have you outgrown Excel? Is your key business data stored in a tottering tower of post-its? Does your current database leap up and assault staff with its user interface? Get a new database to automate your work, connect to other systems, and help you grow.

ECommerce Websites

Set up an online store, take web donations for your non-profit, develop a custom ticket sales system, add membership subscriptions and renewals for your service, automatically tie into Amazon fulfillment, never forgetting SEO.

FileMaker Development

We’ve been creating custom database solutions with FileMaker Pro for 24 years. Our Caltech computer science grad founder loves FileMaker and considers it one of our secret weapons. We also connect FileMaker to the web, take it mobile, and support it long term.

Ongoing Support & Maintenance

With enterprise level service contracts of multiple tiers, hosting, maintenance, and ongoing support plans in various flavors — your investment is protected. We’re here for the long haul. The longest we’ve served a single customer is 27 years (we’ve been in business for 28.)

Client Story

For years we searched for the right team for us to help us increase productivity, but just couldn’t find the right match. When we met the Mighty Ant team, we knew immediately they were perfect for us.

Mighty Ant is brilliant! They went to great lengths to understand our business, and are relentless in overcoming hurdles or glitches. They don’t have tunnel vision about a job, but look at our whole company and how changes impact our whole organization. Glenn Smith and his team have been very crucial in our automation, improving our productivity and managing our growth. We can achieve a 100% increase in our productivity because of them.

It’s fun to work with Mighty Ant. We could not have done it without them!

Image of Mercy Steenwyk
LinkedIn icon for Mercy Steenwyk
Mercy Steenwyk
President and CEO
ForensisGroup, Inc.
Pasadena, California

How much are you paying your team to waste their time?

Calculating return on investment for startup work and some ecommerce applications (setting up an SEO optimized online store, for example) can be complex, but for most business software and workflow automation the economics of custom software are simple. If you hire excellent staff, pay them well, and they do a great job for a year, you get a year of great output, and then the next year you have to pay again to get the same. With custom software systems you hire outstanding developers for a few months (generally at a higher rate than you pay your staff), and then when the project is done, the work isn’t just done for one year, it’s done permanently.

We’ve helped clients invest $200,000 to save $2,000,000 in costs. And then after the first two million dollars in savings, they save the money again.

Automated work might be things you used to pay staff to do, such as weeks to prepare reports that turn into simply pressing a button, or automatically attaching incoming emails and attachments to associated digital case files. Or it might be new things you couldn’t do without the system like using machine vision to find part defects, or automatically ingesting thousands of legal bills to match them to license agreements to have software find millions in reimbursements owed but not yet recovered.

Pay for top employees, and you get output as long as you continue to pay them. Pay for the best software automation, then you pay once and get the best performance indefinitely. We’ve helped clients invest $200,000 to save $2,000,000 in costs. And then after the first two million dollars in savings, they save the money again — without having to pay again.

Client Work: CaliBurger
CaliBurger mobile app

CaliBurger is a global, Southern California style burger and fries restaurant in 13 countries (and counting). It describes itself as a tech company that sells great cheeseburgers. The company not only employs technology throughout operations (big in-store multimedia displays, interactive gaming, and now robotic food preparation in development) but also spins out technologies to new venture backed entities.

What we built for CaliBurger

Mobile Ordering

iOS and Android apps, digital loyalty program, advanced reservations, delivery features

CaliBurger mobile app

Mobile Ordering

iOS and Android apps, digital loyalty program, advanced reservations, delivery features

CaliBurger website screenshots

Global Website

Mobile first, multilingual, scalable, content management system features, web ordering, tied into CaliBurger’s interactive gaming offerings

Order Management

Tablet based mobile order queue management for in-store staff

CaliBurger mobile order queue

Order Management

Tablet based mobile order queue management for in-store staff

When should you build custom software?

Thomas Edison quote

"There’s a way to do it better — find it."

- Thomas Edison

For most organizations the answer is the same: when it’s the least expensive option. So if you have a non-custom option that gets your work done just as well, buy it — it’ll be a lot cheaper. Need to securely share documents of all types between team members? Don’t have us build a web portal, just sign up for Dropbox or Box. Need a way to easily sign electronic documents? Sign up for Docusign.

Want an automated system to assemble thousands of custom contracts, send them to Docusign for signature, then automatically download the signed documents into your system with custom notifications and workflow rules to radically save time? Now you’re talking about something Mighty Ant might do. Custom software is expensive. It only makes sense when it’s better than the alternative, which is usually paying staff. That’s why one of the first questions we ask potential clients is "What non-custom alternatives have you looked at?" If they’ve missed options we know about we point them out. Customer success, repeat business, and referrals are how we build our business, so we always direct people toward the best option we know of, whether or not that’s us.

Client Story

We wrestled with the idea of attempting to develop a solution in-house, but ended up just not having the time, resources or expertise. When we did proceed with Mighty Ant, we got a product delivered on time, on budget, and which had mobile capabilities that weren’t even in the project specification that let us use the system not just in the office but also out in the field.

Mighty Ant was able to understand the big picture of our business model and what we were attempting to do in our industry, giving us a solution that met our current needs, but also had the flexibility to grow and expand with us as we moved forward executing our business model. Mighty Ant excels at simplifying and combining complex data bases and making it usable for our employees with custom reporting.

We liked that Mighty Ant wasn’t locked into one or two technologies, but had a large toolbox to choose from to bring the project to fruition. Mighty Ant was platform and technology agnostic which allows our employees to use whatever computer or device they choose.

Bill Rice
Founding Partner

How much does custom software development cost?

Depends on what it does, who built it, and how well. The better the system is built, the cheaper it is to maintain, and the less expensive it is to extend. But the base cost comes from a combination of the skill of those building it and what it does. We provide a ballpark cost range for projects during a customer’s first free consultation call. We also provide guidance on typical projects for different sorts of work (mobile app development, workgroup automation, ecommerce / SEO site setup, etc.) on this site where each type of work is discussed.

Once we know the cost, we compare it to the benefits received to calculate if the project is worth doing, how long its pay off period is, and how much it adds to the bottom line going forward. We look for return on investment of 10x or greater in most cases, and prefer a payoff period of under two years in general -- though always the shorter the better -- but industry-wide, return on investment, cost, and what a client get varies quite widely.

For example, building the Obamacare exchange and marketplace (a project Mighty Ant DataWorks had no part in) took about 3 years, was done by 40+ subcontractors, and was coordinated by the government’s own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This large and complex system built to sign up Americans for health care coverage cost over a billion dollars and on its nationwide launch day, was able to sign up... six people (with some errors in their applications.) So the cost was over a billion dollars, nearly 3 years of time, and the benefit was a non-working site that could barely sign up six people.

The government clearly overpaid.

This is not a good screen to show to your customers:

Obamacare website 'the system is too busy' screen picture

The project was an incredible digital meltdown. Fortunately, President Obama knew some guys. He called up folks at Google and Facebook and others from Silicon Valley, got them to volunteer to work like crazy around the clock (in quite inferior working conditions — Google’s free cafeteria food beats what they make IT folks pay for in the capital) and in a couple of months these digital heroes saved the online exchanges and actually built something that worked. And then some of them went on to found organizations like the U.S. Digital Service (great group.) These developers clearly undercharged.

When the Healthcare.gov site crashed and burned at launch, and then in the months after as it was made right, more than one client told us it was a shame we hadn’t been involved in developing the system to avoid all the trouble. We told clients there were people like us involved in the effort — the government just called them second.

Why you should hire really really good developers

“A great lathe operator commands several times the wage of an average lathe operator, but a great writer of software code is worth 10,000 times the price of an average software writer.”

Bill Gates quote Bill Gates
Founder of Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In 28 years Mighty Ant has never failed to deliver what we promised, yet, industry-wide, companies spend billions a year on projects that completely fail more than 50% of the time. That’s a staggering statistic. Half of cars don’t die before they are driven off the lot. Half of bridges don’t fall down while people are driving over them. So why do some teams nearly always succeed, while in general half of software projects fail? It’s a great question we answer elsewhere. But more important to focus on than why projects fail is the single most important factor in project success: developer quality. Developer quality is the biggest single factor influencing a project’s cost, quality, performance, and success.

Hire two bricklayers to build a brick wall, both with many years of experience, but one the best in the world, and one just average — and studies show you might see a factor of two difference in their productivity. Hire two software developers to do the same task, and decades of research shows you will often see a factor of ten or more difference in their work. Our firm has shown such a 10x advantage over competitors. Our tools, pre-built technology, and best in class developers let us do for 30k what others need $300,000 to do, and let us create for 200k for what from others would cost millions.

Read More About the Mighty Ant 10x Advantage

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The Mighty Ant 10x Advantage

Developer quality is the biggest determinant of software project success, greatly exceeding the contribution of all other factors. Developers differ in capabilities by more than a factor of ten. At Mighty Ant DataWorks, we’ve observed such a 10x advantage.

Read More
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"We have a dream of launching a tech product but are feeling totally priced out by professional firms. Any advice?"

Mighty Ant founder Glenn Smith answers an actual email from a friend about developing software who doesn’t have the money to hire Mighty Ant!

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Mighty Ant’s New Purdue Research Park Office Makes the News

Various local news outfits, as well as the Purdue Technology Center itself have taken note of Mighty Ant’s new office in the Purdue Research Park. One advantage our new Mighty Ant East office has over our Caltech adjacent office in Pasadena: Geese!

See the Geese!

Contact us today to explore what’s possible.

Mighty Ant DataWorks has decades of experience in walking clients through the software development process. We work with small businesses, the enterprise, for profit business, and non-profits alike. From initial assessment, to system specification, software construction, system testing, user training, system deployment, maintenance, long term support, and system additions, we have you covered — and can provide references of others we’ve worked with for more than 20 years.

Do you see an opportunity to let technology help you work in a smarter way in your work place? Do you wonder what is feasible and what it might cost? We love to provide answers, and an initial assessment is free. Drop us an email, or call us today at (800) 216-8182.

Let’s Talk