Three Smart Ways to Lower Your SCADA System Costs

There are several keys to keeping your company’s SCADA system costs low.

But SCADA/HMI software systems involve a complex web of functionalities that also require hardware. Another key consideration is that SCADA technology performs vital processes for industrial control systems that require safety, quality and efficiency.

As such, the purchase of a HMI/SCADA system involves more than a cost consideration. Yet there are new, modern SCADA systems you can install at a fraction of the cost of some legacy systems that also deliver a far superior product. At the top of your list should be Nucleus Command Systems.

But every systems engineer and integrator must consider how best to balance cutting costs and delivering a professional system that will get the job done. Whether it is an application for oil and gas, water systems, utilities or general manufacturing, you can design, develop and implement SCADA systems without making unnecessary investments of your company’s precious capital.

Choose the Right SCADA Software for Your System

The SCADA software platform you choose can have an impact on your operating budget for years to come. To avoid busting your budget, here are three clever ways to cut your SCADA system costs:

Before you decide which software you will install for your automated control system, we suggest exploring new software systems. You can download a software for free and start playing with it. Don’t assume that the top few major SCADA providers offer the best fit for your system.

“Perhaps the most fundamental consideration is the size of your system,” says Ken Baker, Sr. Director of Business Solutions for Nucleus Command Systems. “Whether big or small, your system will have requirements.” For example, if your system is relatively small, then there are boutique SCADA firms offering cost-effective systems that deliver a quality product. You want to avoid spending money on a platform that is designed for larger systems with features you simply will not need.

Estimate How Many Users Your SCADA System Will Have

Be careful of SCADA systems that seemingly offer a competitive price. You must look closer into the specifics of the pricing model.

The general rule in SCADA software system pricing is that the more users, the higher the cost of the SCADA system. Determine whether the SCADA system charges per user or per license, how many licences are allowed per user, and of course the cost of each user on the system. Your costs can run up very quickly if a SCADA company is charging you more and more for every user. Costs can get out of hand very fast.

Relatedly, it is vital to know if more users is going to result in more hardware costs. Will you have to purchase workstation hardware or can it be installed on existing computers? Do your research and ensure that what seems like a fair price doesn’t quickly add up to more than you bargained for. Nucleus offers a unique Custom-Flex pricing model that is appealing to cost-conscious clients.

Compute How Much I/O Your System Will Need

Many SCADA software packages (in fact, most of the major players in the space), charge exorbitant add-on fees for increases in I/O tags.

SCADA systems assign a variable or memory location that is associated with every data point. These variables are called “tags.” As an experienced integrator has explained, “More specifically, it’s called I/O tag because that’s the only input & output channel of a SCADA.”

Be aware of enticing entry-level pricing models that end up up-charging incrementally for inputs and outputs data. Some charge for archived data, and virtual data.

SCADA platforms such as Nucleus may charge a flat rate for clients up until a reasonable number of tags. So shop around and know, at least have an estimate of, the amount of I/O tags your system will demand to operate.

We recommend discussing with your systems integration team and addressing these three key aspects of cost-saving. In today’s economy, every penny counts. So be sure to choose a SCADA system that balances your industrial operational needs with practical considerations of reasonable costs to design, develop and operate an efficient control system.

Nucleus Command Systems offers a groundbreaking SCADA software solution that includes a range of unique features and custom services. Learn more by contacting Ken Baker at

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