In our modern, hyper-connected society, app development is not just for the big players; small and mid-sized business can — and should — start developing apps. If creating your own mobile application in-house is not within your operational scope or budget, you may want to consider outsourcing this process.
But before you dive into a contract with the first organization you find on Google, there are a number of things about app outsourcing you will need to consider.
Bernat Guitart, CEO of mobile application development firm AppFutura, explains why mobile app development is a must for any B2B business. He says, “Customers are now on mobile. It only makes sense to try to reach them there. This is expanding every day with new devices coming along … Businesses are understanding that the best way to reach their potential customers is through mobile.”
It’s not only the large-scale organizations which have realized the potential that mobile apps offer; small and medium sized businesses, too, are taking advantage of this market. A recent survey by ORM found 41 percent of respondents amongst B2B employers said apps could be used as tools to increase sales.
Not surprisingly, wide-scale successes like these have led to an increase in the outsourcing of development, an option which has a number of advantages. Guitart of AppFutura says, “Outsourcing allows you to create teams of people specialized in different areas. That way you can easily create a team of experts in each field that will sum up to a fantastic project.”
Other advantages are that it’s easier to get a developer to learn your industry than to get an industry pro to learn app development. And despite a common misconception, it’s often less expensive to have an outside, specialized company develop and maintain your app, instead of trying to keep this function in-house. “We meet a lot of users who are not aware of how expensive development may be,” notes Guitart.
How expensive is it to outsource your app? Some estimates calculate that the cost could be more than $200,000. However, considering that the same estimates calculate in-house development at almost $400,000, outsourcing is clearly the more attractive option. Depending on how complex your mobile app is, Nicholas Wright, CEO at AppInstruct, suggests that you may expect to pay an hourly rate of between $40 to $140 (depending on the location of the developer), and it may take anywhere from 70 to 170 hours to build a more basic app.
Outsourcing the development of your mobile app is not without its drawbacks. The success or failure of your project is, first and foremost, in the hands of a third-party firm. Your app depends on their expertise, timeliness and understanding of your industry. Also, you will need to be aware of issues such as rights ownership of any code written or content generated.
Additionally, there are a whole host of concerns surrounding the use of North American versus less expensive, overseas development firms, including governing laws and accountability, time differences, and culture and language gaps.
If you decide to keep your mobile app development in-house, then project management is entirely under your control, and you may be able to save on additional expenses by utilizing existing resources, most notably labour. This may, however, put additional strain on your existing resources, and you may need to hire designers, extra developers, testers, and engineers to maintain your app which, as we’ve already seen, can be costly over the long run.
Whether you decide outsourcing or in-house development is the way to go for your B2B firm, the first step is to realize that you need a mobile app. Remember: your customers carry their mobile devices everywhere. If you don’t have an app on their phone, chances are your competitors do.
Photo via Flickr user ramotionblog
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