Nothing has impacted lifestyle and business more than handheld devices in the last decade. With the advent of smart phones, the whole world seems just an “app” away! Be it hailing a taxi, ordering food, booking a table at some restaurant, booking cinema, train or flight tickets, booking hotel rooms a million miles away- everything and anything is just an “app” away. Hence, it is not surprising that businesses, especially the new age ones, are in a mad rush to create apps for their businesses. You might be wondering whether to join the rush yourself. Well, you can. But you must first gauge whether your business genuinely needs an app.
Firstly look at the nature of your business and what role an app will play in it. Is it an ecommerce site? Then you probably need an app. But do you manufacture heavy machinery? Or are you in construction? Then you possibly don’t need one. Apps should not be a solution to a problem which does not even exist. Building one purely because everyone else is doing is doing it cannot be reason enough. All the time, money and resources spent on developing the app will be completely wasted if the app actually serves no purpose.
For many businesses, a good, mobile friendly website does the trick. Especially businesses, for whom an online presence primarily serves as a showcase- of products or services. For such businesses an app is pretty useless. Many such businesses also depend on their websites to generate traffic and attract potential customers through SEO driven campaigns. In such scenarios, an app serves little purpose. However, if say, you are a news portal, then an app can very well be the difference between success and failure.
Apps have been designed to keep the consumer engaged. In fact, on an average, a person will probably spend more time on apps than on traditional websites. That is due to an app’s mobile friendliness. Consumers are most likely to be tuned in to an app while they are themselves mobile, for eg while commuting daily to work and back. Apps help keep them engaged and makes the commute a tad more bearable. If your target to keep your consumers engaged for longer periods of time, app is the way to go.
Now that you have made up your mind that your business does need an app, the next stage is building it. For this you will have to hire mobile app developers. Now this is easier said than done. For one, you will have to be mindful of the costs, since app development doesn’t exactly come cheap. Secondly, you will need to identify the right talent who can provide a seamless UI and UX while incorporating all the features that you want on the app. Now hiring a developer or a team of developers in-house is mostly out of the question, since you might not have the requisite technical knowledge to hire someone anyways. Further, most top professionals might either be unavailable or frightfully expensive.
A better way to do it will be to outsource your app development requirements and engage an agency, preferably someone who also cater to app store optimization services, since developing and launching the app is just half the battle. Keeping it relevant and in view of consumers is the other. There are several agencies which cater to app development and post development optimization. A cursory search on Google will throw up a dozen possibilities. However, it is important that you do proper research on the agencies before committing. Of the things you need to be mindful of, the following three, in my opinion, are the most critical, while selecting a third party vendor for app development.
1. Control over the project, which might be a challenge while outsourcing work to a third party vendor
2. Protection of intellectual property
Engaging the services of a dedicated remote developer, through a reputed agency is another way to go about it. And this way has certain advantages over traditional outsourcing to agencies or 3rd party vendors.
Control- For one, a dedicated structure allows for greater control of the project, since the resource will report directly to you and you will be able to keep tabs on his/her progress.
Protection of intellectual property- Ideas make the world go. Often, venture capitalists are not investing in a useful product, they are investing in the idea behind it. Hence, protection of your IP and safeguarding your data gains precedence over everything else. While outsourcing, you will be sharing extremely sensitive data and information with the vendor. It is absolutely critical that you chose a vendor who can safeguard your IP and has a robust data protection system within its organizational framework. At Virtual Employee, we have Non-Disclosure agreements with all our employees. These are necessary safeguards, and any organization which fails to follow these processes should not be trusted.
Cost- Offshore options are any day cheaper than domestic outsourcing options. Once can look to save anywhere between 50-75% on their costs. Some firms promise even cheaper rates, but it’s prudent to do a thorough background check and not be greedy. If something is too good to be true, it generally isn’t.
Most offshore agencies through which you will hire a dedicated mobile app developer will also be able to provide you app store optimization services. Try and get a combined deal since that comes out to be cheaper and better.
With handheld devices becoming predominant, apps are going to dominate the commercial landscape for the foreseeable future. While many businesses currently might not need an app, there probably will come a day, and soon, when an app is your primary and often only digital presence, even for functions like customer service and sales quotations. So, it might be prudent to move your business towards that ever nearing reality sooner than later, and do sooner than later.