Some companies are prepared to pay the earth for a great, stylish mobile app, others just want something that does the job for their customer. Whatever the need there are three main solutions on the market to meet any budget and technical requirement.
Companies need apps, and they usually want them now, such is the demand from internal users, customers and other partners who engage with the business or work with it. From a shopping store app to integrated sales tools or booking/order taking service, there are many ways to get the job done. Achieving the best results depends on clearly expressing the business requirements and your users’ needs and, the main factor, budget.
Horrible apps are everywhere. We recently saw a restaurant app in action where the server’s keypad part of the app was a one-inch square in the middle of a six-inch touchscreen. She tapped away with the corner of a fingernail to press the right numbers in a slow and horrible-for-all customer experience.
Whoever ordered, designed and built the app needed just five seconds to see this was a terrible solution. And, it was one that could be solved by either a custom app developer or an app builder tool with a little thought, producing a far better result, but through two very different processes.
Build Your App With an In-House Team
For companies with the requirement, space, budget and time, you can hire your own in-house developers. These will be experts in mobile app development using the latest tools to develop for iOS and Android.
If you need multiple apps with custom features, they are the people to provide the fastest, best-performing apps that specifically meets the need of your business. They will also be the expensive option as full-time app developers are an expensive breed. Junior app developers salaries start at around $35,000 and rise to $100,000 for experts, plus you’ll need designers and art workers for highly creative apps.
Along with new staff come the language they speak and the operating environment they are used to. Progressive businesses might be used to the casual nature of many developers, but they may clash with traditional parts of the company.
Pros and Cons of Your Own App Team
- Always available and focused on your apps
- Aware of the business and its needs
An expensive solution that may also be an easy cull if the business needs to make cutbacks.
Custom App Development
If you can’t afford your own team, outsourcing to app developers offers a more affordable solution.
The benefits of bespoke development are that your business gets exactly the features it requires, with the speed and performance befitting a custom product. However, everything needs to be in place for the developer to go away and build the app just as you’d envisioned.
That means describing how all the features work, demonstrating how all the screens should look, providing links to all your company databases or cloud services, and that’s just the visible aspects. How much extra security your app needs may be another question, and the developers will have plenty more services, technologies or features to offer, like augmented reality.
If you want custom features on your new car, It will cost you, quite a bit. The same goes with custom app development. Any app builder can throw together some stock routine parts from other apps and tie them into your business data flows and stores stick a branded front end on it and hit publish. But, actual new custom-features dedicated to your business require effort, which costs money.
Depending on how interactive your developer is, you might get various work-in-progress builds to test out for quality, compatibility and usability. Some developers may just deliver a finished app along with the bill. All of which relies on their skills to interpret your requests and deliver a product fit for purpose.
Some developers may provide app placement and optimization, others will leave this up to the business or charge extra for the service.
Pros and Cons of an App Developer
- Get the features you asked for
- Saves your company time
- Risk of feature creep
- May not understand your brand or business
- Costs can rise
- Delays in changes to app can impact the business
Using An App Builder
An app building tool or services allows your business, effectively anyone in the company, to build your app based out of commonly used components, features and services. Many app builder tools are no- or low-code efforts, allowing users to create apps using drag-and-drop. This can reduce the amount of time it takes to build an app, by as much as 75%, and save hugely on budget.
All your business needs is a clear guide of what the app can do, create it from the component parts available in tools like information, forms and ordering pages, galleries for imagery, coupons and more. The look of the app can be tailored to match your businesses’ style while back-end services can include dashboards, tech support and more.
Most services help automatically publish the app with store optimization. Most app builders let you create the project for free to see how the app will work, and provide a subscription price to keep the app running, from under a $65 to $350 per month, depending on the features or level of product. Some services charge $5,000 a month for enterprise-class features, but there are plenty of providers so shop around.
Pros and Cons of an App Builder
- Use only the features you need
- Always available to update or add features
- May not be able to provide every feature you want
- Reliant on that provider for the app
With millions of apps out there in the world, there’s a vibrant community to help new or growing businesses develop their app. Pick your budget, pick your features and boost your business efforts quickly via an app that meets the needs of the company. Most businesses do not require a custom app and can get the majority of features they need within a mobile app builder. For more information on mobile monetization see our other post and how to make money with a mobile app.