Every business ought to take a hard look at costs and getting the most for any spend. There’s nothing wrong with crushing it on the calculator, sharpening up the spreadsheet and exploring the options.
But the classic trade-off – you can have it fast and cheap or you can have it good– holds in the world of app development.
It’s very tempting to look on development as a kind of commodity, like plumbing or electrical work. You’ve had a brilliant idea for a game-changing, paradigm-pummeling app, now all you need is to hire a pair (or two) of hands to pound out code and… voila!
Of course, that conveniently neglects the fact that an inept plumber or shoddy electrician can do more harm than good.
Treating app development as a commodity almost inevitably leads to trade-offs that, like that poorly-wired wall sconce in the dining room, may drag a business or organisation into dicey straits.
Crucial things to consider about pursing app development with an a proven development firm versus Craigslist
So let’s say a company is considering how to pursue app development and it’s a choice between calling in a capable and proven development firm or clicking that job post button on Craigslist or Odesk, before they make that choice, here’s a list of real considerations they’ll want to mull over first.
1. They’re putting their, um, app on the line.
Releasing an app into the wild means an enterprise is staking at least some part of its business and reputation on how that app is received; as more of the consumer and B2B economy moves to mobile, how well an app performs out in the rough-and-tumble real world is gaining more power to affect marketplace perceptions, customer or user loyalty, and bottom-line results.
2. Users aren’t idiots.
There’s a well-quoted adage attributed to sci-fi writer Theodore Sturgeon: 90% of everything is crap. In an era when apps are being ground out by the thousand, prospective users and key customers get very discriminating, very quickly, about the quality of the choices set in front of them. And if you burn them once, hey – good luck earning back their trust and business.
3. Great apps are more than code
They’re expressions of an inspired idea, filtered through deep understandings of usability, device functionality and dozens of other factors. With shoddy development, inattention to detail or poor testing, many of the apps we now accept as inspired and essential might have tanked thanks to a crappy initial release. Scan through the ranks of the Apple Store or Google Play and judge for yourself: in every category, you’ll find a few enviable top performers benefiting from solid design and development… and a legion of also-rans with acid-tongued reviews about what made each of them a major fail.
4. Good software engineers aren’t on Craigslist
I’ve got a cousin who codes. I’ve got a guy I met in a cyberlounge. I advertised for a dev on a jobs board. But truly proficient software engineers don’t need to be bottom-feeding (and, anyone’s personal feelings aside, that’s what many freelance boards represent), because their talents are respected and, in others’ professional calculus, they’re viewed as returning max value on the dollar.
5. Killer apps come from killer teamwork
There’s a world of difference between an egg-timer app whipped up in some Google Play aspirant’s garage and a true enterprise app that’s designed to deliver specific real-world utility to users. The latter came as a result of a disciplined process and the contributions of experts up and down the line. Guess what? If that egg-timer app hits big and launches subsequent builds and spin offs, nine times out of 10 what will that budding Bill Gates – or Ashish Toshniwal, or Dong Nguyen – do? Right: immediately staff up with development pros… probably not hired off Craigslist. Go figure.
6. What’s your total app R.O.I.?
If a business saves a few bucks by cutting corners on app development, it’ll most likely cost them a few bucks – or more than a few – in ways they may never realise until it’s too late, like unrealised sales, squandered audience engagement and bruised company reputation. The total returns a company sees from launching a well-polished app, in terms of adoption, positive buzz and customer loyalty, can far outstrip any extra cost.
Development: Not an expense but an investment
Development shouldn’t be a nickel-and-dimed expense. Treating it as such typically leads to a compromised product and questionable upside.
By viewing app development as a real investment, a company can set itself up for superior results, earning itself user kudos and bottom-line benefits for years to come.
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