Business apps 101 – Your need-to-know guide (part two)

Business apps 101 – Your need-to-know guide (part two)

Here’s your simple guide to understanding the benefits of mobile apps, what you should be paying, who you should be paying it to and how to find a good developer suited to your business’ needs.

Part one of this guide appeared a couple of weeks ago. This is part two of the guide.

Be wary of going offshore for app development

As more businesses try to save money on app development, more cases emerge of the pitfalls of offshore outsourcing. It is always best to work with app development companies that are located close enough for you to be able to check their credentials – and meet with them in person.

For instance, The Financial Review posted a story in August 2012 about a company that paid an app developer in the United States $US8000 to create an app within 45 days. After six months of development the app still did not meet their low expectations, so they decided to cancel their app with the offshore developer and do what they could have done from the start – use an Australian development company. By the way, I’m not sure that the app developer was ever really in the US…

Building rapport and a strong relationship with your developer is useful too. It is essential that they ‘get’ what you are trying to achieve, and are not just focused on designing a beautiful app which will win them awards. Conveying concepts and concerns is often difficult when you are only communicating with your developer through email, especially if English is not their first language.

An ongoing relationship with your developer also allows for support and easy updates or changes at a later date. If your relationship ends with your developer once the app is deployed to the iTunes App Store and/or Google Play, you will be left to figure out for yourself what to do when something needs to be updated. This can cause all sorts of (costly) headaches down the track.

How can you find the best local development team?

To help narrow down which app developer is right for your business, consider asking them the following questions:

1. What do you charge and exactly what do I get for that price?

Although the cost of the app is an obvious question, you may only be getting an app for iPhone for that price. Ask what it would cost to create an app suitable for all platforms – iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android Mobile, Android Tablet and Mobile Web – so that you can reach everyone. Also ask if you will be getting a ‘native mobile app’, considered superior to other types

2. Can you show me some apps you have built for businesses like mine?

Developers may have a great vision for your app or may have developed other great apps in the past. What you want is for them to demonstrate other apps that they have previously created in the same industry as your business, so that you know they can deliver on their promises

3. Do you outsource any of your app development work or have internal developers?

Remember that outsourcing increases the chance of delays and can result in a product that is not a good fit for your business

4. How will you help me promote my app to my customers?

There is no point having an app made for your business if people don’t know about it and are not downloading it. Consider the value of a development team that can assist with letting people know about your app and all the benefits it offers them.

5. Are there hidden costs or fees that I could be charged not included in the quoted price?

If there are ongoing charges, for how long am I committed to paying them, and what am I getting?

6. What ongoing technical support do you offer?

You need to know what support your staff will receive in the launch and ongoing operation of your app and what the cost of this support is.

7. What value-adds such as analytics, alerts and extensive list of features do I get?

So there’s your basic introduction to the business app minefield. Your due diligence at the outset will go a long way to ensuring you receive a quality, cost-efficient app that will become a vital part of your strategic marketing plan.

Dennis Benjamin is the CEO of AppsWiz.

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