It is hard to imagine any business without either a business facing app or a client facing app. Though aggregators have popularised apps, by bringing convenience to users on mobiles; most medium-sized businesses that involve a sizeable number of transactions or operations will find the need for an app to bring in transformative value.
For many businesses, the challenge may not really be in the technology or the functionality of apps but are typically related to the development costs. While apps have negligible OpEx; CapEx may be significant, depending on the nature of the app, the functionality, the technology stack, and the number of hours necessary for development, among others.
Simple and effective strategies can significantly reduce the app development cost. It is necessary to remember here that the reduction of development costs is never to be considered as a tradeoff.
There can be no compromise in terms of deliverables. Simple methods can help bring down app development cost considerably without compromising on functionality and features.
Here are 7 of the top strategies that can be used to slash the app development costs without impacting the features and functionality.
Use open source frameworks wherever possible – The use of freely available open source frameworks help to bring down the costs considerably. Open source translates into free to use frameworks that enable developers to use standardised APIs. Businesses that plan to roll out apps that work seamlessly regardless of the platform can rely on open source frameworks that are supported by the community. This also lends a technological edge as community support in the form of collaboration, exchange and participation help improve the frameworks at no extra cost, helping developers leverage the combined effort of the community. A host of tools, including push notifications and cloud platforms are available as third-party plugins which can be used effectively.
Leveraging features of a device only when necessary – Depending on the nature of the solution, apps may use the inbuilt features of the device. For instance, a social media app need not necessarily have access to information about the users present location. Similarly, an app that is used for online access to educational material need not have access to the GPS or accelerometer. Apps may require information from the inbuilt features of the devices only in specific functions. Businesses need to use these functions only when necessary, and this will help in cutting the costs towards building the app, remove clutter and most importantly slash costs.
MVP App – A Minimum Viable App is ideally a prototype. This comprises the designs, features and primary functionalities of the app. Businesses use MVP to understand user acceptance and functionality, following which the secondary features are incorporated. This is a powerful method used to develop apps at considerably cheaper costs, helping businesses understand the need for changes. After actual user feedback, the changes and improvisations are easy to incorporate, in terms of technicalities, time and costs. Prototyping, simulation and A/B testing are tools used in industry to complete projects at lower costs, and MVP is increasingly being accepted by businesses as a method to cut app development costs.
- Agile methodology – To set the record straight, agile methodology is incremental, it is an iterative approach that lends flexibility, permitting developers to make changes ‘as and when required’, leading to the final product. Non-agile methods rely on developing the complete product, followed by testing. This eats into the costs and the time necessary as changes will make it necessary for regression testing of changed/new features. Agile method splits the project into small manageable iterations, with features getting onboard at every stage. This involves “sprinting” through cycles of development, testing and deployment. Whenever changes are required at each stage, teams incorporate the changes without the need for major restructuring.
The right team to build the right product – Apps offer businesses a powerful option to interact with clients. The digital era mandates the need for offering solutions that are convenient, secure and user-friendly. A business that offers a simple app for placing an order or making a payment is more likely to engage customers than a company that does not offer this convenience in the digital era. Quite clearly, customers may look for better options, even if the quality of the service was good. With the right team handling the app development, a business can look forward to a high rate of converting prospects in addition to offering high levels of customer satisfaction
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