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 mobile 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 mobile app development cost considerably without compromising on functionality and features.
Here are 7 of the top strategies that can be used to slash the mobile app development costs without impacting the features and functionality.
Many businesses often tend to focus on loading too many features in the app that may not be necessary. The very idea of an app is to make transactions and operations convenient. Filling the screen with too many features and options will add to the confusion and result in an experience that is far from satisfactory.
By sticking to the essentials that are necessary for successful transactions/operations, businesses will actually get save a lot of time and expenses. More time spent on the development of features translates into higher development costs. Bottom-line – cut the frills, bells and whistles. Offer the necessary functions and features.
Mobile apps developed on a single platform typically had to be re-written for compatibility with other systems. This involved more costs and time. With cross-platform app development, a single code base is all that is required to push the app across multiple platforms.
The use of freely available open source frameworks helps 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 a 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.
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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.
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. Startup MVP development 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 mobile app development costs.
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.
The 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.
Attempting to hire and use an in-house team of developers to build an app is not a very financially prudent option. Putting together a whole team to build an app involves hiring different resources, with specialist skills across the technology stack and domain expertise. This will be an expensive and time-consuming exercise. In the event that a business has a team but needs to hire resources only for the sake of completing a project, the hire will certainly not be cost effective.
Outsourcing app development brings multiple advantages. The right mix of experienced resources in a well-established team helps the company to leverage the broad skills of the team. Outsourced app development is billed by the number of hours. Effectively this means that a business only pays for the number of hours put in by the team for the development, which is one of the most cost-effective methods of executing any project.
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