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14 Things You Need to Know (and DO) Before You Ask a Vendor to Build Your Mobile App

14 Things You Need to Know (and DO) Before You Ask a Vendor to Build Your Mobile App

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Published by PointAbout
Building native software for an operating system is different than building software for the web. Most companies have been building on web technologies for the last 15 years, and it’s been at least that long since developers had to build native software for an operating system like the iOS or Android phones. The discipline for each is very different.
Building native software for an operating system is different than building software for the web. Most companies have been building on web technologies for the last 15 years, and it’s been at least that long since developers had to build native software for an operating system like the iOS or Android phones. The discipline for each is very different.

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Published by: PointAbout on Aug 16, 2010
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08/29/2011

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Contact PointAbout at 202.391.0347, info@pointabout.comor visit www.pointabout.com for more information.
14 THINGS
YOU NEED TO KNOW (and do) BEFORE YOU ASK AVENDOR TO BUILD YOUR COMPANY A MOBILE APP
1
First and oremost... Do you have enough time?
Building software is an intricate process. To build a stable product you cannot cut corners by:
•
Hiring junior developers
•
Not paying for project management
•
Cutting out QA cycles
•
Adding more warm bodies to the projectIf you don’t have enough time to produce a great product don’t waste your money producingan unstable or inferior one. Change your plan.
2
Mobile development will be diferent than what you’ve been doingor the last 15 years.
Building native software for an operating system is different than building software for theweb. Most companies have been building on web technologies for the last 15 years, andit’s been at least that long since developers had to build native software for an operatingsystem like the iOS or Android phones. The discipline for each is very different. On top of allthis, the lack of established libraries forces developers to re-code things that have been doneon the web for years. Limited physical resources like CPU and RAM mean that code hasto be extremely efficient, whereas on the web you practically have unlimited resources andscalability.
 
Contact PointAbout at 202.391.0347, info@pointabout.comor visit www.pointabout.com for more information.
3
The initial project will be an investment o more than $25,000 iyou plan on getting a stable, well designed application.
Building a mobile application for just one platform (i.e. iPhone, Android, Windows Phone,Blackberry, or Nokia) cost tens of thousands of dollars. Writing that application so that itworks on multiple operating systems basically requires development to start from scratch.Developers for the iPhone and iPad have to know Objective C, Android developers must knowJava, and Windows Phone developers need to know Silverlight. Deep knowledge in theseapplication development languages is in demand. Onshore, these developers can earn up toa six figure salary. These rates go above and beyond $150 per hour with company overheadcosts included.To break this down, at $150 per hour a $25,000 project is essentially a little over one month’sworth of development effort. If a project breaks down like the below, then this is really onlya little over 2 weeks of actual development (i.e. writing code). Given that these projects areabout building products, you might ask how long it took Microsoft to create Microsoft Word.The answer is hundreds, if not thousands, of man-years. Mobile application builds are notnearly as complicated as building MS Word. They still go through similar processes however,and require great attention to detail.
Application QuoteHours
1Systems Requirement Specification16.72Development100.03Advertising & Analytics16.74Quality Assurance (Testing)16.75Project Management16.7
Total166.8
Keep in mind that this is just version 1 if you are successful. You will need to be prepared tofund version 2, 3, 4 etc.You can reduce the cost by going offshore but it is essential that you first gain a thoroughunderstanding of the issues with offshore development (OSD). Here is a link to familiarizeyourself with OSD:
•
http://advice.cio.com/michael_kavis/offshore_blunders_who_is_to_blame The net is that before you offshore you should determine your probability of success if youhave not managed an offshore project previously.
 
4
Pinch yoursel. Are you sufering rom too much app hype?
The iPhone’s success is mesmerizing. It seems like every day you read about another developerwho parlayed a silly iPhone application into a cool million overnight. Phones running AndroidOS were activated at a clip of 160,000 a day in June 2010. The first Windows Phone 7 is slatedto launch this fall.You see your competitors developing applications left and right. Your bosses are pepperingyou with emails asking, “Where’s our iPhone app?” and “How quickly can we develop an appfor the iPad?”.The hype is making companies pull the trigger before sitting down to think about what theywant to accomplish with their apps. Are your goals:
•
New customer revenue?
•
New revenue from existing customers?
•
Increased productivity?
•
Customer satisfaction?
•
Market research?
•
Branding?
5
I you know your business requirements, how are you planning onmeasuring success?
If your goal is new customer revenue, how much revenue? Will the revenue come fromsubscriptions? From application sales in iTunes? From in-app purchasing of content? Or isthe revenue from advertising?
•
If the revenue is from in-app-purchasing, how do you feel about Apple taking 30% offthe top?
•
If the revenue is from advertising, are you going to use advertising networks such as AppleiAd or Millennial Media? What kind of ads do you want to run? Banner? Interstitial? Orare you going to sell branded sponsorships?
•
If the revenue will come from application sales, can you realistically expect to get a returnof more than the $25,000 to $50,000 it costs to create an app? By Apple’s own metrics,each paid application returns, on average, less than $3,000 a year. Even with an astounding$1,000,000,000 paid out to developers over the course of 2 years, there are 187,000paid applications in the iTunes store. That averages out to $5,347 an app over 2 years, or$2,673 an app per year.

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