Mobile & Business

Reasons Why Agencies Cost More to Build Your App

Simple reason: You’ll end up with a high-quality app.

Here are some details…

Your Options

Let’s look at the options you have. People looking to have an app built end up choosing between hiring a freelancer or an agency. At first glance, freelancers generally appear to be cheaper than agencies and most people end up going for this option until somewhere down the line they encounter problems such as the freelancer “ghosting” – suddenly becomes unreachable, it becomes harder and takes longer to make modifications to your app, your app keeps breaking down or certain aspects of it never work as expected, you keep putting money in but get very little value out. All these in addition to the time and effort it cost you to get the right freelancer in the first place.

Going the freelancer route involves a lot of hidden costs and you may have to start your app all over again in a lot of cases. The reason for this is mainly because unrealistic timelines (presented to impress you) force the freelancer to cut corners, sounds and appears ok at first but always, always comes back to haunt the project. It is a very bad thing to do.

Reasons Why it Pays to Invest in an Agency to Build Your App

There are clear reasons why at first glance agencies appear to cost more to build your app. You need to accept that it pays to invest your time and money into building your app right. Here are some of the reasons why you are better off with an agency.

All Skills Required to Build an App in One Place

Building an app requires a lot of specialized skills and that is why the best apps are built by teams. Someone on the team has to play the role of understanding and documenting your requirements and communicating these to the rest of the team. The team needs a software architect who will translate the requirements into evolvable system designs that will guide developers. This is a key role that is often overlooked when dealing with freelancers (and of-course not part of the freelancer’s cost). Without a carefully and skillfully designed system, apps fail to evolve and the very nature of apps is to evolve. Constantly.

Other important skills required on the team are developers who will carry out the actual building of the app. Most freelancers are lone developers with a pinch of other skills. Testers are another set of team members that are crucial to app success and often overlooked. A team responsible for building an app needs to stress-test the apps they build at the code level. The team also has to have quality checks at the requirements and design levels. In addition to the technical skills/roles described, the team also requires some people to support them so that the technical people can focus squarely on delivering their very best.

Adhering to a Software Development Standard

Keeping standards requires a lot of discipline. Agencies are “going concerns” therefore their relevance and reputation matter a lot, if not the most important thing. In other words, the survival of an agency depends on its relevance and reputation and for an agency to achieve this they need to have well-defined processes for building apps that deliver great results each time. These processes guarantee a high level of output each time, no matter who the individuals who make up the team are. Your needs and requirements go in through one end and a high-quality app, which does exactly what you want pops out the other.

Ease of Making Changes and Evolving an App

This is one issue that is hardly considered when choosing who should build an app. It is also the most painful one to deal with once your app gets built poorly.

The nature of any piece of software is to evolve. It is easy for anyone to build you the first version of an app but the true challenge is “how easy is it to change, modify, improve, evolve after the first version?”. Once you have an app built, at some point you are going to want to improve it and it’s very frustrating when making changes to your app becomes almost impossible. This is where most people regret hiring a freelancer in the first place.

The solution to this type of problem is to make sure that the app is designed for change right from the beginning. It takes quite some effort & time to ensure an app is built for change, this is why agencies insist on having a design phase for any app that gets built. At Intellectual Apps, we never skip this part due to its importance, or any other part for that matter. The reason freelancers will not bother to insist on the design phase is that they generally think short term. You need an app, they build it, it kind of works, they get paid and that’s it. Once a freelancer gets paid he/she doesn’t expect to be the same person to improve the app in the future and even if you do get a hold of them to do this you’ll notice that it takes ages for anything valuable to be produced. An agency on the other is a “going concern” and knows that they exist to create value now and in the future, so it makes a lot of sense for them and you to invest in the design of the app so it can evolve easily when it has to.

Summary

There are some exceptional freelancers out there, in the same way, there are some poor agencies. The fact though is if you need an app built, then you need to think long term and the partner you choose to build your app has to also think long term as well. You need to trade lower costs today for a good investment in your app. You are better off doing this with an agency that has the skills, processes, and experience.

The software development industry has challenges that have plagued it for years. You need to get a partner that acknowledges these challenges, actually understands them for what they are and clearly has processes in place to mitigate them.

Yes, we are an agency. At Intellectual Apps, we help our clients Imagine, Design and Create apps. Get started by telling us about your idea.

Posted by Bulama Yusuf

Getting a Mobile App Will Keep You in Business, Here’s Why

It’s obvious. Fifteen years ago the saying was that if you don’t have your business online, you’re out of business. Businesses did all they could to make sure that they had presence online by having a company website. It’s obvious that the business climate has changed and today if your business is not connecting with customers via mobile then you are out of business or somewhere close to that.

To better understand this, we’ll continue by answering the following questions:
1. Why does your business need to go mobile?
2. What does going mobile mean for your business?
3. What steps can you take to get your business mobile?

Why does your business need to go mobile?

Simple answer: we are now deep into the post-pc era. Longer answer: well, your customers expect it and studies have shown how much time people spend on their devices doing virtually everything. One of the ways businesses ensure that they remain in business is by staying fresh in the minds of their existing customers and by being visible to potential customers. So when people do everything from their mobile devices it makes sense to have your business present in this new virtual world. Another reason why your business needs to go mobile is that you will get to generate and analyse lots of data and in turn use that for more informed business decisions that will ultimately give you an edge over the competition, but most importantly let you offer customers a better experience.

If you sell a product, imagine what this will mean for your business to be able to tell on which days you get the most sales and from which demographic the sales come from, and also being able to know if there are specific things outside of your business that trigger a spike in sales of a particular item so you can prepare for such scenarios. All these are just examples and more meaningful insights can be derived for your specific line of business.

What does going mobile mean for your business?

It means positioning your business in such a way that it responds to your customer’s mobile behaviour. The way people consume information on mobile devices is slightly different from how they do it with other sources of information. People are on the go, they want things fast, they have a short attention span and need the right information at the right time. For example, if all your business has online is a website, then that website needs to render correctly and fast on mobile devices.

What steps can you take to get your business mobile?

What your business needs in order to go mobile would depend on the type of business you have and what you want to achieve with your mobile strategy. Some steps you can take are:

1. Ensuring that your current website is responsive. What responsive simply means is the ability of your website to render and display well on different screen sizes.

2. Ensure as part of your mobile strategy to build and release new features with a mobile-first approach.

3. To take things further and in solidifying the interaction between your business and your customers, you can get a mobile app built to meet your specific requirements. If you seek a deeper and richer engagement with your customers then having a mobile app built for your business is the way to go.

4. Another thing you need to consider in going mobile is that it isn’t all about building this or building that, going mobile also has a lot to do with how you disseminate information to your audience. The information you put out there will be more useful to your customers if you consider the context within which they are most likely to consume that piece of information (stay tuned for a post giving more details on this).

5. If you are really serious about this, which we believe every business owner or stakeholder should be, then you can get a competent company to help you come up with a mobile strategy and chart a way to get your business from where it is today to where you need to be. You can start by talking to us.

Posted by Bulama Yusuf