How to Outsource Mobile App Development in 2021
The greatest lesson the last year taught us business-wise was the difference between a whim and a necessity. We’ve all witnessed companies shifting their strategies to those more compatible with the needs of clients locked up at their homes. One of the most vibrant examples of a whim-turning necessity is the need for developing your business’s app. The thing that many companies considered to be a redundant bluff has nowadays proved itself as the main string of connections between companies and your customers.
With the need for digitizing your business looming brightly on the horizon, the question is, how do you get your app developed swiftly, cost-efficiently, and perfectly? Basically, there are three paths for you to follow. You can hire a freelance developer, use a ready-made open-source solution, or you can outsource your app development. Without further ado, let’s come to terms on this: hiring an outsource development team is the best card to pull out of this deck of options. In today’s article, we’ll explain to you why outsourcing app development is the path to choose and walk along easily overcoming all the bumps and barriers on your way.
To Outsource Or Not To Outsource? That Is the Question!
Outsourcing your app development is not the only method to consider when seeking cost-efficiency and smoothness in the process. You can hire a freelancer, or you can use an open-source solution. One way or another, you will most likely get what you want. Yet, the ultimate dilemma is whether you’re building an app for yourself or your end-users? Sure enough, the latter is the correct variant.
Open-source solutions are deprived of an extensive customization toolkit, while freelancers’ expertise is not that comprehensive as you might need. If you opt for any of those models, get ready to face some difficulties that might eventually hinder the process and dock the final product’s (if you’ll get lucky to get one) quality down. Hence, let’s take a closer look at each of the options presented. Spoiler alert: finding a reliable, long-term outsourcing tech partner is by far the best shot you have.
Hiring a Freelancer
Hiring a freelancer is a great idea when you have a short-term, relatively small task that does not impact the work of the entire development team. If you think of hiring a freelancer to embark upon end-to-end mobile app development, you should probably forget about it. First of all, developing an app takes more than one technology (the stack might be indecently expansive) and a whole bunch of hard and soft skills. Meanwhile, freelancers are quite often narrowly specialized, meaning they won’t be able to perform decently. If you think that hiring an army of narrowly-specialized freelancers will save you, just think of the communication runaround you’ll have to set yourself on to make the project work.
What is more, you might find it hard to believe but developing software is all about discipline. Freelance developers do not work with project managers, which often leads to missed deadlines, bugged software, and an extremely bitter communication experience. You might wait for days and weeks for your email to be answered. Yet, this is probably the slightest of discrepancies to experience when entirely outsourcing your app’s development to a freelancer.
Sure enough, many brilliant specialists work as freelancers, and they can cope with peculiar tasks freely and efficiently. Nonetheless, outsourcing an entire app’s development to a freelancer might be more than he or she can chew, and it is your business that would eventually choke with a piece of unworkable software that you have paid for heavily.
There are way more issues than perks to experience when opting for an open-source solution for your app development. Yes, it might be cheap, fast, and easy, but let’s ruminate upon this perspective in the long run. First of all, open-source solutions are hardly customizable. While customization of your end-user’s experience is exactly what you long for, open-source platforms will let you change the way your app looks, but surely not the way it works.
Moving on, you should expect no support or maintenance provided. Bear in mind that every app requires annual code refactoring, as per the App Store and Google Play policies. This is merely the one reason why you need someone to support your app, and there is no one better for this job than the folks who built it. Basically, you can use open-source solutions if you don’t plan to scale your business, make it grow, and meet the clientele’s requirements.
Let’s start talking about outsourcing by acknowledging the fact that it has become a major trend not only in software development but in general. In accordance with SmallBizGenius, nearly 80% of today’s businesses consider outsourcing a lifesaving straw when it comes to ensuring cost-efficiency, product & service quality, and improved managerial routine. Talking about outsourced app development, one can easily claim that the benefits are numerous. So, let’s have a closer look at how outsourced app development can complement your business.
App Outsourcing: Business & Tech Value Offered
Did you know that more than 300,000 positions worldwide are being outsourced annually, making sure that the outsourcing market is gradually reaching the point of $100 billion? App development is not an exception to this rule. The Full Scale Portal claims that “the demand and usage of applications will continue to grow and is projected to generate $190 billion in revenue.” Simultaneously, the portal’s tech experts explain that the US market is currently experiencing an immense scarcity of tech talent required to fill in nearly 1.4 million vacancies. Thus, the unrealized due to the domestic tech talent shortage product can be worth as much as $160 billion in revenue by the end of 2021.
The latest research on the topic tends to develop some impressive stats regarding the companies’ desire to stick with app outsourcing. From a cumulative perspective, there are eight pivotal reasons why outsource app development can gratify your business with some unprecedented benefits:
- Cost Reduction. Research conducted by Deloitte shows that 59% of businesses use outsourcing in order to cut down on their operational expenses. For example, outsourcing is cheaper than in-house production already at the hiring stage. The average cost of hiring a new in-house employee in the US mounts to the average of $4,000, as per Glassdoor.
- Expertise Enhancement. One of the primary reasons companies want to outsource app development is that they lack the expertise required, while hiring an in-house specialist is also not an option. Software development outsourcing opens the doors to the worldwide talent pool where you can find literally every single specialist you need.
- Hiring Velocity. If your project’s deadlines are going against the clock, outsourcing is your way. In accordance with Glassdoor, an ordinary business hiring process (including all the stages from application to a job offer) takes an average of 24 business days. This is more than a month and a half of actually idly standing by. Meanwhile, outsourcing can see your project started as soon as one week, as software vendors often have dedicated teams in place ready to start when you are.
- Scaling Flexibility. Even though you might have a business plan, let’s face it, you never know what can happen. For example, your product might strike it rich, meaning that having the ability to deliver it to a larger number of customers with immediate effect would be crucial. An outsourced team means a flexible team that can be scaled in any way you need to meet your project’s business requirements within a matter of days.
- Core Business Focus & Reduced Risk. Outsourcing your app’s development gives you more time and resources to focus on your core business instead of dealing with the risks you would have otherwise had to mitigate. Product quality, security, support, etc., all become the responsibility of the vendor.
- Ubiquitous Control. When you opt for an outsourced software vendor, you choose a team with a manager who guides the process. You won’t have to bother with the managerial aspect of the project. You are welcome to sit back and enjoy the updates on the project’s progress via constant video calls. You gain complete control of the stage your project is at.
- Support. Developing an app is only half the battle. As soon as the app is deployed to the App Store and Google Play, you’ll be responsible for supporting it. For example, both Google and Apple update their coding policies annually. Thus, if you want your app to keep running, you would need a reliable long-term partner, which an outsourced software vendor is.
- Security. If you’re into the healthcare industry, developing a telemedicine app might be a fervent need for you. Still, the cybersecurity requirements for telemedicine apps are special. For example, your app must be HIPAA-compliant; it is pretty unlikely that a freelancer would be capable of doing it. By the way, HIPAA-compliance is also a long-term mission, as it requires, for example, regular penetration tests.
It seems crystal clear that outsourced app development features so many benefits that none of the other app development avenues has. Hence, given that we’ve found out the app development method that suits your business best, let’s proceed to learn how to choose a vendor that would tick off every requirement on your list.
How to Opt for a Decent Outsourced Vendor
Now that we’ve established that outsourcing is by far the best option for mobile app development let’s run through the steps to take if you want to find a vendor that would meet all of your requirements.
- Define Your App
You have to understand that when you hire a development team, this is not a party of fortune tellers that you get to work with. Of course, they will apply a bit of their magic to create your platform, but in order to know which spells and potions to use, you have to tell them what you expect to get in the end. Copious stories of failure all have one thing in common – the lack of precise requirements for the product. So, take a piece of paper and write down every single feature you want your app to have. Thus, the developer will get a broader image of what you need, and you will get a product that serves your business just fine.
Moreover, bear in mind that a reliable outsourcing vendor will always help you conduct additional research and analysis of your app, simultaneously assisting you in shaping your future product. Always opt for a vendor that wants to know more; if you’ve expressed your requirements and the vendors’ representatives have no follow-up questions, cease the call. For example, the vendor shall help you define whether you need a native or cross-platform app by analyzing the market and defining your target audience’s preferred platform.
- Set the Budget Right
It seems obvious, right? Calculate how much money you have to spend on your project. This will become the starting point for your venture, as you’ll learn the framework and the scale of your product. This way, you’ll be able to find a vendor that is ready to develop your app for a fixed price or on a time & material basis. An experienced tech partner will always provide you with a preliminary estimate of how much time and resources they are going to need to develop the app that you want. If their terms fall within your deadline and budget, then you have the green light to begin the project.
Please don’t get too surprised when the price they name will be much lower than what you could have expected. Not all outsource tech companies want to rip you off. As a matter of fact, it is quite possible that ordering from a freelancer would be more expensive than from a professional tech team guided by an experienced project manager.
- Check the Platforms
Now, when you know what you want your product to be and how much money you have to bring it to life, start selecting the vendor. A proper starting point would be to research the online marketplaces, where software vendors’ customers leave unbiased feedback on the quality of services received. For example, Clutch is one of the most popular platforms cherished by thousands of companies from all around the world. So, if you want to find a trustworthy vendor, start researching online where clients tell the truth, only truth, and nothing but the truth.
- Choose the Direction
There are many options when it comes to choosing the right IT outsourcing market. We all know about India, China, and other “tech states” where so many beautiful products and platforms have already been created. Nonetheless, there have been new developments in the IT outsourcing market, as Ukraine is exponentially becoming the world’s most trusted tech partner. There are four pivotal reasons why Ukrainian developers might have everything it takes to fulfill your vision.
First of all, there is an immense talent pool, as the Ukrainian educational system provides +50,000 tech specialists annually. Secondly, the Ukrainian IT market is an established partner to the world’s most prominent businesses, including Google, Tesla, Microsoft, etc. Thirdly, the prices are moderate and reasonable. There’s no wonder why so many start-ups fueled only by ideas and enthusiasm turn to the Ukrainian developers; they know that the Ukrainian developers will find a path to their product’s monetization. Finally, Ukraine’s geographical location – right in the very heart of Eastern Europe – ensures efficient communication, as you won’t experience too much time zone difference.
- Look for Agile
The Agile methodology has already proved itself necessary and efficient in several industries, as per Harvard Business Review. Agile means agile and nothing more, as it stands for fast and fruitful development and design process, characterized by its flexibility and stepwise development. Software vendors that stick with Agile follow a thoroughly planned sprint-based development process, ensuring absolutely no chaos and fuss around. Open communication between the providers, customers, and developers lies at the core of the Agile methodology, so you should, probably, opt for Agile.
- POC & MVP Are a Must!
Yes, developing your app’s MVP (minimum viable product) might also cost you some money, but it is always a win-win situation. A successful MVP means that your app is nothing but an embodiment of a great idea, and now you have a solid basis for further development. Meanwhile, if your MVP turns out to be a failure, you’ll know what to improve, and you’ll save a lot of money. Imagine finding out that the project is not operative after finishing the entire development cycle. Sounds horrible, right? Therefore, always start your app development with getting a clickable prototype that will show you what is good in your app and what needs working.
- Sole Sourcing Matters
You don’t want a couple of companies working on the various aspects of your app. The aforementioned research by Deloitte claims that 48% of clients prefer working with a dedicated team from one vendor that covers each and every aspect of their app development, starting from R&D and ending with support and maintenance. Cooking a boiling pot of developers, designers, QA engineers, project managers, etc., from various vendors is not the best idea, as it will bring a lot of discordance into your project. Meanwhile, 89% of the surveyed clients claim that sticking with one vendor helped them increase efficiency while cutting the time and cost required for successful implementation and ongoing support of the project.
- Check the Portfolio
Roam the chosen vendors’ websites and check their portfolios. There’s nothing much to dwell upon here. Just check their cases and find out whether they do have experience of accomplishing projects like yours. Related experience matters a lot, and it would be a great advantage for your business to have folks “who know their tricks” working around your code.
- Mind the UI/UX
Ensuring smooth user navigation through your app is a must. Make sure to check the vendor’s design portfolio and discuss your vision of the app with their designer. For example, sticking with an inclusive design would be a great idea, as it ensures the easiness of using your app for every single cohort of your customers. Your app must be comprehensive in terms of its design, as mobile platforms are no longer designated to be an abridged version of the web app.
Mobile apps must provide users with the full scale of services while on the go, and they should do it even quicker than your website. The obsolete UX myths that “minimalism is everything you need,” “aesthetic is not crucial,” etc., are all a hoax. Make sure to choose a vendor that builds wireframes based on tested, reported, and fixed user stories, as designers don’t always tend to think like users. Nonetheless, a great mobile app is nothing but an app that users’ focus groups thoroughly criticized before its deployment to the market.
- Talk to Them
When you’re done with choosing the vendor(s), start talking to them. Get on the calls with their representatives and hear what they’ve got to offer. The rule of thumb here is to not fall for the lowest price. Get the chosen vendors to come up with RFPs and compare the values offered to your business by every software vendor.
App Outsourcing Map
Here comes a bit of visual aid for you. This is an app outsourcing map, which you can use when choosing the best app development path for your business.
When you hire a development team, you get more than just a bunch of people working for you. You get a group of troubleshooters, as this is a mix of tech, business, and managerial expertise that comes together to ensure the outcome you’ve been expecting. It seems like this is what the very essence of hiring an outsourced software vendor boils down to – you get a chance to focus on your business while the software you need is being developed and managed by professionals.
Everything that’s left in it for you is to get the updates on the progress and enjoy your smoothly-running software. Get in touch, so we can define your project’s requirements and come up with the best mobile app for your business. Set your competitive advantage in the making today!