To outsource or do-it-yourself?
That is most often the question for companies when it comes to most technology oriented projects. When considering creating a custom mobile app for your business, this is an especially important question to consider.
There are multiple pros and a few cons to contracting with a service provider and there are also a number of pros and cons to taking the DIY route. So, it is important to first consider the needs business and the purposes of the application. Here are a few steps to help with this important decision.
Customize or Create
There are a few options to choose from when assessing what your mobile app should have. The most basic is the decision between customizing an existing package or starting from the ground floor with a completely original concept.
This choice will obviously depend on what your company is hoping to accomplish with its new app. If you wish to enhance social media feeds for your organization or improve communication and handling of different clients within the company, then you can probably benefit from an customizable package.
“But if your idea is more complex and unique”, writes Robert Strohmeyer for PC World, “Then you’ll probably have to go totally custom (or at least build your solution out of a variety of existing components).”
Additional factors which will need to be addressed include:
- What kind of platform do you need to work on?
- Should the app function on a cross-platform level?
- How much data will the app manage?
- Is it sensitive data which will need to be handled with care?
- What kind of time constraints surround the project?
The Budget Question
Developing a mobile app for your business will take an investment of some time and money. So the budget question comes down to how important mobile app development is for your company and what kind of product is expected at the end result.
The cost of building an app can be quite expensive whether it is attempted in-house or outsourced. The biggest benefit to hiring an expert is the level of professional quality that can be expected. Experienced development teams will already have a detailed understanding of security, bugs, creating code, delivering on time and implementing original ideas. Their experience can also add to the designing process as they can contribute ideas from similar projects. Finally, a good app contractor should be able to have a new application up and running within several weeks.
On the other hand, deciding to try DIY development will offer the chance “to build institutional knowledge about the app itself,” explains Strohmeyer. Though giving the project to in-house talent may create a steep learning curve–extra training and time costs and potential mishaps that go accompany first-time learning–this can be a good way to add new team skills that will come in handy in the future and will save on maintenance costs.
However, it is important to remember that training an employee on software development is a huge undertaking, which requires the right individual to think analytically, abstractly and in a detail focused manner. Delegating the task of app development will limit the individual’s ability to continue work on existing projects. So the developer-in-training must want to learn this new skill and be up for the challenge of gaining an entirely new technical skill set.
Depending on your company’s project, budget and expectations, your choice in how to approach app development will vary. But it is important to have considered the many aspects of DIY versus outsourcing before making a final decision.
Ted Levin is a freelance writer and editor. He enjoys writing about social media, content marketing, and storytelling.