Building a new mobile app? While it may seem easier to have your in-house IT team develop it, it may actually be faster—and cheaper—to outsource it in the long run.
“We often have companies come back to us after 2 years and say, ‘we tried doing it ourselves, but we never got it done,’” said Jim Barnes, the CTO at Moblico. “Many IT departments are so busy and understaffed, they can only work on new projects in their spare time.”
Here are 5 reasons why you might decide to hire an outside firm to develop your mobile app.
Your IT team is busy. Very busy.
IT departments are already busy—managing the day-to-day technology of the company. So at best, this will likely be a side project with a low priority, which means your app will constantly get pushed to the back burner as emergencies come up.
Since the most important goal with an app is to be first to market, speed is critical. A good app development company should be able to deliver a working app for testing in as little as 60-90 days (depending on the complexity, and how well you know your requirements).
You need people with a mobile app development core competency.
Developing a mobile app requires a very specialized expertise that is entirely new to the industry. It also requires a solid understanding of mobile platforms, and the latest technology that works on those platforms (such as iBeacon).
However, most IT staff is initially hired for other specialties—such as hardware repair, server maintenance, or database management. If your IT department employees are only dabbling in mobile development on the sidelines, or have recently taken a class in it, you are taking a risk that your app will not be able to compete with others on the market.
You need a developer who also understands marketing.
Developing a successful mobile app is about more than just creating a pretty user interface. It’s about reaching your target audience—and setting up strategies to build long-term relationships with them. Without good marketing leadership, many apps fail after launch, due to lack of relevance to the target audience.
It can actually cost less—in the long run.
If your IT department has never built a mobile app before, they will face a long, expensive learning curve as they discover what works, and what doesn’t—simple mistakes that experienced firms have long learned to sidestep. They may also be unaware of the latest mobile technology available. It will cost you more money and time in the long run to fix these mistakes, than to hire a reasonably priced outside firm to do it right, the first time.
Your software developer can also partner with your IT department.
Remember, you have lots of options here—it doesn’t have to be just one or the other. To save money, you can also partner with an external software developer to do just the development, and then transition the final product to your internal IT team. Or your IT team can develop the list of requirements, while the development firm does the coding. Or the two organizations can work in tandem to develop the entire mobile app. You don’t have to outsource forever—and you don’t have to outsource the entire development process. There are many different combinations that work well for different companies.