Corporate App Development: In-house Vs. Outsourcing
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More than 95% of the Fortune Global companies – 500 to be exact – have already adapted to enterprise mobile apps and are investing in developing mobile solutions. (Source)
Meanwhile, four in five Fortune 500 retailers happen to be in the Apple App Store alone. Back in 2008, when the App Store was first launched, there were less than 5,000 apps in total. (Source)
There has been a major shift since then. Back then the only shopping app available was ‘eBay’ and every Millenial and Generation X’s first social platform was ‘MySpace’ and as for corporate apps, they were far from a thing or even an ‘idea’. However, today, the business world seems to be much more inclined towards the consumer technology market which brings us towards ‘corporate app development’.
How to choose between In-house vs. Outsource development for your corporate app?
Developing a mobile app calls for a substantial amount of investment as well as time.
Many companies today are plagued by this dilemma of developing an app in-house versus outsourcing it. What to opt for? Both in-house and outsource approaches have their own pros and cons, hecne, you definitely can’t downplay one and overstate the other without weighing them both fairly before you develop your corporate app.
Let’s discuss both approaches and evaluate their pros and cons to understand which one is more convenient and meets your business requirements.
Opting for In-house Mobile App Development?
Here’s the thing, if this application that you want to develop is going to be your core business, you’ll need an internal development team sooner or later.
In-house app development means the company pools its own resources to develop the app based on its requirements and needs. A greater benefit of this approach is that the in-house developer team works under the patronage of the parent company, hence will always be available. Above all, it will understand your company and its culture better to work accordingly.
Many companies are of the opinion that this approach is both time-saving and cost-effective, hence they opt to build their mobile apps in-house, however, it is not as easy as they think.
So, if you’re opting for this approach and don’t have a team already, remember this, you’ll need to pool money and time to rally different roles involved in building a solid foundation for developing good app. You will also need to have enough resources and a strong infrastructure to support the development on your own.
In-house development doesn’t disappoint, provided the companies are extremely cautious about the below mentioned aspects:
- UI/UX and style guide
- App development environments
- Signing and certification of app
- Performance monitoring of app
Say, let’s go through the benefits and drawbacks of this approach first.
1:- No cultural boundaries or language barriers
Because this team of professionals is within your company, it probably has the same cultural and language backdrop. Moreover, there are fewer barriers and constraints, face-to-face communications so fewer misunderstandings and,consequently, a better understanding of what should be done.
2:- Deep-seated involvemen
This helps you optimize in-house engineering procedures for even the minor software needs. You can brew the modifications you need in the development process of your app to tailor the project as it isn’t an outsider team you hired.
3:- In-project prowes
One of the greatest perks is, that your own technicians and developers will learn their expertise throughout the development of app and soon become professionals. Meaning, the skill and brains don’t drain but you have the privilege of combining their skills whenever required. In addition to this, the support will be forthright and efficient, and in the end your company has enough skills to maintain the app on its own without hiring an outside agency.
Risks Involved in In-house App Development
Here’s why you must rethink whether in-house development is perhaps the right choice:
1:- You have to pay the price the size of ‘Burj Khalifa’
Yes, the cost is rather high. It usually calls for hefty funds in the early stages of development, regardless of the size of projects – small or large-scale. If the conformation of the process involved is sidelined, you’ll still be spending money even when it’s dormant.
2:- Dismissal of staff
One of the biggest risks involved in this approach is the dismissal of employees. You will invest significant resources in their adaptation, but they can always go away and this means you’ll need to reinvest in new members all over again.
3:- The lack of expertise in different areas
Another classic problem. You’ll be hiring your crew based on a specific skill individually and if your employees work full-time, you will paying them an insurance fee, premises, work equipment and holidays etc..
Or Are you Outsourcing?
A good proportion of IT-World largely believes that by outsourcing mobile app development you can cut down the time from development to market, cutback on project costs, and improve the overall quality.
For the very reason, as many as 52.5% of all the IT companies reportedly hire an agency for application and software development at least once.
In simple words it’s basically an arrangement made by a business to hire a third party app contractor instead of developing the application it in-house.
This is generally practiced or adopted by companies whose core potential is not IT or usually when their IT plate is overflowing with other core projects.
Companies or businesses that usually opt for outsourcing application development fall under the following leagues:
- Start-ups without a development team of their own lacking any experience in product management
- Mid-sized companies without the needed specialists
- Large or even mid-sized enterprises that want to cut down on development costs
Benefits to Outsourcing:
Why is it a good idea?
1:- It’s time-saving
Developers in a software house follow the company’s processes and have already completed a few projects together, so they can start working on the next project almost immediately and with ease. You are not hiring a team individually.
2:- Low-price factor
Generally companies hire talent from other countries where the price for their work is comparatively low. These outsourced employees, possessing the same quality skill set, cost lesser than the in-house counterparts.
3:- Cutting back on risk
With in-house development you’re paying the costs of employment contracts, purchasing of equipment and office renting and recruiting a team – talent specific individuals etc.
Outsourcing means the agency you hire incurs these costs. In most cases they already have a team. After the contract has been signed, all project risks are also transferred to the outsourcing company. Generally, the outsourcing company warrants a timely delivery and within the set budget too. However, if something gets off-track, the client can terminate the contract anytime and claim his money back provided these terms are clearly defined in the contract.
4:- Quality and professionalism
Here’s the thing, you will only hire an agency after you have gone through their portfolio. How does it ensure their professionalism? Well, increasing competition within the outsourcing market pretty much promotes professionalism.
Risks Involved in Outsourcing App Development:
Collaborating with external suppliers comes bearing a fair share of risks too. What are they?
1:- Extended deadlines and delays caused by time zone differences
Glory be to internet for transforming our world into a giant marketplace which as a consequence has made the outsourcing easier than ever. However, there are still impediments to take care off, for instance, you have an urgent question, but all your team is currently offline.
So the query or issues can only be solved the next day and this could have a bad influence on the project deadlines dramatically.
2:- Poor technical documentation
I can’t stretch the importance of technical documentation enough. It’s a crucial stage that determines the further course of the project development and helps avoid threats and over spending.
It basically acts a project roadmap for your outsourcing team or company technical. So make sure it is detailed and thoughtful. A poor technical documentation could affect your entire project.
3:- Lack of business analysis
Albeit, imperative to development process, a business analyst is usually never involved in the project. Also, the sooner he is involved, the better – he will help save considerable amount of time and resources during the development stages as part of his job involves foreseeing potential threats, risks involved and any conflicts between the devised functionality and interests of the client business.
4:- Not protecting your code source or idea
It doesn’t matter whether your application idea is innovative or not, it still requires and deserves confidentiality. I’m not at all suggesting or claiming that outsourcing app development companies practice it by default. It may not be the case. Some countries simply do not have the particular laws.
When you sign an NDA agreement, perhaps consider breaking up the source code into individualistic sections, limit access to the database and oversee who the confidential information is shared with.
5:- Sometimes countries or companies are behind on trend
Sometimes the teams or companies you outsource your mobile app to have outdated and obsolete methods and technology or are behind on trends. You can discern it from the design and user interface/user experience (UI/UX). So make sure you choose a team or company that understands the present day technological trends, applies the latest practices and tools and fully understands your culture.
Quite often miscommunication arises owing to difference in time zones which can have a bad impact on the overall project and its quality. However, it doesn’t mean at all that it can’t be avoided.
In a nutshell
Whatever strategy you choose to develop your corporate app depends largely on your goals, resources and of course, priorities. You have ploughed through the pros and cons to both and understood what both approaches mean. The pros and cons of both development procedures must be taken into account before reaching a conclusion. You must have noticed that the advantages offered by each approach outweigh the potential risks; most of these risks can be easily avoided.
Furthermore, it’s important you understand that the cost to both in-house development and outsource development will vary country to country, state to state. When looking to build your corporate app, consider every possibility like whether or not you’ll have a recurrent relationship with your client, the nature of your digital product as well as your own abilities including the cost and expertise.