Calculating ROI for Mobile Application Development

Calculating ROI for Mobile Application Development

Enterprises can at times use scores of different applications within the context of their business. You can have salespeople, agents, customer service representatives, sales managers, etc…

Identifying what applications or sections should be mobilized can be quite a chore. You have to consider not only your internal clients but your external as well. Though, it doesn’t have to be so difficult. Once you’ve identified which section(s) of your applications are prime for mobilization via a simple analysis, it can provide your organization with maximized ROI.

Double Work Eliminated

For example, a government agency tasked to monitor certain requirements for grocery goods utilize pen and paper for personnel to note certain specifications at a physical location. They then go back to their office desks and input all this information manually, an unnecessary chore and a waste of valuable time, especially with the state of technology available.

This time can be extensively reduced by capturing the data and transferring it to the server instantly.  Mobile Spectrum provides terrific examples of our applications that capture data on forms and submit it to the server on demand.

Capturing and Consumption of Data

We have two different issues regarding the handling of data. One is that of capturing data, the other is to prepare data so that it is fit to be consumed. Let’s take a sales rep visiting with a client. If the rep needs to show something to their client and are not fitted with mobile technology, they will need to pull out binders with product descriptions and sometimes another with photos of the product(s). If they are more advanced they might have a laptop with an excel spreadsheet with many sheets and columns and rows with a plethora of data.

All this is a waste of time, both to the customer and consumer. What’s more, in today’s world where every second counts, this may hurt the ability for the salesperson to make the sale and will give more time for the customer to start thinking that they need more time to think about completing the purchase.

Mobilizing → Increased productivity

The time that it would take for both parties to share and consume information can be greatly curtailed by mobilizing these tasks. The rep may be able to visit more clients per day and customers will become enraptured with the way the product information is communicated and will be more likely to purchase.

Based on this specific scenario, organizations need to assess the Time X Cost that it takes them to perform certain business-related functions without the use of mobile. Then they can make decisions with regard to what sections of their sales application they see fit for mobilizing and will gain them the highest ROI.

Say for example, a salesperson on average visits 7-10 customers per day, and spends an average of one hour with them. Without mobile, just the setup time takes them 20 minutes and an additional 40 or so minutes to find what they need to present to the customer. This hour can be cut to half an hour or even less by mobilizing a rep’s sales activities and even going further, you can mobilize elements of your application that a customer can use to browse product pages and choose the items and quantities they want, hence minimizing the rep’s time at the customer. Thus, making it a win-win for all parties.

For more information, download our whitepaper: DEVELOPING MOBILE APPLICATIONS

Good UX Design Enhances the Mobile User Experience

Good UX Design Enhances the Mobile User Experience

“Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” Joe Sparano – Graphic Designer

While 2013 was the year that mobile took off, 2014 will be the year that mobile seeps its way into the consciousness of all. App publishers the world over will seek new ways to enhance the mobile user experience in ways that will empower users to connect and engage with the masses.

As many until recently have utilized the desktop and laptop to get things done on the web for the past two decades, Mobile UX design will take center stage as designers will seek to turn Smartphone users into loyal app users. One of the challenges that exist is to dispel the notion many have, that, just because it’s a small screen, everyday tasks should not be considered a hassle.

Brands will continue to strive to make the mobile user experience so smooth, users will consider their mobile devices as a first screen, rather than their second. By building apps and incorporating solid Mobile UX design they can achieve this.

Below are just a few mobile UX design trends that will all but guarantee an amazing user experience in 2014 and beyond.

  • Flat Design – This concept has broken through into the mainstream with Apple’s use for its just released iOS7. The core of this philosophy is to communicate icons and any images in a simplified fashion, leaving anything else by the wayside. No styling, shadows are used. It is all about functionality.
  • Pull Down to Refresh – Apple, as the innovator the company has been for so many years, was the first to use this gesture. While almost all successful apps utilize this gesture in some shape or form, they all do in their own way. It is a design concept that increases engagement with devices.
  • Targeted Gestures – Shaking, tilting, pinching, swiping. These are all gestures that are used in some of the top apps. The thing with incorporating gestures into your mobile UX design is knowing your audience. It is best to see what gestures are used by the top apps serving your target market and design accordingly.

The most important part about Mobile UX Design is to keep it consistent!

Should you create mobile apps for multiple platforms?

Should you create mobile apps for multiple platforms?

Mobile app platformsWouldn’t it be nice if you could write some code (HTML5, Python, Ruby, etc.), send it off to application stratosphere, and have your app work magically across all platforms? That’d be great. Unfortunately, however, that’s not how the mobile world goes round. And the question I posed in the title, should you create mobile apps for multiple platforms, is less relevant than how it can be done.

One of the greatest obstacles for developing mobile apps is simply the amount of smartphones on the market; Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, etc. – all with different platforms and different app requirements. While the iPhone app store may be the most robust, Android is not far behind. Not to mention what happens when you throw tablets into the mix. When I first got by iPad, I downloaded my iPhone games only to find that I was looking at an iPhone sized screen on an iPad…less than ideal!

There are a couple different approaches that are currently accepted while the little elves work on their “magic-all-device-inclusive-app-creator” (I’m guessing the elves live in Silicon Valley and are working with HTML5).

  1. Provide a “driver” for each phone that provides access to scripting languages like JavaScript, Ruby and Python. This allows the developer to write a app script once in the desired language (along with HTML and CSS) and run it on all phones that have the “driver”.
  2. Write the app in one language and have it “translated” to the languages supported by other mobile devices. A tool would then take care of translating the app while the developer would cross his fingers that not too many bugs will arise in the process.

The Pros and Cons

There are pros and cons to both options that I listed above. The main advantages are obviously speed to market and easier app maintenance. In addition, you can ensure a uniform look and feel across devices, support for a flexible layout and use of known technologies.

The main disadvantage, besides not yet supporting all platforms, is that you are restricted by what the driver or translator can handle. There is an added issue of performance (as I hinted above in point 2) that the code will likely not be optimized for every phone it’s translated to harming the users experience.

So to answer my question, should you create mobile apps for multiple platforms? Absolutely. How? That’s up to you, at least as long as our little HTML5 elves are still cooped up in their workshop.

How to Successfully Outsource Mobile App Development

How to Successfully Outsource Mobile App Development

Outsourcing mobile app developmentIn my previous blog, I talked about the pros and cons of in-house app development vs outsourcing. So, say you’ve opted to outsource. You like that it’s cheaper and doesn’t require you to give up your best developers for the job. Now, the only question is how to outsource the development successfully so that you get what you want at a price that fits.

So without further ado, here are the 3 tips I can offer to guarantee successful outsourcing of your mobile app.

  • Selecting the right mobile app developer

Likely, your decision to outsource development stemmed from a need to reduce costs. Just remember, you get what you pay for! That’s not to say you have to go with the most expensive bid, but you should also be wary of the cheapest bid. To help figure out how much you should be budgeting for this task, try this simple equation.

(Selling price  X  Expected number of downloads)  +  download revenues  =  break even dev cost

Choose a developer that can do a quality job at the right price.

  • Provide clear specifications

You lose some control by outsourcing so it’s crucial to be as precise as possible. The developer will do exactly what is asked so make sure you fully understand the scope of the project you’re outsourcing. Simply put, make sure the developer can answer the following questions:

  1. What is your app supposed to do?
  2. What is your app supposed to look like?
  3. Who are the target audience?

The clearer your specifications, the less likely you’ll be to spend extra money on reiterations.

  • Don’t forget the NDA

Sign a non-disclosure agreement with your developer to ensure your app remains confidential and secure. All developers working on your project should sign on the dotted line.

Have you outsourced mobile app development? What has your experience been? Let us know in the comment section below!

How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Mobile App?

How Much Does it Cost to Develop a Mobile App?

app costI love this question. It’s somewhat akin to walking into a realtor’s office and asking, ‘how much does it cost to buy a house?’ or visiting a car dealership and inquiring about the cost of a car. Where do you want to buy a house? How many bedrooms? Do you want the luxury SUV or a little sports car? There are some approximate guidelines but the answer to this question is not as clean cut as the question requests. There are just too many variables.

To learn more about mobilizing enterprise applications download our whitepaper here

According to a guest blog on TechCrunch by former CEO of AppVee and AndroidApps, Alex Ahlund, a survey of 96 mobile app developers found that the average cost to develop an app was $6,453.  Another article reports that developing a “small app” can cost $3000 – $8000. More complex apps can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000!

I’m guessing that you are clearing your throat right now to swallow the thought of such an expense. It is a lot of money but let’s break it down. The average app developer in the US charges around $100 an hour. The more complex the app, the more time required to create it which means a higher bill at the end of the day. When you’re developer shopping, you should have a good idea of what you want to create. This may seem like a given but I’ll spell it out just in case. If you want your app to stand apart from the other 500,000 in the app store, you’ll have to consider:

  • Integration with a back-end database
  • Development on multiple platforms (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry)
  • Design and animation
  • Versions (free, paid, something in between)

Do you have an app idea and want to know how much it will cost? Contact the Astegic team to find out what is involved in bringing your idea to life.

To learn more about mobilizing enterprise applications download our whitepaper here

Mobile Applications: The Future of Enterprise

Mobile Applications: The Future of EnterpriseMobile Applications: The Future of Enterprise

enterprise-mobilityDid you know that one in every five phones sold is a smartphone? Sales of smartphones, tablets, and e-readers are rising all the time and have actually passed that of laptops, notebooks, and desktop computers. The world has gone mobile and enterprises are following suit.

It has been reported that 60 billion mobile apps were downloaded in 2012 and this number is expected to increase exponentially with the ever-growing popularity of smartphones and tablets. That being said, decision makers are seeing that these apps can increase productivity, reduce paperwork, and increase revenues in ways that a desktop computer simply can’t. Long story short, it’s time for the enterprise to go mobile!

According to this infographic, companies are adopting and consuming mobile technologies more and more each year. A survey by GigaOm Pro reported that 30% of businesses are using phones more than in the previous year. 43% of business report plans to incorporate more mobile technologies in the future. Let’s take a look at some statistics.

  • Half the devices on corporate networks will be mobile devices by 2015
  • 34% of workers use smartphones for work at least weekly
  • The North American market for mobile office applications is expected to surge to $6.85B in 2015, up from $1.76B in 2010.
  • 60% of employees in the US said data services are more important than voice plans when deploying cellular phones for business use.

reasons_for_using_mobile_appsThat’s all well and good but the bottom line for business is what really matters. Why should an enterprise introduce mobile apps? Businesses that choose to incorporate mobile apps into their operations aim to accomplish several goals but most importantly are productivity and revenue.

Paul Hamerman, in this article from computer weekly, explains perfectly how business apps can enrich business processes in the enterprise. He says:

“With mobile technology drawing so much attention today, the question facing business process professionals is less about where we are today with mobile business applications but rather where we are going. In addition to extending enterprise applications to mobile devices, applications will evolve to encompass end-to-end business processes (for example, procure to pay, talent management and sales to delivery) and a broad range of business users.”

5 Tips for Developing a Mobile App

5 Tips for Developing a Mobile App5 Tips for Developing a Mobile App

Mobile AppsMobile devices are everywhere. As I look around the room right now I see 2 iPads, an iPhone, a Microsoft HTC and a Samsung…and that’s just for 2 people! We’re addicted to our mobile devices and the apps on every device have, for many, become a primary means of consuming information, playing games, and increasing productivity.

While these apps are very popular, from a developer’s standpoint, there are some inherent problems. Not all devices are created the same and there are some basic guidelines you should follow in order to create mobile apps that work! In this article, we’ve highlighted the 5 points you need to keep in mind when developing a mobile app.

1. Solve a problem

Functionality matters. Whether your app saves time or money, entertains or informs, make sure you are offering something that benefits the user. Perhaps even more important, however, is that you need to create something that hasn’t been seen before.

2. Don’t go feature crazy

It’s easy to get caught up in the momentum of ideas but that’s not always the best for your app. Focus on one thing but do it best. Your app should solve one clear problem. Too many features can just muddle the end product and confuse the potential user.

3. Market, Market, Market!

Just because you get a slot in the coveted app store does not mean you will be immediately overwhelmed with downloads. If you want people to discover your app, you will have to invest in promotion to get the word out.

4. Push Notifications

Notifications aren’t always appropriate but when they are, you should certainly take advantage. Push notifications remind the user of your app and bring them back again and again.

5. Don’t force the mobile version

When a user tries to visit your website on a mobile device, don’t force them into a mobile version. Give users the option to view either version but don’t limit yourself to just one. Screens are getting bigger everyday so a limited mobile version is no longer as necessary as it used to be.

Why should you listen to us? Astegic is the leading provider of custom mobile application development, and consulting services. We have mastered this domain and have extensive experience in developing custom mobile applications for Android, iOS, Windows and Blackberry. Our team brings together deep product design experience, technology expertise and a passion for building world-class mobile apps. That’s why you should listen to us!