With apps having become so popular, your business may wonder if it would be worth the investment to have a custom app developed.
Based on our experience, we’ve come up with a list of ten questions to ask when considering custom app development. They are broken down into three groups:
- Questions to ask about the app
- Questions to ask about your developer preferences
- Questions you’ll want to ask app developers
Exploring these ten questions with your team will help you decide if a custom mobile app makes sense. You’ll then be in a good position for the next stage: reaching out to specific app developers.
10 Questions to Ask When Considering Custom App Development
Questions to Ask About the App
Start by discussing these questions with your team.
1. What problem do you want to solve?
Valuable apps solve business problems. Ask yourself and your team:
- What areas of your business could be streamlined with the help of a mobile app?
- Could mobile technology be used to provide a better customer experience?
The answers to these two questions will help you with the next question.
2. How will the app help the people who use it?
If the app is for business productivity, how will it simplify user work flows and make your teams more efficient and productive?
If the app is customer facing, how will it help customers communicate with you, make purchases or get the information they seek?
Answers to these questions start to reveal the true potential value of your app.
3. What is this app worth, and why?
Before investing in custom app development it’s important to have a financial business case for it. After all, custom app development is not a small investment.
So think about the ROI. Will this app allow your business to increase your revenue – and if so, what are the projected numbers over the next 10 years? Will a custom app save your company money – how much per year?
Going into the app development process with strong projected ROI will help you justify the resources you’ll spend on your custom app.
4. Will employees use their own smartphone, or one provided by the company?
When it comes to apps for internal company use, many businesses have employees load their app to their own smartphones. Some will have iPhones and others will use Android phones. That means the app will need to be developed for both platforms.
The alternative is to provide users with a smartphone or tablet dedicated for use with your app. Obviously, the expense here is in the purchase of the devices rather than in having the app developed for two platforms.
There is no right or wrong answer here, but it is an important question to consider.
Questions to Ask About Your Developer Preferences
Think ahead about some of the preferences you might have for your developer.
5. Does the developer’s location matter?
If being able to meet with your app development company in person is a priority, then choosing a local developer should be a priority.
Perhaps in-person meetings aren’t important to you, but hiring local is.
If hiring local isn’t a priority, you can expand your search to the rest of the country and the world.
6. How hands on will you want to be in the app development process?
Some companies like to be involved with their app development every step of the way, conferring with developers on a daily basis. Others would just as soon leave the developers to their work and be available when the developer has something to show them. Many companies fall somewhere in the middle.
Developers have their own preferences for how involved they would like the customer to be. Fortunately, there are developers out there for every customer preference. You just need to know what your preference is.
7. Are you looking for an order taker or a contributor?
Most businesses considering having a custom app developed are experts at what they do, and know what they don’t know. They appreciate the input of experienced app developers.
But you might be happy with a developer that gathers your requirements and builds an app to your specifications without giving much feedback.
A quick test for determining whether a developer is an order taker or a contributor is to ask them, “How would you change our vision of the app?” If you don’t get much of an answer in return, then you shouldn’t expect much of a contribution from them throughout the process.
Questions You’ll Want to Ask App Developers
Pretty much every company that has talked to us about developing an app for them has asked these questions.
8. Is this app possible?
You have an idea for an app. You want to know if it’s possible to build it.
Of course it is. Technology has evolved to the point where if you can imagine something, it can probably be developed.
The more critical question is, “Is it worth it?” An experienced developer will help you through this process.
The more critical question is, “Is it worth it?”
9. How much will the app cost?
You want to know how much your custom mobile app will cost. But, the developer will need to know a lot more before they can give you an estimate.
If you have a budget in mind you can frame your cost question like this: “With a budget in the range of $X to $Y, can you develop a custom app that will allow us to do A, B and C?”.
This doesn’t commit you to spending all of your budget, it puts parameters around your “how much will it cost” question.
10. How long will it take to develop the app?
You need to get your app to market and your stakeholders don’t want to wait any longer than they have to. Developers have their own processes, production schedules and availability, so there is no one answer.
When you ask the question, keep in mind that the developer won’t be able to give you a firm answer until the discovery process is complete. This article explores how long it takes to develop a custom app.
It’s not uncommon for businesses considering custom app development to fall into paralysis by analysis. These ten questions to ask when considering custom app development should help you through your first research stage and prepare you for weightier stages ahead.
Need help getting started with your custom app research? Contact Big Fish for a no-obligation consultation.