There are generally two reasons you may consider developing a mobile app. One is for the express purpose of making money – think of games or handy tools that can generate income for you. The other is a mobile app specifically for your business, making it easier for customers to access you and your services.
Whatever your reason for needing a mobile app, there is one key question you need to ask yourself before you even start thinking about development. That question is whether you’re going to outsource the development work, or set up an in-house development and manage the project yourself.
What is the difference? Let’s explore the differences between the two, and the pros and cons of each.
What is In-House Development?
In-house app development is exactly as the name suggests. You’re hiring a team of hand-picked developers, designers, UI/UX specialists, and maybe even a project manager. The project is co-ordinated in-house, meaning you are providing the infrastructure, office space and everything else you would for a normal employee. Alternatively, if you’re an IT company, you may be choosing employees you already have, forming a team and building the app in house.
How to Develop Mobile Apps In-House
There’s a lot to consider when pulling together a team of professionals to build your mobile app, such as:
Hiring the team
Apps are a collaborative effort – it isn’t just the matter of finding a developer. Firstly, you may need multiple developers who are skilled in different native app development (for example an iOS expert and an Android expert). You’ll need designers and UI/UX specialists to ensure the app looks great and functions well. You’ll likely also want staff to look after analytics, quality assurance, market researchers and even a designated project lead.
Experienced development management
If you don’t have a lot of experience in software development yourself, you’ll need to appoint or hire someone who does. It can be a full-time job in itself to manage the project and keep things on track, so if you’ve got the skills you also need to have the time. Appointing a project manager is often essential, but obviously comes at a cost.
Find office space
If you don’t already have a large office with plenty of free space, you’ll need to rent additional space. Equipment also comes into play here, such as desks, chairs and obviously the technical gear. The cost of setting up a new office can be significant, so you will need to factor this into your budget.
Choose development methodology
While it may not sound difficult to choose and plan your processes and methodology, sticking to it is another thing entirely. Remember, you’re likely to be hiring people who have never worked together before, and this can cause a range of issues along the way if not managed effectively.
What is Outsourcing Mobile App Development?
Outsourcing mobile app development is a completely different approach, and comes with plenty of benefits. Using an outsourcing model, you are essentially hiring an already established development team to build your app for an already agreed-upon fee. We’ll touch on the pros and cons later, however many companies (particularly small-medium ones) favor outsourcing due to a lower cost, less personal time investment and the ability to choose an experienced team who already work together.
How to Outsource App Development
The process is much less time consuming than hiring an in-house development team, because you’re handing over most of the control to one company. Rather than conducting interviews for several positions, you just have to choose one development company.
Find the company
You’ll still probably want to ‘interview’ prospective outsourced mobile app development companies and ask for evidence of previous success, but it takes a lot less time than meeting with several local candidates for individual roles. You also have the benefit of picking from a global talent pool, not just the experts in your area. Here you can find what you need to know to hire great app developers.
Discuss the project
You’ll need to have clearly established terms such as price, timeline and an idea of the development process. When outsourcing, it’s important that you and the development are on the same page and know what to expect throughout the process.
You always want to know what’s happening with your mobile app development. The timeframes will differ for every company, but we recommend asking for updates every 2-4 weeks. This should all be planned and agreed upon before the project starts.
Pros and Cons
|OUTSOURCING APP DEVELOPMENT||IN-HOUSE APP DEVELOPMENT|
|Cost-efficient||No immediate access to team||Access to team||Cost|
|Hiring is simple||Security||Business knowledge||Hiring is time consuming|
|Global talent pool||Communication||Personal motivation||Training|
|Use less of your own time||Quick changes||Local talent pool only|
|Scalability||Lack of versatility|
|Development is quicker||Staff turnover|
|Experts in product launch|
How to Outsource App Development
This is one of the biggest reasons to outsource. The image below shows a snapshot of the hourly rates all over the world for outsourced development, which is clearly much lower than paying the individual hourly rates for several in-house staff. You also don’t have any of the associated costs such as office space, equipment and all the costs associated with employing a staff member (benefits, administration, training, workers compensation).
Hiring is simple
Rather than conducting interviews with several applicants for several positions, all you need to do is choose one development company. You’ll probably want to communicate with more than one development company, but most of the research you need is already available on their websites.
The entire IT industry around the world is huge. When hiring an in-house team, you’re restricted to applicants in your local area. By outsourcing, geography is no longer a factor. You can find the best people at the best prices, anywhere in the world.
By outsourcing your app development, you’re putting in the hands of professionals. You don’t spend your time interviewing staff, dealing with HR issues, or even dealing with project complications along the way. You can spend your time doing what you do best – running your business.
When hiring an in-house team, there’s often times during a project where you need more staff, and other times where you have team members who don’t have a lot to do. This isn’t efficient for anybody, but by outsourcing your project, the development company can grow or decrease the team size at their discretion.
By taking away the recruitment process and possible training needs, an outsourced mobile app is almost guaranteed to be completed quicker than one developed in-house.
Releasing a mobile app requires specific knowledge of the requirements for each platform. Reputable software develop companies will know these requirements, ensuring a smooth product launch.
Cons of Outsourcing App Development
No immediateaccess to team
When your team isn’t in the building with you, it means you don’t have immediate access tot hem if you need to ask questions or make suggestions. The best way to solve this is by establishing a point of contact at the development company.
One of the big concerns for companies outsourcing app development is the risk of their app idea being stolen. While this is unlikely to occur when using reputable development companies, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to be signed beforehand, in order to protect your ideas and information.
Whether it be due to time zones or language barriers, hiring a development team in another country can have its drawbacks from a communication point of view. While there isn’t really an easy fix for a language barrier issue, setting some clear communication expectations before the project starts is a good idea, and can avoid frustration down the track.
Pros of In-House App Development
access to team
Having a team on-site gives you immediate access if you need to communicate with your team. This can helpful for either making changes, getting updates or assigning additional tasks. You need this type of flexibility if you’re managing the project yourself.
By integrating staff members into your company, they can begin to develop a more intimate knowledge of what your business does and who your customers are.
While it isn’t really a tangible component, people who have an attachment to your business can sometimes feel more strongly about working hard for success. Whether it be working extra hours, offering new ideas, or simply going the extra mile to ensure the project runs smoothly, in-house employees can bring this little bit extra to your team.
Ability to makequick changes
With your team on-site, you can make changes more quickly than with an outsourced development company. This could be changes to the app itself in functionality and design, or even changes to work processes. When outsourcing, you’ll need to schedule a meeting and time to review any proposed changes.
Cons of In-House App Development
As discussed previously, the cost of hiring an in-house team can be considerable, particular if you’re in a country where skilled IT labor doesn’t come cheap. You’ve got employee wages, benefits and all the associated costs of setting up office space. You also need to consider staff illness, leave entitlements and other associated costs that fall on you as an employer.
Timespent on hiring
Needless to say, if you’re hiring a number of professionals to form a development team, you’ll be spending a lot of time interviewing prospective clients – this is a time investment you don’t have when outsourcing.
Restricted to localtalent pool
Unlike outsourcing where you can hire from anywhere in the world, hiring an in-house team restricts you to the local area (or people willing to relocate).
Lack of skillversatility
Being restricted to the local IT market often means a lack of versatility when it comes to skills. Even if you’re an IT company with skilled staff, it doesn’t mean they are skilled in every aspect you need them to be. This leads to additional training costs or the requirement to hire extra staff to bridge the gaps.
An unfortunate aspect of running a business is staff turnover. If you’re in the middle of an app development project and a key employee leaves, you’re back at square one and need to integrate a new member into the team and get them up to speed.
Why is Mobile App Development Outsourcing Good for Your Business?
For all the reasons mentioned above, it makes a lot of sense to outsource your app development. Not only can you choose from a huge talent pool all over the world, but you also have far more control over your budget. By hiring an outsourced development team, you’re given a quote right at the start, and you know your costs. When dealing with internal staff and projects, while you have control over them in theory, the actual costs can blow out quite easily.
If you’re a small-medium business, it’s unlikely you can afford the investment of money and time required to hire an in-house team, and this is precisely why it makes great business sense to outsource your mobile app development to a team of established professionals.
When Should You Develop Apps In-House?
There is definitely a place for developing apps in-house, however most people are turned off by the considerable time and cost. However, if you’re a larger business with an ongoing need to develop apps, it may make more sense to start building your team now and keeping them together. The longer they work together, the more synergy you will find, however for maximum return on investment you’ll need to ensure there are always tasks for your team to be working on.
If you’ve got an app idea and want to now how much it would cost to outsource the development to a trusted, reliable development agency in the Ukraine, check out Coidea’s app price calculator . This way, you can decide for yourself whether it’s cheaper to outsource or to hire your own team and manage the project yourself.
For advice, quotes or just to chat about your app ideas, contact us at Coidea agency today!