Everyone’s talking about mobile apps. But how do you go about building one? Here’s the Helmes guide for top managers who don’t happen to be tech experts.
Mobile apps are all the rage in business.
Because in most cases, the benefit is happy customers. Versus a web browser, a mobile app is often faster and simpler for the customer. And for the business, it enables push notifications – a way to reach out to customers that a web browser just can’t offer. Push notifications can be based on customer’s behavior or location and offer real-time benefits.
Now that you’ve decided you need one, how do you go about getting it without feeling like you’ve given up control of your company? This blog post is a short guide for business managers who don’t happen to deal with tech on a daily basis.
Identify the professionals
There are lots of companies who’ll tell you they can build you an app, and most can, quite frankly. But they’re not all equal. Choose the right one, and your app will not only be ready faster, but it will generate more revenue for you with fewer fixes required.
There are developers out there who’ll give you exactly what you order, not necessarily what you need or want. They won’t challenge you, and won’t learn any more about your business than the bare minimum. They execute, invoice, and move on.
Professionals, on the other hand, have the confidence to challenge your ideas. One example: Our team created an app for ordering and payment for restaurants in Norway. Our client wanted multiple payment methods in the app, but we suggested going with just one.
Because only one would enable us to get the app ready two weeks faster, and 90 percent of diners used only one method of payment, anyway. Of course, we added the others later, but we helped our client get its app in the restaurants – and start earning revenue – a heck of a lot faster.
Another sign of pros is experience. For our restaurant client, we were able to reduce Amazon’s cloud-based hosting fees by 30 to 50 percent. Since we’d previously worked with apps that stored a lot of data in the cloud, we knew how to optimize resources, sending only the needed data at the right times.
The pros have a process
In a professional kick-off meeting, you should see the entire team of people who’ll build your app. Start to worry if only the business development guy shows up. We always bring at least three: a designer, an analyst, and a project lead. And we’ll insist you bring more than a manager, too. Without having all of your relevant stakeholders present for us to pick their brains, we can’t really understand your business requirements.
Once we understand your business needs, we get right to work. We show you sketches, make adjustments, re-sketch — wash, rinse, repeat as many times as is necessary. To control budget and scope, we’ll use agile methods to minimize advanced planning, work in two-week iterations, with a decisions needed by you after each iteration.
We’ll try to reduce your costs with a universal tech stack, and often we recommend a programming language called React Native, which allows us to build one system that can be deployed twice (for Android and iOS).
Depending on how tech-savvy you are as a CEO, you’ll probably know that MVP does not stand for Most Valuable Player. It’s our job to release the Minimum Viable Product as soon as possible, but not so soon that it will frustrate your customers or damage your reputation.
But once the MVP is released, over-the-air updates will allow us to update your app in seconds without the time-consuming approval processes by Apple and Google. All MVPs have weaknesses. The important thing is to make sure you can fix them fast.
Here are the questions (and answers) CEOs most often ask us about the MVP:
- How fast can I get my MVP? (The usual is three to four months, but we’ve done some as fast as one or two.)
- How many times do I have to meet with you? (Weekly for the fastest result. Every two weeks in the regular time frame.)
- How much do mobile apps cost? (They start at around 30,000 euros.)
- What are monthly maintenance costs? (It varies between 300-2,000 euros per month on average.)
- How do I integrate with payment providers or social media platforms? (We handle that for you. See above example.)
In times of Covid
In pandemic times, an app can make or break you. This year, a shopping mall in Norway turned to us for help. Covid restrictions had shut them down, and to preserve as much business as possible they needed an app which could enable delivery from their stores.
Mall customers could register, connect, and whenever they used a hashtag on Instagram or elsewhere, a relevant product offering from the mall appeared as an advertisement.
How are we different?
It’s our teams. Our teams make us better than the competition. Helmes teams have longer histories working together, which means they’re faster and more efficient. Our teams know that time learning your business translates to a better product for you at a lower total cost.
READ ALSO: Tailored team models
Thanks for reading. Get in touch if we can tell you more. If you have a mobile app development plan, let us know. We have several experienced teams that might be able to speed up the process.