If you are a business looking for a company to help with your iPhone or Android development, you will find that there are limited choices. This is because the demand for mobile platform development is extremely high and the number of businesses that offer quality mobile development is relatively small. Because of the high demand for this service, a large number of offshore development shops have cropped up. Formerly offering web development, they have shifted their offering to iOS and Android development. This is how the free market works, when there is a large demand for a service, the supply increases. What happens is that these offshore businesses move their developers into mobile app development. But it is often the case that these developers have very little real experience developing native mobile apps. A business looking for a mobile developer must understand what is happening in the marketplace and how that can affect the outcome of their development project. 

A business looking for a mobile developer is really looking for help that will produce the outcome of what it means to their clients to have an Android or iOS app. This means that their clients or customers will be better served by having mobile app options to purchase or access their services. To accomplish this, the quality of the mobile app must be high and the time to market must be fast. The total amount that a business pays for mobile app development must include the following calculations: money, time, energy, and lost opportunity.  

Money is the easy part to clearly understand. It is the dollar amount that a business must pay to have a mobile app designed, developed and delivered. Many businesses that need apps only consider price. But selecting a developer based on price alone is what more often than not produces huge problems. When the decision maker only considers price, offshore mobile developers usually win the bidding competition. Yet the businesses that select on price alone rarely achieve the outcomes they desire.

Time is the amount of time that must be spent working with a mobile app developer to realize the desired outcome for the business. Businesspeople who do not consider their time in the cost equation often find themselves spending much more time than intended working with offshore developers. Not only is communication  problematic, the difference in timezones produces the situation where the businessperson must rearrange their schedule to work with the developers. Most offshore development shops have sales staff in the US, but provide very little local support for their clients. This is one way that they keep their price low,  by placing the burden of managing the development project on the client.  

Energy is the amount of effort that a businessperson puts into managing their mobile app developer. The scheduling difficulties and communication differences that arise when using offshore developers causes breakdowns. Fixing those breakdowns takes enormous amounts of energy. Getting up at 4:00 in the morning to communicate with developers burns energy.

Lost Opportunity is what you trade any time you engage your time, energy and money on a project to produce an outcome for your business. What is important to keep in mind is that the lost opportunity is temporary. Many times what happens with offshore development is that some type of fatal breakdown occurs in communication, scheduling, or development. This pushes the timeline for the project to become extended far beyond the original deadline. Often at this point the work that has been completed is of such poor quality that the project becomes a failure. The business has wasted opportunity.

Besides money, a careful consideration of time, energy and lost opportunity will set your business up for a successful mobile app development project. Then you can ask yourself what are you really willing to pay and if offshore development is really an option.

Software Ops specializes in iPhone and Android development as well as “rescuing” development projects that don’t perform up to expectation. And you don’t need to get up at 4:00 am to talk to them.

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