Why Developing Good Apps Is Not Cheap

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Why is app development so expensive?

I get this question a lot, and it often comes from a shell-shocked CEO or CIO who discovers his five-figure-budget project ends up being six or even seven figures. That’s crazy. Why is app development so expensive?

The easiest explanation is that apps are cheap; it’s the engineering and design talent that’s expensive. If you look in the App Store, you’ll see over a million different apps. These were all built by independent developers, yet the bulk of these apps will never earn a penny.

A different set of apps serves as the foundations of million- and billion-dollar businesses. Solo developers typically don’t build these apps; instead they’re built by teams of developers and designers. These teams range in size from nimble three-person teams to large enterprise organizations that employ hundreds of engineers.

Seriously: hundreds of engineers. Facebook, Google, Twitter, FitBit and many other tech giants have teams numbering over 100 people, often all working on a single mobile app. Teams this large aren’t typical, but it is important to understand that there is a lot of work that goes into making products that on the surface, may seem simple.

You might be thinking, “OK, but my project doesn’t need hundreds of engineers.” It’s true that most projects don’t need hundreds of engineers, but most products do need at least a small team of experienced engineers, designers and product people to produce an end product that is competitive and that will generate true business results. It’s common to have between three and 10 people working on a single platform (iOS/Android) app.

The typical timeline for an initial project is often four to six months. Much like building a ship, you’ll end up doing architecture, schematics, design, building and launching.

Doing The Math

At this point, the math is pretty simple. Labor costs are the No. 1 driver of the cost of your final product. Look up the salaries of top developers and designers in your region, and you’ll likely uncover an annual range of anywhere from $60,000 to $150,000 for most of the roles. Multiply your average salary by team size to determine your annualized product design and development costs.

Your annualized costs are often a good reflection of the true costs of building a product. Even if the initial version of the product takes three months and not six months, it’s common for product teams to continue to improve the product and further drive revenue and key metrics for the core business.

Driving core metrics of the business is the reason why the companies have the larger product and engineering teams. An improvement of one-tenth of 1 percent is still a million dollars in the upside. Larger businesses are simultaneously driving multiple new product feature initiatives that each aim to impact business’s bottom line.

Deciding Whether To Build Or Buy

At this point, you have an annualized expected cost, and you may be thinking, “Should I try to hire the people and build this myself or look for a services team?” Great question. This often comes down to a question of timing and core competencies. For companies that consider themselves to be technically savvy, it may make sense to try to build the technology in-house. The biggest challenge we’ve seen with an in-house strategy is hiring and staffing the appropriate level of engineers and designers to the effort.

For companies that aren’t technically savvy, there’s a second challenge, and that’s retaining talent once you’ve found it. Non-tech companies often experience high turnover when it comes to tech initiatives. This is often due to the fact that the culture and speed of a non-technology company may inhibit tech organizations from getting things done quickly.

Looking For The Best Of Both Worlds?

If you want to have your cake and eat it too, there are always options. Based on what I’ve seen, many teams can be successful by using an external team to do the heavy lifting, and a lower cost in-house team to keep the product running year-over-year. In general, you’re trading cost for speed to market. You don’t want to trade on quality of the product.

At the end of the day, I’ve found that it’s about the moving the needle for your business, and finding a team that can deliver is the most important part of growing your business for the mobile generation.

[“Source-inc42”]

Microsoft’s new education push plays to its strengths, the cheap and familiar

 

Microsoft never mentioned Chromebook by name, but it’s clear that Google’s browser-based hardware offering was at the front of everyone’s mind at today’s education event in New York City. The company has managed to control much of the market internally, but the Chromebook has swiftly eroded marketshare here in the States.

Microsoft’s solution is playing into the company’s strengths of low cost hardware running familiar software. That’s precisely what Windows 10 S is all about. Unlike recentl education plays from the company that centered around the Surface, Microsoft has returned to its roots, focusing on what made it a hit during the rise of netbooks: the low barrier of entry.

The company’s focus on Surface in education was a rejection of that appeal. Microsoft clearly learned from the rise of the iPad in education that the best solution was a premium one, hoping the highest end experience would be a lasting one that students would take with them as they graduated and entered the real world.

That focus allowed Google to sneak in. Much maligned at launch, Chromebooks have ultimately proven a hit in education due in no small part to their extremely low barrier of entry, coupled with software features focused at the IT departments that make many of the purchasing decisions for schools and districts.

When the company announced Intune for Education paired with hardware systems starting at $189 back in January, it was clear that the company had learned its from its missteps. The percentage of schools that can afford a truly premium one-to-one hardware solution is limited to small private schools and the like. And those school often opt for the iPad for its premium hardware/software solution.

 

For everyone else, cost is paramount. Windows 10 S is an acknowledgement of this fact. Due out this summer on a slew of systems from hardware partners like Dell and HP, the streamlined OS plays into this, and by delivering a familiar software experience, it may well maintain some of the market abroad, as it delivers familiar productivity solutions like Office, coupled with new additions like mixed reality and 3D content creation.

And, of course, the company will be able to maintain a fuller offline experience than many Chromebooks, which are still largely browser based. With more complete offline functionality, these devices can help the company stay ahead in other parts of the world where school WiFi is a luxury, rather than a given.

Sure, Surface will continue to be part of the company’s solution in education. The company even used today’s event to announce a new device in that space. But if that system has success in education, it will be of the higher variety – high school, perhaps, but even more likely college.

If the company is really going to retain and regain classroom desk space, it’s going to do so with the simple, the familiar and the affordable.

 
[“source-ndtv”]

BlackBerry Direct Sales Woos Small Businesses and Companies With Cheap Unlocked Phones

Just last month, BlackBerry announced an interesting sales initiative dubbed the BlackBerry Direct Sales Program. The program is supposed to, for the first time, allow IT administrators and business owners to directly purchase and deploy in-volume unlocked BlackBerry devices from the company’s Smartphone Business Sales Team, and now their efforts seem to be paying off.

“We’re starting to see a very positive reaction from our customers,” BlackBerry ecommerce product marketing manager Richard Lamb told Nicholas Greene in a BlackBerry post. “People are happy to hear from BlackBerry, and happy to talk to our team.”

According to BlackBerry, a variety of features are attracting businesses to the program. Here are the big ones.

Blackberry Direct Sales Features

Cost and Convenience

BlackBerry says that unlocked BlackBerry devices that are sold directly from the company are significantly cheaper compared with those sold by carriers and that buying unlocked devices this way can slash total cost of ownership over several years.

Businesses “don’t have to worry about the long-term costs of subsidies, and they’re able to negotiate better service plans, as well,” explains BlackBerry sales representative Elliott Coulter. “This can save them anywhere from 75 to 100 dollars per device.”

Businesses and companies that purchase directly from BlackBerry enjoy a 30-day money back guarantee, dedicated account manager, one year complimentary support, one year manufacturer’s warranty, volume purchasing and payment advantages as well as free shipping that significantly reduces the device costs. The only catch here is that as a business, you must be willing to buy in bulk.

A Wide Range of Devices

Businesses are enjoying a wider selection of BlackBerry devices. You can ask for products that may be hard to come by in your region. These may include models such as the BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition and BlackBerry Leap.

Direct and Dedicated Line of Support

Businesses that are using the BlackBerry Direct Sales Program are enjoying a direct line of support and considerable security expertise.

“When customers contact the direct handheld sales team, they’re dealing with BlackBerry experts,” says Coulter. “We work with all OSes and brands, and can get answers much more quickly than if they were going through a third party. Small businesses are used to trolling support forums or going to Google for answers — we connect them directly with a product manager, who can assist them with any problem they encounter.”

Other advantages accompanying the BlackBerry Direct Sales Program include deeply customized service for customers already working for those that have ties with BlackBerry, fast delivery and deployment and superior security and productivity — something that BlackBerry has become known for over the years.

This program will most likely benefit both small and big companies, but an immediate impact would be to smartphone retailers that are looking for unlocked, high-quality smartphones at affordable prices. The fact that they can get direct support and 30-day money back guarantees makes it even better.

Image: BlackBerry

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

BlackBerry Direct Sales Woos Small Businesses and Companies With Cheap Unlocked Phones

blackberry direct

Just last month, BlackBerry announced an interesting sales initiative dubbed the BlackBerry Direct Sales Program. The program is supposed to, for the first time, allow IT administrators and business owners to directly purchase and deploy in-volume unlocked BlackBerry devices from the company’s Smartphone Business Sales Team, and now their efforts seem to be paying off.

“We’re starting to see a very positive reaction from our customers,” BlackBerry ecommerce product marketing manager Richard Lamb told Nicholas Greene in a BlackBerry post. “People are happy to hear from BlackBerry, and happy to talk to our team.”

According to BlackBerry, a variety of features are attracting businesses to the program. Here are the big ones.

Blackberry Direct Sales Features

Cost and Convenience

BlackBerry says that unlocked BlackBerry devices that are sold directly from the company are significantly cheaper compared with those sold by carriers and that buying unlocked devices this way can slash total cost of ownership over several years.

Businesses “don’t have to worry about the long-term costs of subsidies, and they’re able to negotiate better service plans, as well,” explains BlackBerry sales representative Elliott Coulter. “This can save them anywhere from 75 to 100 dollars per device.”

Businesses and companies that purchase directly from BlackBerry enjoy a 30-day money back guarantee, dedicated account manager, one year complimentary support, one year manufacturer’s warranty, volume purchasing and payment advantages as well as free shipping that significantly reduces the device costs. The only catch here is that as a business, you must be willing to buy in bulk.

A Wide Range of Devices

Businesses are enjoying a wider selection of BlackBerry devices. You can ask for products that may be hard to come by in your region. These may include models such as the BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition and BlackBerry Leap.

Direct and Dedicated Line of Support

Businesses that are using the BlackBerry Direct Sales Program are enjoying a direct line of support and considerable security expertise.

“When customers contact the direct handheld sales team, they’re dealing with BlackBerry experts,” says Coulter. “We work with all OSes and brands, and can get answers much more quickly than if they were going through a third party. Small businesses are used to trolling support forums or going to Google for answers — we connect them directly with a product manager, who can assist them with any problem they encounter.”

Other advantages accompanying the BlackBerry Direct Sales Program include deeply customized service for customers already working for those that have ties with BlackBerry, fast delivery and deployment and superior security and productivity — something that BlackBerry has become known for over the years.

This program will most likely benefit both small and big companies, but an immediate impact would be to smartphone retailers that are looking for unlocked, high-quality smartphones at affordable prices. The fact that they can get direct support and 30-day money back guarantees makes it even better.

Image: BlackBerry

[“source-smallbiztrends”]