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Mobile app development outsourcing is the most optimal way for non-tech businesses to solve their mobile software needs

Benefits of outsourcing mobile development over in-house development

The benefits of software outsourcing per se are spoken quite a bit about and have long become known and plain to see. In a nutshell, a business with software development needs located in an expensive geography (like, for instance, Western Europe, North America, or the Middle East) engages an IT outfit in a less expensive geography to develop the software they need in whole or in part.

The company that resorts to this kind of application development typically reaps a host of major benefits. These benefits include an up to 40-50% reduction in the development costs and a faster time-to-market due to the shorter recruitment cycles and time differences that often allow the project to be implemented round-the-clock. Outsourcing of application development is also associated with a much smaller amount of recruitment hassle and related costs, if any, as compared with regular IT-related recruitment. Besides, with application development outsourcing there is no need for you to increase the workload on your HRs who may also lack the expertise to source and screen mobile development experts.

As you will have probably known, all these benefits apply in the case of mobile app outsourcing too. Just like with other application development outsourcing, they alone are reason enough to consider this option.

But are there any other, less known noteworthy benefits or ones specific to mobile development outsourcing?

Let’s see:

  1. Mobile application development is most frequently associated with relatively short-term projects and niche apps. For example, If you run a trucking business and need an app to stay in touch with your drivers and keep tabs on their movements, a multi-user enterprise-grade system with oodles of intricate functionality is not what you require or have in mind. You need a more simple app with a smaller amount of functionality. It is a lot more preferable to outsource the relatively small amount of app development you need than master the required expertise in-house or find and employ the mobile app developers who will know they are onboard your company only for a relatively short spell.
  2. With mobile app outsourcing, a smaller budget will suffice. Furthermore, you will have better means to manage and control this budget as this will be more difficult to do without sufficient knowledge of mobile application development.
  3. Outsourcing the development of your mobile app allows you to retain your operational efficiency in full for the duration of your mobile project. Your employees won’t have to be diverted to get a handle on skills they will later forget. They won’t have to be compelled to perform tasks they are unlikely to ever excel at.
  4. Even if you manage to land really good mobile app developers for your in-house team the result will very much likely be rather mediocre, as compared with mobile app development outsourcing.

Mobile software development outsouring providers accumulate a great deal of expertise from numerous outsourced projects. Some of these projects can share a lot of similarities with your one or, at least, originate from your industry. This kind of expertise can immensely improve the mobile app you need developed. For example, we at SPD Group have quite a bit of experience with booking mobile software for the Entertainment industry, including sophisticated AR functionality. It’s hard to imagine a mobile application development team without this kind of experience to be more efficient than us in developing such apps.

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Outsourcing of mobile software development: an application development outsouring company vs freelancers

As mentioned previously, mobile application development projects are seldom long-term and large-scale affairs. Oftentimes, you need just one or two developers to do the job. Why not just hire someone remotely and spare yourself the need to perform the often highly time-consuming selection of an offshore mobile application development provider?

Indeed, sometimes, due to sites like Upwork and Fiverr you can find some great folks for the task at hand.

And yet in the vast number of instances teaming up with an app development outsourcing company seems to be a much better option. Why?

A freelance mobile developer is unable to provide the full cycle of mobile app development you need. More specifically, most mobile developers are almost guaranteed to be useless during the crucial Discovery stage. The UI/UX stage will take a separate expert too, and you may eventually wind up a team of sorts – poorly coordinated and eager to get rid of your project soonest to tackle another gig.

Furthermore, while hiring a freelancer for your mobile software development needs, you must bear in mind that often you have no real leverage over what they do and how well they do that. The amounts of contracts, jurisdictions, and distances frequently make legal leverage ineffective, if ludicrous, here. In many cases, once you have at least part of product functionality developed, you either pay for what you get or fall behind your deadlines and inflate your costs and budget.

How to find a software development company that is most suitable for the  outsourcing of your mobile app’s development

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and puzzled by the vast number of IT providers that offer mobile app outsourcing services. What are the criteria you need to factor in to make the best of this crucial choice?

The right app development outsourcing destination

Whenever you are thinking of how to outsource app development, regardless of the kind of application you need, the outsourcing destination you choose carries a lot of weight. The major software outsourcing geographies are universally known. Among others, they include South Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe. How to pick the software outsourcing geography that will benefit your project the most?

First off, you need to consider the time zone as this factor has a lot of influence on two things: the quality and frequency of your interactions with your mobile software oustourcing provider and the pace at which your project will be implemented.

The ideal outsourcing geography would be one whose time zone either coincides with your one or allows an overlap of 3-4 hours. In the latter case, you will both have enough time for communication with your developers and have your project running round the clock if you have any of your in-house team providing project-related feedback or working on the project in parallel.

Cultural proximity is another major factor to consider. Your project stakeholders are more likely to be able to establish a working rapport with your offshore mobile software provider’s team if your location shares cultural similarities with that of your provider.

The right choice of a specific provider of mobile app outsourcing services

Suitable industry and solution class expertise

Next, you need to choose a specific mobile software development company in the geography of your choice. What to look at in the first place?

First and foremost, your provider must offer mobile development as part of their staple service offering.

Secondly, they should have experience in the development of mobile software for your vertical or business niche, as well as in the class or type of mobile apps your app belongs to.

For example, if you need an enterprise mobility solution, check if your mobile software provider has this kind of experience. If you need a mobile app to become part of a feature-rich enterprise-grade solution, check if your provider candidate has handled this kind of mobile development before – the ability to present complex functionality in a succinct manner can be key here.

A significant portion of the present-day mobile applications use various AI technologies to empower the functionality that they provide. These technologies include Speech Recognition, Natural Language Technology, Machine Learning, Image Recognition, Emotion Recognition, Chatbots, Big Data, and more. Needless to say that if you intend to use any of these technologies in your mobile app, you should factor this technology in as yet another requirement for your mobile app outsourcing provider.

Full-cycle mobile app development capacity and related Project Management

Mobile app development outsourcing is associated almost solely with the creation of a software application from the ground up. Because of this, if what you have in mind is a full-blown mobile software application, you should look for a company that provides end-to-end mobile software development.

This company must be experienced in creating full-value products, and not only rendering mobile software development services as part of Staff Augmentation or Dedicated Team arrangements.

Putting it differently, they must have highly qualified Business Analysts to collect and analyze the requirements for your mobile app, create a detailed functional specification, create an MVP, craft the UI, and develop the required functionality, while providing cross-platform development, if required. Besides, your mobile development provider must be able to test the developed mobile app using an array of testing approaches (we’ll dwell on this later in the article), make the app seamlessly interact with your Web-enabled solution, if required, and, finally, provide the aftersale support.

The Business Analysis capacity of your application development outsouring company matters even more if you need a mobile business intelligence (BI) app or an enterprise mobile app.

The following table illustrates these and some other pivotal factors in mobile app outsourcing that are imperative to consider when making a choice of your mobile software provider.

CompanyFull-cycle of software development, ability to implement a project from scratchAbility to start and scale up fastAbility to bridge an expertise gapStartup background, MVP development experience, fast MVP/PoC developmentIndustry Experience
SPD GroupMultiple complex IT products developed from the ground up- Project kickoff within 2-3 weeks.
- Team scaling from 0 to 100+ in a month
- AI
- ML
- Blockchain
- IoT
- Numerous startup products developed
- Extensive MVP development experience
- MVP development within 3-4 weeks
- Finance
- Amusement
- eCommerce
- Delivery
- Investment
- Health
- LegalTech
- eLearning
Company 1Only team extension experience by means of Dedicated TeamsProject kickoff within 1-2 monthsAINo MVP development experience- eCommerce
- Health
Company 2Staff Augmentation experienceAbility to provide 1-2 experts onlyInability to provide newer technologiesNo standalone MVP development experienceNo continuity in terms of industry-expertise

Lastly, while getting familiar with your provider candidate’s experience, make a point of asking them for any relevant case studies and pay attention to the precise role the company’s mobile developers have played in the corresponding projects. Also check their testimonials on Clutch, GoodFirrms, and Quora. For instance, as a B2B review, ratings, and research site Clutch uses a diverse array of qualitative and quantitative factors to help get familiar with IT providers and pick the one that fits you best. These factors include company experience, client reviews, market presence, and industry recognition. Importantly, the reviews come from verified customers. Although the site offers 9 levels of Sponsored listings, it is also easy to identify those companies that gain high rankings due to the high Ability to Deliver Score that is calculated based on the company’s client reviews, brand presence in the target market, and past work experience.

Suitable Project Management and communication process

Basically, you can outsource mobile software development using one of a host of Project Management methodologies and organize your interactions with your mobile development team in accordance with the one you choose. However, it is still better to take a few nuances into consideration before you make a choice.

If you want more control over the process of your mobile app’s implementation and want its functionality to be in close keeping with demanding business goals, you should probably opt for Agile. This approach will allow you to keep close tabs on all the deliverables and minimize the odds of discrepancies. You may also be able to make some valuable additions on the fly in cooperation with your mobile developers.

At the same time, while making a choice in favor of Agile, you need to be sure you will have enough time for this in-depth involvement in the project. Your (or your other stakeholders’) inability to attend even some of the frequent meetings or provide feedback on time can seriously hamper the development.

Similar to Agile, Scrum is another development methodology well-suited to mobile software development. It provides a great deal of flexibility, allows one to promptly get rid of ambiguities and roadblocks, and closely supervise tasks’ fulfillment. Scrum can become your optimal choice if you have a motivated mobile development team with a proactive problem-solver at the helm, and need to develop a mobile app, the functionality of which goes well beyond the basics.

If you are looking to develop a relatively small mobile app that takes just a couple of developers to implement, and want the process to be transparent and simple, you can choose Waterfall. This methodology works perfectly well for small mobile projects.

How much does it cost to hire a mobile app outsourcing company?

As the price of mobile software development services varies widely, it most probably makes sense for you to cut it in two at once by looking for mobile developers in a well-known nearshore or offshore outsourcing location.

As SPD group’s R&D facilities are based largely in Ukraine, we’ll quote the average local pricing for you to feel the difference. On average, the services of a mid-level mobile app developer cost approximately $45 per hour here, while those of a senior mobile developer can cost up to $80 per hour.

As the second step toward a cost-efficient implementation of your mobile software development project, you can choose a more suitable pricing model. For example, if you have a project with a small scope and a correspondingly small project budget, you should choose the Fixed Time Fixed Cost pricing model.

Overall, you should generally be able to develop a conventional mobile app with basic functionality for around $ 50K, while a sizable mobile app with wide-ranging functionality can cost you up to $ 500K.

How to pick the right Engagement model for your mobile app development project

Engagement models are ways for you to structure and manage your relationship with your offshore mobile app development provider. These engagement models detail such relationships and make the defined details of the cooperation binding for both the parties. The more common engagement models you can use include Staff Augmentation and Dedicated Development Team.

Dedicated Development Team

The Dedicated Development Team engagement model is a type of engagement whereby your software development provider puts together a team of experts with the required tech stack to implement solely your project. When required, dedicated Teams can either operate as standalone units, or be used to expand your in-house development team.

A Dedicated Team can be managed by either a qualified project stakeholder on your end or by your software outsourcing provider’s Project Manager.

Dedicated Team is an engagement model that is most often used in conjunction with the Time and Material pricing model. In terms of mobile software development, this conjunction often represents the most secure and convenient way to implement more complex and sizable mobile software development projects.

Staff Augmentation

The Staff Augmentation model allows you to augment an in-house development team. Therefore, If you have a team of mobile developers in-house but you need to add one or two more developers to it, you can use the Staff Augmentation model.

The Staff Augmentation model is conveniently used in conjunction with the Time and Material pricing model.

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The Pricing models you can use for outsourcing mobile app development

Time and Material

Under the Time and Material model, you pay for the resources spent by your model app development team at an hourly rate.

The Time and Material pricing model that is more suitable for the development of complex mobile applications and mobile apps with a medium degree of complexity.

During the development, the functionality of such mobile apps can be undergoing frequent changes. New features can be introduced, significantly affecting the project scope and time-to-market. The Time and Material model is flexible enough to support such changes. It can be conveniently used in conjunction with Agile methodologies that are frequently used in the implementation of more complex and large-scale mobile software development projects.

The advantages of the Time and Material model also include very low risks for both the client and mobile development company, greater control over the development for the client, and a reduced time-to-market due to the reduced requirements gathering phase.

Fixed Cost Fixed Time

If you have a relatively simple mobile app, you can use the Fixed Cost Fixed Time engagement model.

Under this model, you define the project scope and project deliverables in collaboration with your mobile app development agency. They provide the project duration and project cost you agree upon with them. In other words, you know the project budget and your product’s time-to-market yet before the project’s kick-off.

Often, the Fixed Cost Fixed Time model is beneficial in that you don’t have to spend much time on supervising your project’s implementation. You also know the deadline when your mobile app is to be delivered by your provider.

The mobile application development process and its duration

The mobile application development process always consists of multiple stages, some of which can be regarded as optional under certain circumstances. Because of this, it is quite important to know not only how long it can typically take to develop a mobile app but also what mobile development consists of, especially, if your mobile app’s time-to-market is of essence.

Discovery

The first stage in the process of mobile app development process is the Discovery stage (the Research and Idea Validation). During this stage, you define and test the underlying idea of your mobile application, perform market and competitor analysis, and come up with a listing of the features that need to be developed to embody your idea and respond to the market demand.

Typically, the Discovery stage must be handled by a qualified Business Analyst in close collaboration with you. The Discovery stage of your mobile app development process must result in a maximally detailed set of technical and business requirements for your mobile app-to-be.

In many instances, mobile apps are planned as part of a larger solution that includes a Web-based application, for example, a major enterprise-grade application. In this case, you will also need to involve a backend developer, and, possibly, a frontend developer to get familiar with your existing solution and figure out and document how precisely it works. Your developers will then use this information to ensure your mobile app’s interactions with your existing system. This kind of research can take a while, and this should be reflected in your time and cost estimates for the project.

For some of the less typical projects, for example, those that include some non-standard, possibly open-source components (such as, for instance, a 3-d party service with an undocumented API), some specific type of complex functionality (for example, video streaming or photo-processing functionality), or some specific hardware, it is necessary to involve your mobile developers during the Discovery stage too the way we sometimes do here, at SPD Group. This is done with the goal to make a thorough research, verify whether the non-standard component to be used is really suitable for the project at hand, mitigate any possible related risks, and, finally, create a PoC.

Notably, although readily available open-source solutions can generally expedite your mobile software development process to some extent, you should bear in mind that their quality and functionality are beyond the control of your mobile software provider. What your provider can and should be requested by you to do is make a research into the open-source functionality in question. They must inform you about the flaws and limitations this functionality contains and enable you to make an informed decision whether you want to have it as part of your mobile software.

To ensure a sufficient accuracy of your time estimate for the app development phase of your project, it is important that your mobile app development provider calculate the cost of the development for the same level of experts, as those who will actually be assigned to develop the software. For example, a fairly considerable difference may occur if they perform the calculation for one senior developer, but then assign two junior developers to do the job. While the Discovery stage doesn’t take all that long by comparison, you can dispense with it completely if you are conversant with your market, target audience, and their wants and needs. Dropping the Discovery stage can most often shorten your mobile software development effort by roughly 2-3 weeks. Simultaneously, dispensing with or minimizing the Discovery stage is very a risky step to take that can be fraught with highly undesirable consequences at any later point in the development cycle.

Wireframing

Next comes the Wireframing stage, during which the functionality of your mobile app gets sketched up for your UI/UX designers to get the hang and feel of the user flow and come up with maximally accurate UI/UX.

During the Wireframing stage, make sure that you pay attention to and approve both each of your mockups and each of the user flows they make up. The Wireframing stage can take up to 1-3 weeks.

UI/UX Design

As the Wireframing stage is complete, the UI/UX one kicks off. Here you must discuss with your developers and approve all the screens, including their color scheme. All the UI-related details must be reflected in the technical specification that will be used during the development of the application. The coming into being of mobile app’s look and feel takes an average of 1-2 weeks. It is also during the UI/UX stage that your developers must come up with an estimate for the project, detailing the resources that are required to implement it and the project’s timeline. Typically, making an estimate takes them one day.

Application Development

As the UI/UX designs of your mobile application are ready, the Application Development per se starts. Depending on the size of your mobile application the number of features it includes, the degree of the project’s complexity, and the size of your development team, the time the coding of your app takes can vary very widely. Unfortunately, it is unlikely you can influence this time span in any way.

In this regard, it should be emphasized that most attempts to achieve significant time savings during the Application Development stage by increasing the number of mobile developers involved fall through and complicate the development process. They quite considerably increase the time spent on checking the quality of the code and some other procedures. Besides, each added developer inflates the required budget by approximately 10-15% due to the time spent on the increased amount of communication, meetings, pull request reviews, and so on. In other words, if you expect two developers to do twice as much work as one developer does within a month’s time, they will most likely need not 4, but 5 weeks to fulfill the task.

Simultaneously, if there is a real need to expand your mobile development team, your time estimates should allow for the increased amounts of communication and coordination within the team.

Testing

The testing of your mobile application kicks off during the App Development stage, i.e. when the software is still under development, and runs in parallel with the development. If you use Agile, your project builds typically get tested upon the completion of each sprint or even upon the completion of a specific feature.

Usually, you need to conduct multiple types of testing – Usability, Performance, Functional, Security, UX, Regression – and no compromise on this can normally be feasible or pertinent.

The testing of the beta version of your app, usually done already by your target audience takes roughly twice longer.

Mobile app development outsourcing risks

Planning Risks

The risks and pitfalls of outsourcing the development of mobile apps are considerable enough to be gotten familiar with prior to the commencement of your mobile development project.

The first group of risks we’d like to dwell on are those associated with project-related Planning.

One of the more detrimental planning mistakes in the development of mobile software is skipping the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage. As an MVP is meant to embody a product’s more meaningful features and allow one to test these features, implementing a project without an MVP results in products with excessive and overcomplicated functionality.

Quite often, too little time is also planned for the testing of mobile apps which results in bug-ridden mobile applications. Ideally, any mobile application must undergo several types of testing we have already mentioned previously.

Budget Risks

In a sense, all of your mobile software development project should be budget-defined or budget-driven. From the outset, you should define your project budget and proceed from it while planning your project scope and the functionality to be developed.

This will help you achieve two goals: avoid excessive expenditure on the less important features and find a suitable, budget-friendly development partner.

Development and security risks

Development risks

It is fundamental that your mobile development team adhere to several guidelines that can help eliminate or mitigate the more serious reasons for which your mobile app can become a flop.

The first such guideline is associated with the ability of your mobile application to perform equally well in different OSs and on various mobile devices with screens of different sizes. It is imperative that your mobile developers address this by using responsive design and alternative layouts.

It should be said here that alternative layouts represent a much more preferable option in terms of the quality of the result.

Unfortunately, it is also a more expensive option. Depending on the number of screens your mobile app has, employing alternative layouts can increase the cost of this functionality’s implementation by 15-60%.

Mobile application security

Any mobile app must also be thoroughly safeguarded against a host of insidious security threats. First of all, it is of utmost importance to protect it against malicious code and malicious attempts that take advantage of the cache data and past user sessions.

So, what needs to be done in this department?

To stave off or minimize these kinds of threats, it is necessary to uphold the platform guidelines of each of the platforms your mobile app is supposed to run on. That’s firstly.

Secondly, your developers must robustly secure your mobile app’s data storage. You can request them do this using reliable modern encryption means, for example, AES-256 or SHA-256 data encryption. It’s also possible to attain a very high level of data storage security for iOS by taking advantage of the ultra-secure Keychain database, and enhance the security of the cryptographic key storage for Android by employing Android Keystore.

For authentication purposes, you can use cryptography and encoding. To enhance your mobile application’s authentication security even further, one can also use compression. In the latter case, the use of multiple algorithms creates better defenses against fraudulent attempts.

Secure process of mobile software development

Aside from your mobile software, it is vital to secure your mobile app development process in its own right.
In this sense, ensuring security cannot be seriously discussed in relation to a software application without broaching the topic of NDAs and other legalwork.

As you probably know, you need to sign an NDA with your app development agency prior to the kickoff of your project. One more thing you should and can do is demand that they sign an NDA with each of the mobile app developers they provide to implement your project. Besides, you can also demand that these mobile app developers sign one or two more NDAs directly with your company – one indicating your location as the jurisdiction and another one – that of your application development provider.

Overall, it can be said that the outsourcing of a mobile app to an offshore app development agency can ensure a much higher level of security than dealing with remotely based freelancers. Regardless of this company’s location, with their assistance, any mobile app developer NDA becomes a great deal more enforceable.

Mobile software development trends

Over recent years, mobile development has been dramatically on the rise.

The global pandemic and other large-scale events have altered the lives of hundreds of millions of people globally to a great extent. The way they now do business or interact with the businesses that employ them are projected to promote this tendency for years to come. The mobile development market, the worth of which in 2021 was estimated at more than $187 billion, is forecasted to be growing at a compound annual growth rate of 13.4% from 2022 to 2030 (Grand View Research).

Enterprise mobility is bound to continue seeing significant growth in the wake of the Covid pandemic due to the working habits and approaches that have become the new norm. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, wherein employees are encouraged to access their employers’ Web resources from their own devices has become vastly popular worldwide and fuels this promising trend.

Blockchain has continued to make inroads into the mobile development for a host of industries. These industries include Social Networking, Identity Management, Governance, Finance, and Security, where the technology allows a new level of security and eliminates the need for information management intermediaries.

Augmented Reality is another technology that is going to influence the future of mobile software development in a big way over the span of at least several years from now. According to ARtillery Intelligence, the mobile A/R market will have reached $ 36, 263 million by 2026, the biggest adopters being the Advertising and Marketing and Enterprise Productivity verticals.

Wearables that include watches, earbuds, and other devices that use mobile technology have created a brand-new market niche that will likely give mobile development a huge boost in the coming years. By 2026, the market of these devices is projected to grow dramatically to $ 264.5 billion from 116.2 billion in 2021 (Markets and Markets).

SPD Group keeps abreast of all the major mobile development trends and related technology advances. We capitalize on the wealth of mobile-related development expertise and experience we have accumulated over the years to maximize the business value these kinds of mobile applications deliver.

We excel at Android, iOS, and cross-platform development to help clients in a roster of industries and business niches. For instance, we have developed a mobile multimedia content management application that uses AR, 4D, and other camera effects for a client in the Entertainment industry (React), a feature-rich eLearning mobile app that is part of a larger eLearning solution for a world-renowned university (iOS) , and a driver mobile app for a client in the Logistics industry (Android).

Our company regards the development of mobile software applications as one of our core strategic directions, and the mobile app development trends one can presently observe provide just another major incentive for our team to ensure the continuity of our mobile expertise, further expand this expertise, and gain an even greater understanding of the emerging advances in the development of mobile applications.

We always use the most effective approaches and tools, and one of the tools we should mention is Metucat. This is an Integrated Framework that uses visual metadata to allow distributed teams to work on the different parts of the products independently. It can be used on projects of any size, and offer significant advantages to system architects, business analysts, and software developers. In one of our recent projects, the usage of Metucat helped to save up to 50% of time spent on planning, and analysis.

If you need a seasoned team of mobile software developers to outsource app development to that would be genuinely interested in your mobile app’s technical eminence and maximum business value, our mobile development experts would be keen to discuss your project with you. Just drop us a line at [email protected], and we’ll be sure to promptly get in touch with you.

Summary

First look for a suitable outsourcing location, and then make a search among the IT companies located there. Choose a full-cycle software development provider with expertise in your industry or business niche and experience with the class of apps to which your mobile application belongs.

The big-time trends to pay attention to include Enterprise Mobility, Wearables, and A/R.

Yes, you can outsource mobile app development that involves one of the new technologies or is intended for one the above purposes. However, if you want to implement a mobile app for one of such product niches, or enhance your mobile app by using one of the new technologies, you should best look for a mobile app development outsourcing company with relevant previous experience.

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