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Is It Time To Launch a Custom Enterprise App?

The Rise of The Custom Enterprise App

Organizations all over the globe adjusted operations over the past year in order to meet the needs of the market. Specifically, the COVID-19 pandemic completely altered the economy as we knew it. As a result, many companies began developing custom enterprise applications. These applications have a wide range of features and capabilities and vary significantly from business to business. However, despite the large variance in design and function, there is no denying that a custom enterprise app is perfectly capable of elevating your organization to the next level.

Finding the right time to invest in custom enterprise app development is sometimes crucial to successful implementation. Therefore, it’s vital to do your due diligence before pulling the trigger on custom enterprise app development to make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success.

Conducting an Internal Analysis

One of the very first steps to take in considering the development of a custom enterprise application is; conducting a thorough internal analysis. Performing an internal analysis is a vital process because it yields a waterfall of helpful insights and data that inform decision-making in the context of custom enterprise app development. For instance, by conducting an internal analysis you’ll gain impactful insights into the types of functions and capabilities to be sure to include.

Be sure to take note of your staff’s input when conducting your internal analysis. Staff will often provide deep insights into the exact functionalities that would benefit them the most. Then, by including those features in specific, you’re well on your way to a successful custom enterprise app design.

Another major area to pay attention to throughout the course of your internal analysis is your financial standing. This is arguably the most significant indicator to determine whether or not your firm is in need of a custom enterprise application. Furthermore, this data will allow you to know what sort of budget you would be able to invest in enterprise application development.

Developing Custom Enterprise Applications

As mentioned above, finances are an extremely significant determinant of when to develop a custom enterprise app. However, there is still more than one avenue through which appreneur’s and app developers can pursue custom enterprise app development. There are really three options when it comes to recruiting the programming team. First, you can look in-house if you have a few talented programmers, developers, and designers on staff already. This is arguably the most cost-effective as all of the development processes remain in-house and self-contained. Not to mention, when working with staff and employees, there’s a stronger internal sense of communication that already innately exists.

For those that aren’t lucky enough to have their own suite of developers in-house, there are still two other options. Organizations and decision-makers can look to agency developers, or they can seek help from a freelance developer. As you can imagine, each of these options comes with its own series of pros and cons. For instance, with freelance programmers, there is generally a higher risk associated with the quality of the end result, as well as timing, and other factors that could throw off your project. While some freelancers are more than worth their weight in salt, so to speak, there’s a wide market percentage of freelance developers that are under-trained and under-experienced whose work ends up being subpar. This can range from issues like bug-ridden applications full of faults; all the way to incomplete code, or a final design that feels clunky and unprofessional.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, if fishing for a freelancer isn’t your game; you can trust the development of your custom enterprise application to an agency developer.

Choosing Your Developer

By far one of the most enticing benefits of choosing agency developers to take on your custom enterprise application project is the guarantees that come with. Agency developers and programmers are often part of entire project teams. In other words, they’re pieces of the whole or cogs in the machine, if you will. As such, your app has more people working on it from a variety of angles. With design specialists to UX experts, and everything in between, by choosing an agency developer, you can rest assured your application is in good hands.

There is, however, a common misconception with the agency development avenue. Since agencies come with quality guarantees on design, user experience, and delivery, they too bring with them a slightly heftier price-point. Consider this, though; when it comes to application development costs, the true lifetime value of the development process is presented in the final application. In other words, while agencies may require a bit more capital; there is a lot less risk when it comes to the end result.

The Benefits To Employees

Committing the time and capital necessary to develop a custom enterprise application, though, will go miles. In the new economy that is nearly fully virtual and with the world quickly accelerating toward an entirely digital social experience, consumers are hungry for instant gratification. As well as instant results. Beyond the growing expectation for instant results in the consumer base, however; is the fact that a large majority of the corporate workforce now operates remotely. To accommodate the remote workforce, more and more companies are buying into custom enterprise solutions for their organization.

One of the most common areas that these custom enterprise applications address is internal communication. While there are plenty of options in the enterprise app market that already target communication, employees show a significant uptick in productivity and efficiency with custom solutions.

Communication Solutions

In today’s day, communication is being recognized as one of the most valuable elements in any context. This extends from business settings to emotional life situations, and every and any type of relationship in between. As such, business leaders and decision-makers have put a much stronger emphasis and priority on developing strong avenues of communication, both internally and externally.

Developing a well-connected and interlaced internal network through strong communication channels elevates business operations, efficiency, and employee productivity. By creating strong channels through which team members can communicate swiftly and seamlessly, you’ll be providing them the suite of tools that they need to conduct and complete their daily activities from wherever they may be stationed.

Equip Your Staff For Success

Following suit, by investing in a custom enterprise application; your company can create a unique suite of enterprise solutions that is specific to your organization. This is a major benefit. It’s a major benefit because it offers you and your team the opportunity to elevate and optimize the processes that are specific to your firm.

Wrapping Up On The Custom Enterprise App

Many companies are trusting custom enterprise applications with the bulk of their internal communications. Not to mention, firms are finding more and more uses for their custom enterprise apps each and every year. This is another benefit of investing in a custom enterprise application. Once your enterprise app is launched, it always has the ability to grow, scale, and adjust itself to the needs that are most pressing in your organization.

For more information on custom enterprise app development, or anything else related to application development, keep browsing NS804. NS804 is the proud development agency for the everyday appreneur.

How Much Does it Cost to Make an App?

Spoiler: Want to know what your app idea will cost? Use our Mobile App Cost Calculator

The Short Answer

  • Simple apps typically cost less than $37,500
  • Medium apps typically cost between $100,000 – $150,000
  • Complex apps typically cost above $500,000

Source: Clutch

Hourly Cost of Mobile App Developer

  • Low Cost App Developer: $85-$105 per hour
  • Mid Cost App Developer: $105-$125 per hour
  • High Cost App Developer: $125-$175 per hour
  • Very High Cost App Developer: $175-$300 per hour

Now Let’s Dive Into How Much it Costs to Make an App

mobile app development cost

So, your business is in the market for an app, and you’ve received quotes ranging from $25,000 to $100,000, or $250,000 to $1,000,000. What’s causing the discrepancy? Are the high estimates from developers trying to get more from you than their work is worth? Are the low estimates indicative of low quality development?

Like most everything in life, the answer is rarely black and white. Before shopping for an app developer, it’s important to recognize the scope of your idea. Does your app require graphics, back-end integration, or augmented reality? Every feature your app requires adds another degree of complexity, and with it, a rising cost.

The more complex your app is, the more hours are put into development, which is a major factor in determining your app’s price point. Keep in mind that different developers will use varying production strategies, from the skyscraper method, to Minimum Viable Product – but we’ll get to that later.

Variables That Impact Mobile App Development Costs

Let’s go over some of the most significant variables that affect the cost of your app:

  • Back-end integration
  • Graphics
  • Platform
  • Features

Back-end Integration

Back End Integration

Just like your website, some apps require a back-end infrastructure. Building this infrastructure can incur a significant increase in the cost of your app, as it requires developers with expertise in additional skill sets, such as data tables, data architecture, and data administration, to name a few. Certain apps, especially those that are natively developed, will require an even higher level of complexity, based on custom databases and APIs, which often lack documentation.

Most back-end infrastructures require user management, with tasks ranging from adding, modifying, and deleting user accounts, to processing password changes. If your app has a back-end that is integrated with your website, the complexity of your app’s architecture can increase exponentially.

Graphics

Mobile App Design

If you’re a marketer, you know the addition of graphic design elements can dramatically increase the cost of any campaign, and for apps, it’s no different. The average salary for a mobile app designer in the U.S. is $58,500, about $12,000 more when compared to the average income of a traditional graphic designer. This discrepancy in salary widens when a mobile designer has a graphical skill set as well as a technical one, and requires the development team to invest in infrastructure needed to support graphics development. Hiring a development team with graphic-heavy capabilities will significantly add to the final cost of your app.

Graphic design elements in apps include 3D graphics, visual transitions, and static art. Often, an app will run multiple types of graphics at once, requiring robust infrastructure to ensure your app runs smoothly from front to back end. These initial costs, however, can lead to higher profits when compared to apps with little to no graphic elements. Of the top 50 grossing apps on Google Play, only one app is not a game requiring heavy graphics – Tinder. The top 50 grossing apps on the iTunes App Store have a much lower ratio of games compared to business or productivity apps, but most still require heavy graphical capabilities.

Customized graphics do come at a higher cost, but markets show a trend of rewarding graphic-heavy apps over those with little to no graphic elements. Like every step in determining what is best for your app, it’s important to consider the problem your app is trying to solve; if you’re a business looking to create an app to help increase efficiency internally, graphics are probably not an important factor, but if your app is intended for your customer base, graphic design elements can give you a leg up on your competition.

Platform

Android vs iOS Development

Android and iOS are currently the leading platforms in mobile app development. Both platforms require different coding languages, Android mainly using Java, and iOS using Swift. Android apps cost about 30% more than iPhone apps to develop, primarily because android apps require more time in their development cycle, due to their open source and customizable nature. For more information about Android mobile app development, visit our Android dev page.

When developing an app for Android, it’s important to note your app will be used on a variety of mobile devices. In contrast, apps designed for iOS, while lacking the customizable nature of Android, boast high levels of robustness and stability, as iOS is used on a relatively small number of devices that receive regular updates, reducing the number of OS versions your app must support. For more information about iOS mobile app development, visit our iOS dev page.

Features

What features does your app require? When deciding what your app needs to function, it’s important to keep in mind that the addition of more features directly affects the cost of your app. Features range from buttons, fields, and screens, to geo-location, camera integration, or in-app purchases. Each feature adds to the code required to run your app, from displaying screen elements to ensuring necessary functionality.

The more features your app has, the more hours it takes to develop, and the more expensive it will be. While it’s impossible to determine exactly how many hours each feature will add to your app’s total build time, it’s always safe to assume each feature set will incur an additional cost on your end.

Let’s use mapping as an example of what goes into a feature set. This example app directs users to destinations, providing routes, directions, and real-time updates. What appears to the user as one function – getting from point A to point B – is actually comprised of multiple separate features: Mapping, GPS, navigation, real-time updating, real-time audio instructions, and back end integration with existing map data and servers. The app might provide push notifications so users can receive route updates while running the app in the background; the app might even include augmented reality aspects to help distinguish destinations. The app may use the device’s accelerometer, cloud networking with other devices to determine traffic patterns, and third party tool integration to collect user location data.

All of these features will enhance your user experience, but will add to development cost. For each feature, testing must be conducted to ensure your app remains robust on both the front and back end, which can be compounded if your app is intended to run on multiple platforms. There’s a simple equation to keep in mind when deciding what features your app requires; Concept + Features = Cost.

Features are undoubtedly the most important aspect of your app. The most well-designed app won’t perform well on the marketplace if it doesn’t function properly. It’s not only important, but necessary to ensure every feature is tested thoroughly to prevent bugs which can reduce your app’s user retention. Don’t skimp on testing in order to trim your budget, as every cent put into your app’s features and functionality will pay off.

New technologies, such as wearables, will require dedicated support, adding additional coding needs to run your app. The more features and platforms you add to the scope of your app, the more hours of development are required, which in turn raises the cost. It’s important to know the exact problem you are trying to solve with your app, to ensure you only include features necessary to the function of your app, and help reduce needless additional costs.

How Design Impacts Mobile App Development Costs

A well-designed app will be more costly when compared to a less robust design, as to be expected. The time put into design is usually well worth the investment, however, as good design will improve the user experience of your app, which can directly improve your app’s ROI.

While browsing through potential app purchases, a customer is much more likely to be drawn in by a screenshot of a well-designed app, which leads to a higher download and use rate. Keep in mind that design costs can vary wildly from developer to developer, especially when considering the background of the designer.

A web developer will probably cost less to design your app, but a mobile designer will most likely have a clearer idea of space restrictions and user flow. It’s like bringing your pet into a doctor rather than a vet – the doctor knows the internal structure of a human, and can give a good guess as to whether or not your pet is healthy, but a vet will have a clearer understanding of the specific problems your pet faces.

It’s also important to remember to not over-design your app. Like any well-designed software, unnecessary elements detract from the quality of your app and reduce your users’ experience.

Other Factors That Affect Mobile App Development Cost

Your app’s complexity directly affects the amount of programming needed for the creation of a functional and robust app. The complexity level of a mobile app can be classified as low, medium, and high. This level can then be used to calculate an estimated range for the development cost.

We encourage you to download these apps to get a feel for their level of complexity.

Low Complexity (<$37,500) :

Low Complexity Mobile App

A simple app is typically based on tables. Your development cost can be lowered by providing your development team with complete content, image examples, and clear intentions. No matter the complexity, it’s always important to know exactly what problem your app is designed to solve, thereby reducing time spent discussing back-and-forth with your developers.

To further reduce waste and cost, consider creating graphics for your app in-house, especially if you already have a dedicated graphic designer. Your team might not know how to code graphics into your app, but developers can use standard .png file types to create functional graphic elements. Remember, adding features such as GPS locators or social media integration will add additional cost, and will equate to a noticeable rise in price at this complexity level.

Tip: Before sending image files to your developer, name the files according to the developer’s naming conventions. Doing so can help save development time and ensure effective and optimized app production.

Medium Complexity ($100,000 – $150,000) :

Medium Complexity App

A basic database app is typically classified at a medium complexity – if your team provides all of the necessary content. As the name suggests, database apps are inherently driven by data, so most of your developer’s work will be on the front end.

The primary determining factor of the development cost of a database app is the code needed to create your app’s logic and usability. If your database app is relatively simple, your developer can write most of the needed code based directly on the content you provide.

High Complexity (>$500,000):

High Complexity Apps

Complex apps, such as games, are much more difficult to estimate based on cost. The simplest of games need to track top scores, integrate with an online community, and usually require heavy, interacting graphics, which requires a significant amount of code.

Some games have incredibly high requirements for 3D graphics and sound, which require complex calculations. A game that makes use of a mobile device’s gyroscope, for instance, will be particularly expensive to code. Games, however, tend to boast higher ROI than other apps, as they’re usually downloaded in greater numbers.

Developer Costs

So, now that you know what goes into making an app, we can dive into how developers use different development and delivery models, and how that affects your bottom line.

As reported by Clutch, development time estimates can vary wildly. Simple apps take about 250 hours to develop, while medium apps require 1,000 hours, and complex apps clock in at about 5,000 hours. The hourly rate for a standard mobile app developer ranges from $100 to $150 per hour, providing a cost estimate of $25,000 to $37,500 for a simple app, $100,000 to $150,000 for a medium app, and $500,000 to $750,000 for a complex app.

Delivery Model

Just like any marketing campaign, dissemination of your app through the proper channels is paramount to your success in the market, and because of this, it’s important to consider the cost and methods of delivering your app to your customers. Delivery methods can include the following:

  • Software Development Kits (SDKs)
  • Sharing
  • Game center
  • In-app purchasing

SDKs

An SDK can be a highly effective method to track your app and promote monetization. Using an SDK is like adding another set of tools to your tool box. These pre-made software development tools can boost your apps’ analytics and advertising capabilities, or provide debugging and maintenance utilities, and much more. The average Android mobile app utilizes 15 SDKs, the most popular being advertising and analytics tools. Integrating your app with an SDK is generally a low-cost venture, but it becomes more expensive as your select more specific options.

The cost of using SDKs, such as AdMob, Applovin, Chartboost, Google Analytics, Tapjoy, and Xplode to distribute an app ranges from $50 to $200. When shopping for SDKs to enhance your app, be careful during your selection process. An SDK runs on separate code, and can violate your user’s privacy, or reduce your app’s performance – issues that may cause your app to be banned from Google Play or the iTunes App Store.

Share Capabilities

When it comes to sharing, all the usual suspects are available to you: social media, email, your website, or any other channel your marketing campaigns utilize. This cost factor is largely dependent on your own capabilities, options, and avenues of marketing, and can range from $500 to $1,500.

Game Center

Game Center

Integrating your app with Apple’s Game Center is a relatively straightforward process, provided you follow the rules carefully. Initial costs for adding your app to the Game Center totals about $1,000. Apple will keep 30% of each sale, and charges $99 per year to list your app in the Game Center.

Google Play

Integrating your app with Google Play is similar to Apple’s Game Center, with a one time fee of $25, and Google will also keep 30% of each sale, just like Apple.

In-App Purchasing

mobile App with In App Purchasing

In-app purchasing gives your users the ability to buy full versions of apps and new content for existing apps. Cost factors include the price of your app, and whether the entire content is available in a single app. The cost of in-app purchasing is between $1,000 and $3,000.

Development Models

Mobile app developers will use different models of development. A development model dictates your app’s production schedule, and how the development team works with each other and you, the client. The differing development models are as follows:

  • Skyscraper
  • Agile
  • Minimum Viable Product

Skyscraper

Imagine you’re building a skyscraper. What’s the first step? The foundation. Floors are then added onto the structure, slowly growing the structure in an additive, pre-planned process.

Developers can use this same process to plan, design, and implement your app. To successfully utilize the skyscraper method, you must first conduct all of your market research, know exactly how your marketing campaign will be implemented, and develop a concrete plan for how and what your app will achieve. Basically, you first lay the groundwork, and follow a regimented schedule for a successful development process, slowly adding onto your pre-conceived plan to create a final product.

This method ensures every member of your team, as well as the development team, know each step of the process, and know exactly what the final product should look like. However, if your market research is flawed, or there’s an unexpected hiccup in development, you could face extraneous costs or delays that are difficult to account for due to a rigid development style.

Agile

An agile development cycle is exactly what it sounds like – a development process with an over-arching plan, designed to account for unexpected issues, or changing market demographics.

A typical agile development cycle is characterized by “sprints,” usually lasting two weeks. During that time, developers will identify a goal to achieve within the sprint, and begin coding based on that goal. Individuals of the development team will end each day with a short catch-up meeting to discuss what they achieved, the issues they faced that day, and how they will proceed the following day. This allows the development team to adapt to issues in an efficient, responsive manner, rather than fixing outstanding issues after the main cycle of development.

At the end of a sprint, the development team will meet to discuss the goals they achieved, and plan out the next sprint.

Minimum Viable Product

Known colloquy as an MVP, or a minimum feature set, MVPs are a product with just enough features to satisfy its first users.

MVPs rely on a fluid, responsive development schedule. Typically, a development team will produce the bare bones of the app, and then release the app onto the market. Based on user feedback, the development cycle will continue, adding features and processes as users request them. This allows you to build your app with little up-front cost, ensuring a lower risk of failure due to incorrect assumptions regarding your app’s value to the customer.

For more information on MVPs, visit our MVP page.

Now that you know how much it costs to make a mobile app, do you think you are ready?

For every mobile app, the development costs will differ – even identical apps could vary in cost depending on resources available, your production timeline, development structure, and many more factors.

Want a personalized cost assessment based on your needs and vision? Take our survey to see if you’re ready to start development on your app. We’ll analyze your responses and assign a score to determine how ready you are for a mobile application development project.

Take our Survey to see if you’re ready for an application