Many businesses have found themselves in this position: they have an idea for an app or decided they could benefit from the technology, but they end up faced with the problem, Where do we go from here? While each situation will have its own unique considerations, these steps will help you determine the best way to take your app from concept to commercialization.
Decide What Type of App Your Company Wants to Develop
Who is your target user? Will your app be used to improve internal operations? Or perhaps connect with your customers? It’s important to decide whether the end goal is to develop an internal app, business-to-business (B2B) app or business-to-customer (B2C) app. The type of app, along with the intended user base, will inform the specifications of what to include. Additionally, you’ll need to decide whether you want to develop an app for Android, iOS, or both. Cross-platform apps (formerly known as hybrid apps) have many benefits, including a unified codebase and reduced development and hosting costs.
Determine Your App Development Budget and Monetization Strategy
How much money can your business allot toward development and app maintenance? Often, businesses may forget to factor in long-term app maintenance and updates into the cost of developing the app. App development is not a one-time deal. Instead, it’s an investment that can bring many benefits when planned out with care.
While you’re discussing finances, it would be beneficial to discuss how your business will commercialize your app. There are multiple different monetization strategies available. The best one for your business will be influenced by the type of app you are developing.
Make a List of Must-Have Functionalities
This is the fun part! At this point, your business can create a list of top features, innovative technology, design requirements and more. By laying out a clear idea of what the end result should look like, the development stages will run much more smoothly. It’s okay to dream big and then pare down what is possible for development. However, in an effective brainstorming session, you should lay out all ideas on the table before rejecting them off-hand.
Evaluate if Your Business Should Outsource Development
Once you determine what you want the app to look like and nail down the concept, it’s time to determine the feasibility of in-house development. Businesses often choose to outsource app development for a variety of reasons. Perhaps your company does not have a strong team of developers or maybe they aren’t suited specifically for app development work. Alternatively, they may have the skills but not the time necessary to devote to the project.
Outsourcing development work relieves pressure on the internal development team and allows companies to focus on maintaining their usual business operations. If you decide that it would be best to hire a developer, this eBook can help you pick one that’s right for your business.
Outline a Project Timeline
Once you determine whether to keep development in-house or outsource to a software development company, you’ll establish a project timeline and make a plan for completing the development work. This often works best by breaking down the project into smaller sections, goals and tasks. One common approach to app development is the agile methodology, which is utilized by businesses for its many benefits, including an emphasis on developer/client communication, manageable development sprints and optimized development process.
Begin Mobile App Development
After the time spent planning and deciding on the best way to approach development, it’s time to get started! In this phase of app development, your team will complete the tasks outlined in the previous step. Following the project timeline will help the project run smoothly, though it will be necessary to adapt to feedback and other considerations that arise during the development process. Whether your business chooses internal development or outsourced development, it’s important to maintain effective, transparent communication with your development team throughout the process.
Conduct App Testing
App testing is not something that only occurs at the end of the development process. Instead, incorporating testing throughout the process will reveal ways to improve the user interface (UI), user experience (UX) and app as a whole. Focus groups could even be incorporated as early as the ideation sessions or first app iterations.
Other types of app testing include:
- A/B testing;
- Quality Assurance (QA) testing;
- Beta Testing;
- Performance Testing;
- Security Testing and more.
By taking care to test your mobile app before launch, you can catch bugs, make improvements, and optimize features in a controlled environment.
Submit Your App to the App Store
Once development and testing are complete and your app is ready to launch, it’s time to submit your mobile app to the app stores. Alternatively, you may choose to make your app available elsewhere, like a private app store. You may choose this option if your app’s not intended for the general public (more common with B2B apps) or if you want greater control over how the app is released.
Public app stores have regulations and requirements for the apps that they accept and will review your app to ensure compliance and determine that the product meets their standards. If an app is rejected from the app store, it will require alterations and need to be resubmitted. This may not be a huge deal, depending on the reason for rejection, but it could delay the development process if not accounted for. Quality developers will assist you through this process and will keep the requirements in mind during development.
App Maintenance and Updates
Once your app’s up and running, it’s time to sit back and admire your work. But don’t get too comfortable! As the user reviews start rolling in, you will want to implement the plan you made for addressing app maintenance and updates. Continual improvements are important to address iOS updates and to offer the best possible app experience for your users. Some development companies offer services to help maintain your app and keep it running smoothly. We recommend budgeting 20% of the total development cost for updates and maintenance each year. That’s another reason why you want to choose a seasoned development company that you work well with. Your company’s relationship with the development team could continue well past the launch of your app.
If you are interested in outsourcing the development of your mobile app, the team at 7T is ready to help! We can guide your business through the development process, from concept to commercialization and beyond. Our developers are experts in creative UI/UX design, mobile security and mobile analytics. We can help your business find the perfect mobile solution to fit your needs.