We have so far covered the aspects relating to the importance of having a company app as a powerful tool for branding, marketing and reaching more potential customers. Today we will take the next step and start discussing the issue of finding and hiring an app development firm.
The market for app development is still new, with lots of freelance developers and some established IT companies adding this service to software development. The latter option is the right one for your company, because these large IT companies already have experience dealing with corporate clients.
However, since we are still in the groundbreaking phase in terms of B2B mobile app development, you should employ all due diligence in choosing the company which will develop your proprietary mobile app. The first and foremost reason for this is that your professional and brand image will be negatively impacted by a poorly functioning or badly designed app which gives people trouble installing, using, and uninstalling.
These are the 5 most effective steps in evaluating your options and choosing the right developers:
1. Take a Look at Their Portfolio
This is the first step, and it does not even need any interaction between your company and the developers. Each app development firm has an online portfolio – if they do not have it, you can decide right then and there if it is worthwhile contacting them to ask them for examples of their work or move to another company.
Once you have identified a few apps developed by the company, test them using a group of your employees and ask them for feedback on user experience, functionality and design. If you are happy with the feedback, you should proceed to the next step.
2. Ask for Client References
It is not enough knowing that the company develops good apps – they should be the kind of service provider that is flexible, and that can adapt to your corporate culture, communicate well with you and comply with the procedures you have established for each supplier.
Asking for client references means much more than simply reading a statement of satisfaction with the provided services. Find a contact person who worked directly with the app development firm and ask them about the whole experience during this process. Did the company understand and implement the feedback received from the client in a satisfactory manner? Were they willing and enthusiastic to learn more about the corporate culture in order to develop a mobile app which integrates perfectly in the brand image of the client?
3. Assess Their Overall Expertise
A professional app development company should be able to deliver you functional apps for the most popular mobile platforms, not just one. A company which specializes in only one platform cannot be a long-term partner for you and provide you with all the cross-platform developments you may request in the future.
On the other hand, a company which does everything but none to a professional level is not a good option either. If they do web design, software and app development and game programming, it is possible that their staff is either involved in too many projects at the same time or that they have limited human resources for each specialization individually.
4. Ask about Their Work Procedures
These days, most software developing companies have implemented an “agile workflow”, which allows for fast decision making, implementation of changes and feedback and deployment of the final product within the agreed deadline, without unexpected delays. This is the kind of company you want to work with, so ask them to detail the way they work with clients and who is responsible for each critical stage of the app’s development.
5. Do Not Make Price Your Top Selection Criterion
Last but not least, you should not go for the cheapest offer. The rule “you get what you pay for” fully applies in app development. It does not mean that you should choose the most expensive offer, but find the right balance between price, quality, long term support and the possibility to develop a strong relationship with the app developers.