Making Your Own App: DIY or Team of Developers?
App Builder Appy Pie, March 01, 2018: There was a time when making a mobile app was only for the BIG players in the industry and only a far-fetched dream for most others, especially the small and medium business owners. More often than not this was due to a number of barriers that presented themselves in front of the businesses including the price tag attached to the process of developed, lack of technical knowledge, and other such factors. These days every business, irrespective of their size and scale is looking forward to building an app for themselves and it has become one of the best ways to gain a certain validation among the users. The proverbial playfield in technological context is now level and businesses of all scales and capacities are equally equipped to take on the market.
As we roll out of one year and enter another, the role of technology in businesses only grows and now it seems that there is an app for everything. As more and more people are becoming dependent on the mobile applications for everything, a lot of businesses are realizing the potential of an app for their business. It is for this reason that a lot of these businesses are naturally moving towards the latest and the most practical business continuity software technology – a mobile app. A mobile app enables the businesses to house their crisis plans “on cloud” and deliver it to the end user through mobile devices.
So, if you are a business owner who is of the opinion that their business could benefit from a mobile app then you have two options ahead of you – DIY and hiring a team of developers. Using a DIY platform means you would go to their platform and simply drag and drop features and elements, pick and choose the look, appeal, and theme of the app and in a few minutes, your app would be ready! However, when you hire a team of developers, they are going to develop an entirely new mobile app for your business, right from scratch! Both the approaches or models have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, but what you choose should be based on your requirements. Appy Pie as an app maker with experience in both the fields, has carefully put together an entire list of pros and cons of both the options while keeping all the parameters in mind so that you have all the information you need before making the decision.
#1 Ease of Use
When it comes to a DIY app building platform, the ease of use scores high. Especially if you are a person with no technical skills or know how, this is a great option for you to explore. The platforms are built in such a manner that anyone can get on it and build an app for themselves, which definitely is one of the most convenient ways to do it. You would not have to deal with thousands of technical jargons or questions, nor would you have to make decisions that you might only have limited knowledge about, all you would have to do is land up on their platform and pick and choose from numerous options of features, layouts, designs and other such elements, and you would have your app ready in a jiffy! Whereas if you were to decide to hire an entire team of app developers, you would have to go through the whole process of hiring the right professionals. Whether it is freelancers or an entire agency, you need to make sure that they are the right fit for you. If you fail to find the right kind of people, not just in their skill and experience but also in getting them in sync with your vision for the app, then you are set for a disaster.
#2 Cost of Development
If you choose to build an app on a DIY platform, the budget or the cost of development is going to be quite affordable. The cost of developing an app by hiring a team of developers or an agency would probably be somewhere near 10 times the cost of developing an app through a DIY platform. Most of the DIY platforms follow a SaaS model and then charge you a monthly subscription. Here what happens is that you have a clear idea about the costs that you are going to have to shell out for your app development and you can judge whether it fits your pocket. There are rarely ever any hidden costs or any unpleasant surprises when it comes to the final billing for the service.
The cost of app developed by a team of developers is variable, depending mostly on the number of hours put in by their team. It is for this reason that this process can prove to be really expensive. It is quite common for businesses to change their minds midway in the process of app development. The moment any elements are added, or any of the features are replaced, or whenever there is a deviation from the pre-decided plan, there are bound to be some changes in the cost. Hence, the chances of you getting a surprise at the end of the process are quite high!
#3 Time Taken for App Development
This is one of the biggest USPs of DIY apps! The DIY platforms have a development architecture in place that helps you build your apps in almost no time. Appy Pie’s App Builder platform allows the users to simply drag and drop features and select the functionalities they might want to add to your app. In a matter of minutes, you will have in your hands an entirely functional app that you can explore on your device before submitting it to Google and/or Apple for your final launch.
When it comes to developing an app with an entire team from scratch, it involves writing the whole code which definitely needs a lot longer. It might not be an overstretch to say that you may have to wait anywhere between 3 to 4 months before you can even see the first cut of your app.
#4 Ease of Maintaining an App
It is not enough to simply build and launch an app and simply be done with it. You must make sure that the app is maintained effectively so that the users have only the best experience while using your app. On a DIY platform, the subscription cost that you pay includes the charges for total maintenance of your app which includes the release of app updates, fixing the bugs, and feature updates. Apart from this, the subscription also includes the hosting charges of the app.
When you develop your business app from scratch, the cost of maintaining your app per year comes to about 15-20% of the entire development cost. As we discussed earlier, the cost of developing a mobile app from scratch with a hired team of experts is a lot higher than the cost of getting a DIY app made. This means that the cost of maintaining this app is also going to be pretty high.
There are times that the support that you get for your app is only for the initial period, with a fixed number of bugs that they will fix for you. This means that for all the subsequent bug fixes, hosting of your app, or any other maintenance issues, you would have to reach into your pocket.
#5 Access to App Analytics
App Analytics is one of the most important things about getting your app made. These analytics help you understand what is working well for your app and what is not and also helps you make changes to your app so that you can improve the user experience of your app. On a DIY platform you would have access to a well-designed and efficient dashboard. These dashboards can help you track & analyze the different parameters and metrics of your app.
In case you are getting your app developed by a team of developers from scratch, there is no provision for helping you with metrics or analytics of any kind. This means that you would have to define and develop your very own metrics and features that would constitute the much-needed dashboard. The features and elements that need to go on your dashboard might be quite similar to or completely different from any other app, but there are certain elements that are a given, like the app analytics. This is difficult for a person with no technical background to decide which ones they want, and which they can do without.
If you are developing an app for your very own business, chances are that you want certain defining features and traits in the app that are like no other! In case customization is on your mind, DIY platform might be able to help you much. On a DIY platform, you would have a horde of options in front of you, so that you can choose the different elements of your app. This effectively means that you have the option to customize your app, but only to a limited extent, especially when it comes to choosing the features, the layout, and the design of your app.
Hiring a team of developers to develop your business app is absolutely perfect for you when you are looking for an entirely customized app. The limits here are only determined by the budget constraints you might have. If you have deep pockets, you would have the freedom to customize almost about everything including the whole look and feel of the app, to the features that you would want your app to have.
#7 Ease of Submitting an App
Every popular app platform, whether it is Google, Apple, or Windows, comes with its own set of rules and guidelines that you need to adhere to and it is absolutely imperative that you follow them to the T. once you have developed your app with a DIY platform, you would then submit the app to the platform of your choice, however, you would be guided by the support team at every step of the process and if it were to be rejected by the platform for any reason whatsoever, they would help you fix the issues and resubmit the whole app. The costs of the whole process are worked into the subscription fee.
While getting your app developed by a hired team of developers, you would have to do all this by yourself and at your own cost. From getting a developer account made on the platform to submitting and maybe resubmitting the app, everything would be on your own, unless you have worked it into the service contract. Even if you do get it incorporated in the service contract, there might be additional costs for this part of the service.
Like everything else, the DIY platform model and the process of developing an app from scratch have their own sets of pros and cons. This analysis and various points about both options indicate that DIY platforms like Appy Pie can be a great way to go for you, if you want to build a powerful app for business continuity. It is affordable, and it is prompt! However, if you have an entirely new concept or idea that you want to build an app for, which might need you to include a number of unique, new features, then you must hire an entire team of developers so that they can develop the app from the scratch as per your requirements only. One thing that you need to be prepared for here for is dig deep into your pockets, and be patient, because it is going to take a lot of your time and money. Hence, choose wisely, and choose well, keeping in mind what suits you, your business, and your app, instead of simply going by what other suggest, or what seems to be the hot trend of the day.