From a developer: things to know when considering a mobile application for your business

This is a guest post from Steve Baranski of komorka technology.

At its October announcement of the iPhone 4S, Apple disclosed that it had shipped 250 million iOS devices, and that 18 billion apps had been downloaded from its App Store. Apple’s numbers alone are impressive, and those exclude other mobile platforms like Windows Phone & Android.
With such strong consumer demand, the appeal of apps may be clear. What can be less clear, however, is how to get started. Here are some tips to consider when contemplating an app for your business:

Begin with the end in mind. Before you start, think about your goals for the app. Are you targeting current & prospective customers with a free marketing app? Perhaps you want to improve employee productivity with an app that streamlines data entry or automates the presentation of training materials?

Consider what the app will do, who will ultimately use the app, and what makes the app special. Having a clear picture of your goals makes it easier to evaluate the success of your project as it proceeds to completion.

Do your homework. Because of high demand, mobile developers tend to be busy. This means they may not advertise heavily. To find an app developer, ask around. Consider talking to your existing web design or marketing partners, or perhaps you know someone that’s already developing an app of their own. You could even reach out to the developer of an existing app that you love.

Once you identify potential development partners, ask for evidence of their experience. Ask them to show you a portfolio of past projects. Ask if they charge hourly or submit fixed-price bids. Ask when can they begin work. All of these factors can influence the ultimate price of your app.

Also think about how involved you want to be in the project. You may be seeking a simple “turnkey” solution; on the other hand, the right partner may let you contribute “sweat equity” to the project. If you have graphics talent on your staff or even an existing database or content management system, you can potentially defray the cost of your project or expedite its completion.

Speak for yourself. If you’ve ever had to transition ownership of your website or its domain name, you know the hassle that can entail. The same can be said for your app – it should be listed under your company name. This allows you direct access to valuable sales & download data, as well as any revenue the app may generate. Licenses obtained from the iTunes App Store ($99 annually) or the Android Market ($25) can be administered on your behalf, so if your service provider questions the desire to own your presence, you should question their intentions.

komorka is a mobile software development & consulting company based in Oklahoma City. We focus primarily on iOS (i.e., iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) applications (“apps”), but have been known to deliver the occasional Android app when the fit is right.


Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."

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