Having been in the business of building apps since 2006, we have been able to distill viable apps into two categories. They are built for one of only two business reasons: to make money or to save money. Okay, maybe that was a bit of a disappointing insight. Let’s take a moment to examine this more closely. These two types of apps fulfill two very different needs.
To Make Money
Okay this one is easy. Most companies come to us with an app idea that’s supposed to turn into revenue down the line. Maybe their software follows a SaaS model and they intend to charge a fee for users to access their services. Maybe their software facilitates transactions, and each transaction includes fees that go to the software providers. Maybe their software will generate revenue through advertising. Either way the business needs are whatever service or entertainment that piece of software provides.
Let’s take a look at an example: Educeri. Bixly built the webservice Educeri for an educational research company that already had a huge library of lessons, workbooks, and educational materials for sale to teachers. Like many companies in the early and mid 2000’s, they recognized that for their business to continue to scale, they needed to transition from individual transactions to a SaaS model with a monthly subscription fee. The interactive lessons could be housed behind a paywall, which could either be purchased by a school who would then manage the seats or by individual teachers. Instead of paying for individual lessons, teachers now would have access to the entire library. This is a great example of the way in which DataWORKS used software to monetize their core business.
To Save Money
Less frequently our clients need to develop software to save them money. They are not looking to market or sell their app, but instead to streamline their internal business processes. When we have customers coming to us with this need in mind, the first thing we do is try to do research to see if there is a viable solution that is already out there. Or maybe even a couple of webservices that will help them. If not, then we go down the road of really defining the savings the app will bring versus the cost of an app to build. To build a quality, custom app is unlikely to cost you less than $60,000. That is a good place to start when you’re considering building an app that will help your internal operations.
Industries like construction and agriculture we have found benefit from custom apps, usually because of connectivity problems. For our client, Adaptiv, this was exactly the issue. Their business was to audit the effectiveness of crop spraying. They compared the recommended pesticides with what was actually done in the field. They reviewed safety procedures to alert farmers if things weren’t being done properly. They examined spray cards to test coverage on the crops. Much like our recent app which audited produce quality, which we discussed here, pen and paper was slowing down their team excessively. Here a mobile app solution allowed them to not only accomplish a full audit more efficiently, it also allowed them to manage their jobs and clients with a single clean interface.
As you consider software solutions for your business, it helps to identify which of these two camps you fall into. If the former, be sure to identify that your target market will be able to pay for the app! If you fall into the later, be sure the savings of time, headaches, and money will justify the expense as well.
Finally, if you’re looking for a software company that will be a true partner with you in this process, don’t hesitate to setup a 30 minute consultation today! We will talk through your software solution with you to help you determine what is best for your business.