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Once you decide that it’s worth it to build a mobile app for your business, how do you plan on proceeding?
I’ll tell you what most people do.
They assign the project to their IT department.
Seems logical, right?
IT departments specialize in keeping your company’s software up to date and help your team out whenever they have computer issues.
So must business owners assume that this department is qualified to build a mobile app.
That’s simply not the case.
I continue to see this mistake all too often when I’m consulting with companies about their mobile app development.
Here’s what happens.
The IT department says that they can handle the project, so you assume that everything will go smoothly.
But your IT department doesn’t have the proper tools to reasonably build a functional app.
This leaves you with a major problem.
According to research by the Center for Major Program Management at the University of Oxford, the average IT project:
Those statistics can be the downfall of your company.
The budget issues alone could put you out of business, especially if you’re a startup company.
Running out of cash is one of the top reasons why new businesses fail.
You need to avoid these common mistakes.
If such a major project, like developing an app, can go over budget by 45%, it puts your company at risk for serious cash management problems.
Even if you can survive the financial blow, if the final result delivers less value than the initial plan, your app won’t make money.
For those of you that want to build a mobile app that actually makes money (I’m assuming that’s everyone), you’ll need to recognize that your IT department needs help.
As an industry expert who has developed my own apps as well as consulted with IT departments through the development of various company apps, I can help you out.
Giving your IT department the right tools will set them up for success.
Ultimately, this will save you time, money, and lots of headaches in the long run.
Here’s what you need to know.
As I said earlier, big IT projects go over budget and don’t stay on schedule.
Part of that is due to the department’s lack of tools, skill, knowledge, and experience when it comes to building apps.
But it also has to do with poor budget planning from the beginning.
One of the first steps for any major project is coming up with a goal, budget, and timeline.
But those need to be realistic.
Look at the median hourly cost of building an app for iOS platforms in different regions.
If you’re developing an app in North America and budgeting your cost for $40 per hour, you can’t be surprised when you go over budget.
You can’t expect to cut corners and end up with an app that works flawlessly.
It’s not realistic.
But even if your budget is around the median rate for your region, you can still run into problems if you’re assigning this project to your IT department.
First of all, how big is your IT team?
If you have a small company, I’m willing to bet that you can count those team members on just one hand.
Think about how many tasks and responsibilities your IT team has on a daily basis.
That goes for large companies as well.
There are other duties that take priority over the development of your app.
So the app keeps getting pushed to the bottom of their task list.
You can’t blame the IT department for this.
What’s more important? Building an app or getting your website servers up and running after a crash? Or protecting your employees’ computers from malicious hacker attempts?
Obviously, this is a rhetorical question.
You can use the priority matrix as a visual representation of how your IT department is delegating their time.
App development has a high importance, but a low urgency.
Even when they have time to work on this project, it will keep getting interrupted by more pressing assignments.
This explains why so many large IT projects get delivered with less value than was originally anticipated, as we discussed earlier.
But again, you can’t blame your IT department for this.
They simply aren’t set up to run efficiently while building an app.
This all stems back to having a realistic budget and timeframe for development.
I’ll offer you the solution to this problem shortly.
I know you may not want to hear this, but let’s take a minute to discuss some worst case scenarios.
Earlier I said that if your company goes over budget too much it could put your startup out of business.
How often does it happen?
According to that same research done at the University of Oxford, 17% of large IT projects can be referred to as “black swans.”
Those projects go over the allowed budget by 200% to 400% and can put companies out of business.
Large companies are not immune to surviving this either.
One example involves a large retail business that launched an IT project costing them $1.4 billion.
The project involved modernizing the current IT structure.
They were forced to abandon the project and launch an additional task to improve their supply chain management system for $600 million.
This retailer was eventually forced to file for bankruptcy.
You may be asking yourself, how can this happen?
A large company with $2 billion to budget on IT improvements was unable to stay in business after these failed projects.
It all comes down to the technology.
The technology and tools required to build apps lags behind the reality of what it takes to build them.
Companies don’t realize this until it’s too late.
With that said, the IT Business Edge is expecting to see a decrease over the next 3 years in certain primary roles of IT departments.
This includes maintaining the organization’s apps.
The research is based on survey results from various business owners.
They are predicting that more businesses will realize the risk associated with assigning such daunting tasks to their IT departments.
By using alternative solutions for app development, companies decrease their chances of having a black swan situation.
That way you can be assured that your IT department has the necessary tools to complete the task.
If you want to put your IT department in charge of building your company’s mobile app, that’s fine.
But based on everything that we’ve discussed so far, I wouldn’t recommend that they learn how to code and build the app from scratch.
It’s not necessary.
Plus, after seeing the data about large IT projects, there’s a good possibility that this would result in an inferior app that’s over budget and not completed on time.
I realize that I’m a little biased, but the BuildFire platform will make this process so much easier for your IT team.
Not only will it save your company money, but the deployment process for the app will be much quicker and simpler as well.
Once it launches, it’s super easy for your IT department to maintain the app through the BuildFire platform.
You won’t even need the whole IT team to work on it.
Rather than building everything from scratch, BuildFire has all different kinds of styles for you to choose from based on what type of business you have.
This is much easier and less time consuming for your IT team.
Then they can customize the templates so it fits well with the primary function and goal of your mobile app.
With less time spent on development, your IT team can focus on more urgent matters like we talked about earlier with the priority matrix.
Realistically, it’s possible for only one member of the team to work on this app through the BuildFire system.
BuildFire centralizes the tasks of the IT department to give them full control.
If a different team member wants to make any edits or changes, the platform is so easy to navigate that they won’t have any problems figuring it out, even if it’s their first time using it.
Furthermore, BuildFire provides all of the infrastructure support required to build, launch, and maintain the app.
Some of the basic infrastructure that’s covered includes:
Here’s the thing.
Most IT professionals aren’t necessarily experienced app developers.
So if they build the app themselves without any help, they may not take certain resources like that into consideration.
But going through BuildFire means your IT team will have all of these tools, including the ones that they didn’t even realize were required.
The whole process can be completed in three major steps.
Customization is key.
Some people may be hesitant to work within a template for the fear that the results may look too generic or cookie cutter.
That’s simply not the case with BuildFire.
Your team can completely customize all of the features.
Even after the app is launched, it’s easy to make any changes or adjustments.
All of this can be done without having to learn to the coding.
Sure, your IT team may know how to code certain software.
But if they’ve never built an app before, that coding process is completely different.
The ability to make changes in real time is essential to the success of your app.
Whether you launch it on iOS or Android (which are both a possibility with BuildFire), you’ll get comments, ratings, and reviews from various users.
Those users may have suggestions for how you can improve your app.
If you find out that those are viable solutions, it’s super easy for your IT team to implement those changes.
Your IT department will also have direct access to the BuildFire Pro Services Team.
If they have any questions, problems, or concerns throughout the process, the Pro Services support system can provide a solution.
This is a great option for business owners who would rather design the app themselves as opposed to assigning it to their IT department.
You don’t need to be a software or computer expert to navigate through this platform.
If you’re really pressed for time and resources, BuildFire can build the app for you as well.
Just let them know what you’re looking for, and they can customize the app to tailor your specific needs.
Again, I know I’m biased, but compared to other similar platforms available online, I think the BuildFire solution is by far the easiest to use.
Just because you have an IT department, it doesn’t mean that they are qualified to build a mobile app from scratch.
Large IT projects tend to go over budget and don’t get completed on time.
Furthermore, once they get completed the majority of these projects deliver less value than was originally anticipated.
You could even find yourself in a black swan situation where a project goes so far over budget that it puts your company out of business.
There’s no reason to put yourself at that kind of risk when there are cost effective alternatives that deliver high quality results for mobile app development.
Make sure your process starts with a realistic time frame and budget.
If you want to put your IT department in charge of building the app, that’s fine.
Just make sure you provide them with the necessary tools that are required to complete the project.
Building the app from scratch will take too long because of a lag in technology.
Plus, other tasks that require immediate attention will continue to arise on a daily basis.
So app development will keep getting pushed to the bottom of the IT priority list.
Using the BuildFire system simplifies this entire process.
Your IT department will be able to completely customize and launch the app.
It’s easy to make any changes when it comes to maintaining the app as well.
BuildFire even provides infrastructure solutions such as CDN, server storage, and analytics.
So you won’t have to worry about going over budget just because you want to launch a mobile app.
What’s your company’s realistic budget and timeframe for developing a new mobile application?