The decision to create a mobile app for any aspect of a business today is an easy one. Metrics and analysis show us that an enterprise mobile app can drive audience engagement, enhance productivity and increase profitability for an organization. However, there is a choice to be made early in the development process. Should you adopt an out of the box packaged mobile app, or opt for custom mobile app development?
There are no straight answers here, both approaches have their benefits, and while a custom app may provide the perfect answer in one situation, it may not in others. With that in mind, it is important to assess where those benefits are, allowing any organization to make an informed choice during the development process.
Mobile App Cost Comparison
On the surface, there is a simple rule here. Custom mobile app development is more expensive than using a packaged mobile app. This is logical, and for any application that precisely fits the packaged mobile app features and abilities, it will be more cost effective to take that route.
However, the reality is a little different. Every business is unique, and their needs for an enterprise mobile application are equally unique. In most cases then, a packaged mobile app won’t deliver everything that is needed. Here is where the cost equation becomes less precise.
Many off-the-shelf app providers will charge huge costs just to adapt the app to an organization’s needs. Even minor changes can result in significant cost increases. Of course, custom mobile app development means that the new app is entirely tailored to an organization’s needs, precisely fitting their requirements and expectations. In this case, where adjustments need to be made to the out-of-the-box solution, the cost advantage is nowhere near as clear as we might expect.
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Even if there are no changes made to the out-of-the-box solution, there may be other costs. If the new enterprise mobile app is not adapted to the business, then it is likely the business will have to adapt to the app. Changing processes and workflow across the organization to fit how the app performs is equally costly, albeit often a hidden cost attributed to reorganization rather than app integration itself. This is again avoided with a bespoke enterprise mobile app.
Enterprise Mobile App Integration
In some cases, a packaged mobile app will fulfill every need of the project and will be a perfect fit, but those are very rare. Instead, what happens is, as we mentioned above, business processes and activities are adjusted to fit the enterprise mobile app capabilities. This adds to the budget as noted earlier, but it also causes internal disruption, and can add extensively to the time to implement the project.
Custom mobile app development avoids the issue completely, by providing a tailored feature set designed specifically to work within existing processes and workflows. This means seamless integration and a more cohesive user experience. With familiar processes, internal training is reduced too, when compared to the introduction of a packaged mobile app and simultaneously adjusting business processes.
Mobile App Usability
We have had a look at the costs and integration into existing business workflow, where the custom mobile app development solution has shown that it offers much more than we may first think, including potential cost savings. However, it is when we look at the usability of the app that this approach truly shines.
Whether the app is for employees or for customers, development will begin with a set of features and goals that the app must deliver. Custom mobile app development approach allows the project to focus on the specific requirements and thereby create an app that meets those precisely. This is something that an out of the box solution cannot do, unless expensive adjustments are made.
This also brings time into the equation. It is true that a bespoke mobile app takes longer to deliver than a packaged mobile app, but again, this is only in the ideal scenario where the out of the box solution fits the business needs without adjustment. As soon as additional development efforts to tailor that packaged mobile app are needed, the time advantage starts to disappear.
It is often true that, in cases where significant additions are required, a complete custom app development process can deliver as quickly as the semi-tailored approach.
The choice between packaged mobile app and an enterprise app developed specifically for the task is not as easy as may initially appear to be. In cases where the out-of-the-box app meets all the needs of a business, it is quicker to deliver and offers significant cost savings. However, where the out-of-the-box solution requires further work, such as altering internal processes or additional coding, those advantages begin to disappear. The ability to create an app designed to meet the needs of a specific user base, tailored to current processes that allow seamless integration, makes the custom mobile app development solution a better choice under these circumstances.