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Developers underestimating mobile app expenses

In the workplace, there are numerous innovative technologies that are changing how businesses operate. More organizations are allowing employees to use their personal devices for everyday tasks, but staff will need that right tools to leverage their hardware effectively and maximize benefits. App developers must create software that will meet user needs and streamline company processes without going over budget or requiring substantial patches after release. While application building was fairly intensive, it's become even more complex and includes more considerations and costs that decision makers may not have previously considered.

Deploying a successful application has not been easy by any means, but the fragmentation of the mobile market has introduced additional elements that need to be included in the development strategy. Applications take substantial time, money and resources to develop and ensure that users have all of the features they need to do their job efficiently. With most developers believing the war between native and Web methods is over, they have relegated themselves to the price of creating a specific program for each platform. However, they can significantly reduce their expenses by incorporated Web components. The Web allows the program to be written once and distributed over a variety of devices, saving a considerable amount of time and money to make.

The true costs of applications
When people download a program, they only see the base price for installation. However, they never think of the costs the enterprise needs to put into the development to produce it. ZDNet contributor Joe McKendrick noted that most mobile apps, especially those used in businesses, cannot be deployed and then withdrawn as some consumer programs are when they don't get the expected reaction. With one application, decision makers need to consider a reasonable timeline, the availability of developers and their hourly rates, any unforeseen costs and the price for the project itself, which can range from $3,000 to $30,000. If company software is rejected, organizations will often take another look at the product and patch it to better meet user expectations instead of starting from scratch. This is because working on an existing base will often cost much less time and money than creating a new program.

"With mobile apps, end-users only spend a few seconds on the phone, so the app really needed to reach out and grab them, and serve a purpose," McKendrick wrote. "Once the design of the app was approved, they needed to decide whether to deploy to iOS or Android ... Once the app was finally tested and released, there was a constant need to keep it fresh and updated."

Misperceptions cloud software price
For many organizations, it can be easy to get lost in hoping that the mobile application will make more money than it costs to build. This can cause numerous issues in software estimation and can force businesses to extend their timeline or go over budget. Dr. Dobb's contributor Carol Dekkers noted that projects are often not as easy as they may seem and that being too optimistic can actually make developers miss critical factors in the creation process. If an app builder thinks everything will run smoothly, they aren't taking interruptions and other factors into account, which will leave them unprepared in the event that something unexpected does happen. Making estimates from incomplete data will also leave the team needing more funds along the way. Developers must account for historical information to deliver a product that meets user needs and comes in at the expected price point.

"Historical data formulate a much better gauge upon which to build estimates than theoretical models," Dekkers wrote. "History is facts; theoretical models are wishes. We should learn from our history and use it or we are apt to make the same mistakes again."


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