Mobile app development outsourcing is the most optimal way for non-tech businesses to solve their mobile software needs.
Outsourcing application development can be a cost-effective and efficient way to complete mobile app projects. By outsourcing, companies can delegate the responsibility of smooth operation, adequate qualifications, and deadlines to a third-party vendor. This approach allows businesses to focus on what matters most for their business while reducing development costs and time. In this article by SPD Technology, you can learn more about outsourcing mobile app development and how it can benefit your business.
The Benefits of Outsourcing Mobile Development Over In-House
The benefits of outsourcing mobile app development per se are spoken quite a bit about and have long become known and plain to see. In a nutshell, a business with software development needs, located in an expensive geography (like, for instance, Western Europe, North America, or the Middle East) engages an IT outfit in a less expensive geography to develop the software they need – in whole or in part.
A company that opts for this kind of application development typically reaps a host of major benefits. These benefits include an up to 40-50% reduction in the development costs and a faster time-to-market due to the shorter recruitment cycles and time differences. The latter often allows the project to be implemented round-the-clock.
Outsourcing of application development is also associated with a much smaller amount of recruitment hassle and related costs, if any, as compared with regular IT-related recruitment. Besides, with application development outsourcing, there is no need for you to increase the workload on your HRs, who may also lack the expertise to source and screen mobile development experts.
As you will have probably known, all these benefits apply in the case of mobile app outsourcing too. Just like with other application development outsourcing, they alone are reason enough to consider this option.
But are there any other, less known noteworthy benefits, or ones specific to mobile development outsourcing?
- Mobile application development is most frequently associated with relatively short-term projects and niche apps. For example, if you run a trucking business and need an app to stay in touch with your drivers and monitor their movements, a multi-user enterprise-grade system with oodles of intricate functionality is not what you need. You need a more simple app with a smaller amount of functionality. It is a lot more preferable to outsource the relatively small amount of app development you need than master the required expertise in-house, or look for mobile app developers, who will be aware they are onboard your company only for a relatively short time.
- With mobile app outsourcing, a smaller budget will be enough. Moreover, you will have better means to manage and control this budget, as this will be more difficult to do without sufficient knowledge of mobile application development.
- Outsourcing the development of your mobile app allows you to retain your operational efficiency in full for the duration of your mobile project. Your employees won’t have to be diverted to get a handle on skills they will later forget. They won’t have to perform tasks they are unlikely to ever be able to do very well.
- Even if you manage to land really good mobile app developers for your in-house team, the result will very much likely be rather mediocre, as compared with mobile app development outsourcing.
Mobile software development outsourcing providers accumulate a great deal of expertise from numerous outsourced projects. Some of these projects can share a lot of similarities with your one or, at least, originate from your industry. This kind of expertise can immensely improve the mobile app you need. For example, we, at SPD Technology, have quite a bit of experience with mobile booking software for the Entertainment industry, including sophisticated AR functionality. It’s hard to imagine any mobile application development team without this kind of experience that would be more efficient in developing such apps.
Don't have time to read?
Book a free meeting with our experts to discover how we can help you save time and money.Book a Meeting
Outsourcing App Development Company vs. Freelancers
As mentioned previously, mobile application development projects are seldom long-term and large-scale affairs. Often, you need just one or two developers to do the job. Why not just hire someone remotely and spare yourself the often time-consuming hassle of selecting an offshore mobile application development provider?
Indeed, sometimes, due to sites like Upwork and Fiverr you can find some great folks for the task at hand.
And yet in the vast number of instances teaming up with an app development outsourcing company seems to be a much better option. Why?
A freelance mobile developer is unable to provide the full cycle of mobile app development you need. More specifically, most mobile developers are almost guaranteed to be useless during the crucial Discovery stage. The UI/UX stage will take a separate expert too. You may eventually wind up with a makeshift team that is poorly coordinated and eager to get rid of your project soonest to tackle another gig.
Besides, while hiring a freelancer, you must bear in mind that often you have no real leverage over what they do and how well they do that. The amounts of contracts, jurisdictions, and distances frequently make legal leverage ineffective here. In many cases, once you have at least part of your product functionality developed, you either pay for what you get, or fall behind your deadlines and inflate your costs and budget.
Mobile Application Development Process
Mobile application outsourcing development always consists of multiple stages. Some of these stages can be regarded as optional under certain circumstances. Because of this, it is quite important to know not only how long it can typically take to develop a mobile app, but also what phases mobile development consists of, especially, if your mobile app’s time-to-market is of essence.
The first stage in the mobile app development process is the Discovery stage (the Research and Idea Validation).
During this stage, you define and test the underlying idea of your mobile application. You perform market and competitor analysis and come up with a listing of the features that need to be developed.
Typically, the Discovery stage must be handled by a qualified Business Analyst in close collaboration with you. The Discovery stage of your mobile app development process must result in a maximally detailed set of technical and business requirements for your mobile app-to-be.
In many instances, mobile apps are planned as part of a larger solution that includes a Web-based application (for example, a major enterprise-grade application). In this case, you will also need to involve a backend developer, and, possibly, a frontend developer. These experts will get familiar with your existing solution and figure out and document how precisely it works. Your developers will then use this information to ensure your mobile app’s interactions with your existing system. This kind of research can take a while. One should take this into acount in your time and cost estimate for the project.
For some of the less typical projects, it is necessary to involve your mobile developers during the Discovery stage too the way we sometimes do here, at SPD Technology.
Such less typical projects can include ones that involve some non-standard, possibly, open-source components (such as, for instance, a 3-d party service with an undocumented API), some specific type of complex functionality (for example, video streaming or photo-processing functionality), or some specific hardware.
Mobile developers get involved to make a thorough research and verify whether the proposed non-standard component is suitable for your project. They also mitigate any possible related risks and create a PoC.
Notably, although readily available open-source solutions can speed up your mobile software development process to some extent, their quality and functionality are beyond the control of your mobile software provider. What your provider must do is make a research into the open-source functionality in question. They must inform you about any flaws and limitations this functionality contains. This will enable you to make an informed decision on whether you want this open-source functionality to be part of your mobile software.
To make a sufficiently accurate time estimate for the app development phase of your project, your mobile app development provider must calculate the cost of the development for experts of the same level as those, who will actually be assigned to implement the project.
For example, a fairly considerable difference may occur if they perform the calculation for one senior developer, but then assign two junior developers to do the job.
While the Discovery stage doesn’t take that long by comparison, you can skip it completely, if you are conversant with your market, target audience, and their wants and needs.
Skipping the Discovery stage can usually shorten your mobile software development effort by roughly 2-3 weeks. Simultaneously, skipping completely or minimizing the Discovery stage is a very risky step. It can be fraught with highly undesirable consequences at any later point in the development cycle.
Next comes the Wireframing stage. During this stage, one creates sketches of your mobile app’s functionality. Your UI/UX designers will use these sketches to the hang and feel of the user flows and come up with a maximally accurate UI/UX.
During the Wireframing stage, make sure you check and approve both each of your mockups and each of the user flows they are part of. The Wireframing stage can take up to 1-3 weeks.
As the Wireframing stage is complete, the UI/UX one kicks off.
Here you must discuss with your developers and approve all the screens, including their color scheme.
All the UI-related details must be reflected in the technical specification that will be used during the development of the application.
The coming into being of a mobile app’s look and feel takes an average of 1-2 weeks. It is also during the UI/UX stage that your developers must come up with an estimate for the project. This estimate must detail the resources required to implement the project and the project’s timeline.
Typically, making an estimate takes one day.
As the UI/UX designs of your mobile application are completed, the Application Development per se starts.
The time the coding of your app takes can vary very widely. This depends on the size of your mobile application, the number of features it includes, the degree of the project’s complexity, and the size of your development team. Unfortunately, it is unlikely you can influence the duration of this time period in any way.
In this regard, it should be emphasized that most attempts to achieve significant time savings during the Application Development stage by increasing the number of mobile developers fall through and only complicate the development process. They quite considerably increase the time spent on checking the quality of the code and some other procedures.
Besides, each added developer inflates the required budget by approximately 10-15% due to the time spent on the increased amount of communication, meetings, pull request reviews, and so on. In other words, if you expect two developers to do twice as much work as one developer does within a month’s time, they will most likely need not 4, but 5 weeks to fulfill the task.
Simultaneously, if there is a real need to expand your mobile development team, your time estimates should allow for the increased amount of communication and coordination within the team.
The testing of your mobile application kicks off during the App Development stage ( i.e. when the software is still under development) and runs in parallel with the development.
If you use Agile, your project builds are typically tested upon the completion of each sprint, or even upon the completion of a specific feature.
Usually, you need to conduct multiple types of testing – Usability, Performance, Functional, Security, UX, Regression – and no compromise on this can normally be allowed.
The testing of the beta version of an app, usually performed already by its target audience, takes roughly twice longer.
How to Find a Software Development Company: Best Practices
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and puzzled by the vast number of IT providers that offer mobile app outsourcing services. What are the criteria you need to factor in to make the best of this crucial choice?
The right app development outsourcing destination
Whenever you are thinking of how to outsource app development, regardless of the kind of application you need, the outsourcing destination you choose carries a lot of weight. The major software outsourcing geographies are universally known. Among others, they include South Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe. How to pick the software outsourcing geography that will benefit your project the most?
First off, you need to consider the time zone. This factor has a lot of influence on two things: the quality and frequency of your interactions with your mobile software outsourcing provider and the pace at which your project will be implemented.
The ideal outsourcing geography would be one whose time zone either coincides with your one, or allows an overlap of 3-4 hours. In the latter case, you will have enough time for the communication with your developers. Simultaneously, your project will be running round the clock, if you have any in-house team.
Cultural proximity is another major factor to consider. Your project stakeholders are more likely to establish a good working rapport with your offshore team, if your location shares cultural similarities with that of your provider.
The right choice of a specific provider of mobile app outsourcing services
Suitable industry and solution class expertise
Next, you need to choose a specific mobile software development company in the geography of your choice. What to look at in the first place?
First and foremost, your provider must offer mobile development as part of their staple service offering.
Secondly, they must have both experience in the development of mobile software for your vertical or business niche and experience with the class or type of mobile apps your app belongs to.
For example, if you need an enterprise mobility solution, check if your mobile software provider has this kind of experience. If you need a mobile app to become part of a feature-rich enterprise-grade solution, check if your provider candidate has handled this kind of mobile development before – the ability to present complex functionality in a succinct manner can be key here.
A significant portion of the present-day mobile applications use various AI technologies. These technologies include Speech Recognition, Natural Language Technology, Machine Learning, Image Recognition, Emotion Recognition, Chatbots, Big Data, and more. Needless to say that if you intend to use any of these technologies in your mobile app, you should factor this technology in as yet another requirement for your mobile app outsourcing provider.
Mobile app development outsourcing is almost always associated with creating a software application from the ground up. Because of this, if what you have in mind is a full-blown mobile application, you should look for a company that provides end-to-end mobile software development.
This means that the company of your choice must be engaged in creating full-value software products, and not only in providing mobile software development services as part of IT Staff Augmentation or Dedicated Development Team arrangements.
Putting it differently, they must have highly qualified Business Analysts to collect and analyze the requirements for your mobile app. They must be able to create a detailed functional specification, build an MVP, craft the UI, develop the required functionality, and provide cross-platform development, if required. Besides, your mobile development provider must be able to test the developed mobile app using an array of testing approaches (we’ll dwell on this later in the article) and make the app seamlessly interact with your Web-enabled solution (if this is required). Lastly, the your mobile app development company must be able to provide the aftersale support.
The Business Analysis capacity of your application development outsouring company matters even more if you need a mobile business intelligence (BI) app or an enterprise mobile app.
The following table illustrates these and some other pivotal factors that are imperative to consider when making a choice of your provider of mobile app outsourcing.
|Company||Full-cycle of software development, ability to implement a project from scratch||Ability to start and scale up fast||Ability to bridge an expertise gap||Startup background, MVP development experience, fast MVP/PoC development||Industry Experience|
|SPD Technology||Multiple complex IT products developed from the ground up||– Project kickoff within 2-3 weeks.
– Team scaling from 0 to 100+ in a month
|– Numerous startup products developed
– Extensive MVP development experience
– MVP development within 3-4 weeks
|Company 1||Only team extension experience by means of Dedicated Teams||Project kickoff within 1-2 months||AI||No MVP development experience||– eCommerce
|Company 2||Staff Augmentation experience||Ability to provide 1-2 experts only||Inability to provide newer technologies||No standalone MVP development experience||No continuity in terms of industry-expertise|
Lastly, make a point of asking your provider candidate for any relevant case studies. Pay attention to the precise role the company’s mobile developers have played in the corresponding projects. Also, check their testimonials on Clutch, GoodFirrms, and Quora.
For instance, as a B2B review, ratings, and research site Clutch uses a diverse array of qualitative and quantitative factors to help get familiar with IT providers and pick the one that fits you best. These factors include company experience, client reviews, market presence, and industry recognition. Importantly, the reviews come from verified customers.
Although the site offers 9 levels of Sponsored listings, it is also easy to identify those companies that gain high rankings due to the high Ability to Deliver Score that is calculated based on the company’s client reviews, brand presence in the target market, and past work experience.
Suitable Project Management and communication process
Basically, you can outsource mobile software development using one of a host of Project Management methodologies and organize your interactions with your mobile development team accordingly. However, it is still better to take a few nuances into consideration before you make a choice.
If you want more control over the process of your mobile app’s development and want its functionality to be in close keeping with some demanding business goals, you should probably opt for Agile. This approach will allow you to keep close tabs on all the deliverables and minimize the odds of discrepancies. You may also be able to make some valuable additions on the fly in collaboration with your mobile developers.
At the same time, while making a choice in favor of Agile, you need to be sure you will have enough time for in-depth involvement in the project. Your (or your other project stakeholders’) inability to attend even some of the frequent meetings or provide feedback on time can seriously hamper the development.
Similar to Agile, Scrum is another development methodology that is well-suited to mobile software development.
Scrum provides a great deal of flexibility. It allows one to promptly get rid of ambiguities and roadblocks. It also makes it possible to closely supervise tasks’ fulfillment.
Scrum can become your optimal choice if you have a motivated mobile development team with a proactive problem-solver at the helm and need to develop a mobile app, whose functionality goes well beyond the basics.
If you are looking to develop a relatively small mobile app that takes just a couple of developers to implement, and want the process to be transparent and simple, you can choose Waterfall. This methodology works perfectly well for small mobile projects.
Cost of Outsourcing Mobile App Development
As the price of mobile software development services varies widely, it most probably makes sense for you to cut it by half at once by looking for mobile developers in a well-known nearshore or offshore outsourcing location.
As SPD Technology’s R&D facilities are based largely in Ukraine, we’ll quote the average local pricing for you to feel the difference. On average, the services of a mid-level mobile app developer cost approximately $45 per hour here, while those of a senior mobile developer can cost up to $80 per hour.
As the second step toward a cost-efficient implementation of your mobile software development project, you can choose a more suitable pricing model. For example, if you have a project with a small scope and a correspondingly small project budget, you should choose the Fixed Time Fixed Cost pricing model.
Overall, you should generally be able to develop a conventional mobile app with basic functionality for around $ 50K, while a sizable mobile app with wide-ranging functionality can cost you up to $ 500K.
Pick The Right Engagement Model for Outsourcing Apps
Engagement models are ways to structure and manage your relationship with your offshore mobile app development provider. These models detail such relationships and make the stipulated details of the cooperation binding for both the parties. The more common engagement models you can use include Staff Augmentation and Dedicated Development Team.
Dedicated Development Team
The Dedicated Development Team engagement model is a type of engagement, whereby your custom software development provider puts together a team of experts, who have a grasp of the required tech stack and will be engaged in implementing only your project. When required, dedicated Teams can either operate as standalone units, or be used to expand your in-house development team.
A Dedicated Team can be managed by either a qualified project stakeholder on your end, or by your software outsourcing provider’s Project Manager.
Dedicated Team is an engagement model that is most often used in conjunction with the Time and Material pricing model. In terms of mobile software development, this conjunction often represents the most secure and convenient way to implement more complex and sizable mobile software development projects.
The Staff Augmentation model allows you to augment an in-house development team. Therefore, if you have a team of mobile developers in-house, but you need to add one or two more developers to this team, you can use the Staff Augmentation model.
The Staff Augmentation model is conveniently used in conjunction with the Time and Material pricing model.
Need help with mobile app development outsourcing?
Book a free meeting with our experts to find out how we can help you to build your project according to your business vision.Book a Meeting
The Pricing Models for Outsourcing Mobile App Development
Time and Material
Under the Time and Material model, you pay for the resources spent by your model app development team at an hourly rate.
The Time and Material pricing model that is more suitable for the development of complex mobile applications and mobile apps with a medium degree of complexity.
During the development, the functionality of such mobile apps can be undergoing frequent changes. The new features can significantly affect the project scope and time-to-market. The Time and Material model is flexible enough to support such changes. It can be conveniently used in conjunction with Agile methodologies. These methodologies are frequently used in implementing more complex and large-scale mobile software development projects.
The advantages of the Time and Material model also include very low risks. This concerns both the client and their mobile development company. The model allows greater control over the development process for the client. It also enables a reduced time-to-market due to a shorter requirements gathering phase.
Fixed Cost Fixed Time
If you have a relatively simple mobile app, you can use the Fixed Cost Fixed Time engagement model.
Under this model, you define the project scope and project deliverables in collaboration with your mobile app development agency. They provide the project duration and project cost you agree upon with them. In other words, you know the project budget and your product’s time-to-market yet before the project’s kick-off.
Often, the Fixed Cost Fixed Time model is beneficial in that you don’t have to spend much time on supervising your project’s implementation. You also know the deadline when your mobile app is to be delivered by your provider.
Mobile app development outsourcing risks
The risks and pitfalls of mobile app development outsourcing are significant enough to get familiar with them before your project starts.
The first group of risks we’d like to dwell on are those associated with project-related Planning.
One of the more serious planning mistakes in mobile software development is skipping the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage. An MVP embodies a product’s more meaningful features and allows one to test these features. Implementing a project without an MVP results in products with excessive and overcomplicated functionality.
Quite often, too little time is allowed for the testing of mobile apps, which results in bug-ridden mobile applications. Ideally, any mobile application must undergo several types of testing we have mentioned before.
In a sense, the whole of your mobile software development project should be budget-defined or budget-driven. You should define your project budget at the very beginning and then proceed from this budget in planning your project scope and the functionality to be developed.
This will help you achieve two goals: avoid excessive spending on the less important features and find a suitable, budget-friendly development partner.
Development and security risks
Your mobile development team should adhere to several guidelines that help eliminate or mitigate the more serious reasons for which your mobile app can become a flop.
The first such guideline is related to the ability of your mobile application to perform equally well in different OSs and on mobile devices that have screens of different sizes. It is imperative that your mobile developers address this by using responsive design and alternative layouts.
It should be said here that alternative layouts are a much more preferable option quality-wise. Unfortunately, it is also a more expensive option. Depending on the number of screens your mobile app has, using alternative layouts can increase the cost of this functionality by 15-60%.
Mobile application security
Any mobile app must be thoroughly safeguarded against a host of insidious security threats.
First of all, you need to protect your mobile app against malicious code and malicious attempts to take advantage of the cache data and past user sessions.
So, what needs to be done in this department?
To stave off or minimize these kinds of threats, one must uphold the platform guidelines of each of the platforms your mobile app will to run on.
Secondly, your developers must robustly secure your mobile app’s data storage. You can request them to do this by using reliable modern encryption means, for example, AES-256 or SHA-256 data encryption. It’s also possible to attain a very high level of data storage security for iOS by taking advantage of the ultra-secure Keychain database. You can enhance the security of the cryptographic key storage for Android by using Android Keystore.
For authentication purposes, you can use cryptography and encoding. To enhance your mobile app’s authentication security even further, one can also use compression. In this case, using multiple algorithms creates better defenses against fraudulent attempts.
Secure process of mobile software development
Besides your mobile software, it is vital to secure your mobile app development process in its own right.
In this sense, ensuring security cannot be seriously discussed in relation to a software application without touching upon the topic of NDAs and other legalwork.
As you probably know, you need to sign an NDA with your app development agency prior to the kickoff of your project. One more thing you should do is request them to sign an NDA with each of the mobile app developers they assign to your project. Besides, you can also request that these mobile app developers sign one or two more NDAs directly with your company – one indicating your location as the jurisdiction and another one – that of your application development provider.
Overall, it can be said that the outsourcing of a mobile app to an offshore app development agency can ensure a much higher level of security than dealing with remotely based freelancers. Regardless of this agency’s location, with their assistance any mobile app developer NDA can become a great deal more enforceable.
Destinations for Application Development Outsourcing
In 2023, the companies can hire additional talent anywhere in the world, However, three regions stand out: Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe. These regions offer reasonable development rates and diverse tech expertise for different business scenarios.
This region is close to the U.S., so that means a fair level of English, cultural match, and convenient work schedules for your U.S. development teams. The development rates are generally lower as compared with North America and Western Europe, but higher as compared with the other outsourcing destinations. The biggest tech hubs in this region are Argentina and Brazil, with Brazil taking 50% of the region’s outsourcing market.
This is a huge outsourcing market with India, China, and Indonesia as its main outsourcing destinations. It has an enormous talent pool, with over 4 million employees in the IT and outsourcing industry in India alone. Along with Africa, Asia has the lowest rates for software development.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of self-taught, entry-level experts charging low for their services. Those experts might fail during the development of your project. Another significant drawback is the lack of security and data protection in this area, with little to none guarantees from the government, as compared with the other regions.
The outsourcing destination for the leading international businesses, including Google, IBM, Deloitte, and Oracle. Eastern European countries have decades of outsourcing experience with a $100 billion + outsourcing market. The advantages include a large and diverse talent pool, a large selection of outsourcing companies with experience in almost any business vertical, and impressive tech expertise.
Probably, the biggest drawback of the Eastern European region is a significant time difference with the clients in the United States. However, with proper management techniques, this factor can be even turned into an advantage: one can set up a 24/7 workflow, whereby a team on one continent is working, while a team on the other continent is off.
Outsource Mobile App Development to SPD Technology
We have 17+ years of outsourcing software development experience. Our experts are developers with 5–10 years of experience and they know how to deliver end-to-end mobile application development services for the iOS and Android platforms using a wide range of popular and cutting-edge technologies. Our clients include such leaders in their respective industries, as Roche, Morningstar, PitchBook and Poynt.
With SPD Technology, you will get a long-term partnership, lasting from MVP stage to multi-year support of the released project. We will help you cut your time-to-market and keep your development budget at bay.
Have more questions about mobile app development outsourcing? Ask our experts!
Contact our experts to get a free consultation and time&budget estimate for your project.Contact Us