When considering whether or not building a mobile application makes sense, there are typically three main areas that we should take into account to determine feasibility and potential ROI.
The first is the audience: how broadly will the application be used and by whom? Will that audience expand or contract over time? Is mobile, indeed, the best way to reach this audience?
The next consideration is that of the content itself: what is the message? What exactly, in terms of content, assets, and media do we intend to serve up to our audience? And, are these things easily consumed on a mobile or handheld device?
Finally, and often a significant point in the decision-making process: what is the cost of development? How much will it cost to create and finally deploy my app in the various app stores? What extra cost will be incurred at the onset of app usage? How will the users engage with the content?
As such, the possibilities with regards to both audience and content expand enormously: from sales materials to product brochures, from board presentations and annual reports to internal communication, an alarmingly large amount of this material is making its way to handheld devices. These days, smartphones are ubiquitous, most people are now very comfortable using a touchscreen device and even consuming large amounts of content over long periods of time on smaller screens. Also, the cost of development has stabilized as the pool of talented developers has grown.
Yes, value is also calculated in terms of sales on the app store or from in-app purchases. However, this is shifting. While these things are both still relevant, as the cost to develop apps decreases with an increase in audience engagement, businesses are finding value in places previously left unexplored. Over the last few years, we have witnessed a boom in mobile apps used in the enterprise, for a wide variety of uses well beyond the traditional email and basic connectivity offerings. Also, we are seeing more and more people working remotely and globally. A number of people in the workforce embrace mobile as a legitimate and powerful additional work device, no longer relegating handheld devices to offering only a complementary experience.
And yet, we still ask ourselves: where do we find the most value in mobile?
The answer is simple: the value proposition for mobile is finally at a sweet spot. Various factors that contribute to prioritizing mobile app creation are:
- More people using handheld devices.
- An abundance of content available via mobiles and tablets.
- The easing cost of development
But there’s more to the story. If it were simply these three ingredients, we might have a nice recipe and a decent meal. But, the truth is that another major factor has pushed the value of apps up: the elimination of specialized knowledge.
Apps are becoming easier and faster to build and, these days, require no specialized development knowledge. This represents a pronounced shift that is truly adding value to the app-building process. The cost of a platform solution and traditional design resources are much less than that of hiring a developer or development team to build apps from scratch.
“The cost of creating apps is low and the possibilities are endless.”
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