Welcome to the future, where the playing field has been levelled - building custom business-boosting apps on globally rated best-of-breed platforms is no longer the sole preserve of developers for, or in, big business environments
Finally, individual developers and small app development businesses will be able to build custom mobile apps without needing the backing of a R1m+ budget or big business. Traditionally you needed big business backing to stay innovative and experimental as a developer. Because of the scale of big business, the cost, the skewed ratio of development time to business value and the chance that an app might fail is worth the risk. That’s because it’s affordable only to large scale businesses and the risk/reward ratio is bearable. Big businesses are the only ones who have the sort of risk appetite to sustain expensive and long innovation processes and to allow developers to continuously innovate - they inevitably accept that app development costs a lot and takes time and budget and needs complicated tools and skills.
This places a lone developer, with sharp skills and a great concept, on the back foot – feeling for funding and business incubation while there might still be no guarantees of further funding to go to market at the end of the onerous development process.
The great news is that this phase of the app development era is at an end.
Not only are the leading development platforms becoming light years faster - cutting development time and cost and radically improving speed and flexibility, but one of the globally rated platform providers, has just partnered with OlivePaaS to launch their platform as an aPaaS (application Platform as a Service), changing the game for small business and individual developers. Allowing them entry at zero licence fees, (and at a low monthly cost, including the platform, hosting, maintenance and upgrade costs) into the preserve of large business.
Move aside Uber! The age of the small innovator has arrived.
Speed of development and radically improved time to market eliminates much of the risk attached to developing your own mobile app. While some developers are still trying to find ways to circumvent lengthy development times and the looming need for a seemingly never-ending sources of funding, others are moving fast toward SaaS (Software as a Service) or better, PaaS, as the enabler they have been waiting for - saving hard won funds for marketing.
Craig Terblanche Regional Director of OutSystems SA, (rated top in terms of their Platform offering by Forrester) concurs: “There is now a viable SaaS or even better, aPaaS (application platform as a service) solution on the market for developers with a great concept and the gumption to go it alone – and at a mere fraction of the cost. In fact, we believe that PaaS is more suitable for start-ups or small development businesses, offering them more of the non-core support they need. The OlivePaas offering is based around the dilemma of development times, business value and ensuring the correct strategic approach for smaller players.” It would seem as if the biggest challenge facing newcomers to the mobile app game are preconceptions regarding cost, resources and time.
These preconditions have been valid historically, but have now been blown out of the water. This new method of access to the best platforms of the world has changed the game for developers. It has in the past become reflex to seek out funding and incubation. And this funding is still needed – but to fund the much needed marketing of apps rather than their development. aPaaS packages crush upfront costs and time to value. Just watch those funders when you walk in looking for marketing support rather than development capital for your killer app idea.
The freedom to develop value
An agile, low-cost global-best aPaaS environment is an enabler with which small businesses and developers who can now use their existing skills to develop complex apps, linking legacy systems, across all platforms, in weeks, and at a fraction of the cost.
The app market didn’t start yesterday, and although this new development throws some of the old truisms into the bin, the correct approach and methodology is still critical in ensuring that new apps succeed. Developers would put themselves ahead of the game if they partnered with OlivePaaS provider that sports a team of veteran developers and business advisors as mentors providing the rudder that start-ups need to steer their app to success.
These advisors will tell you that a truly successful app is one that is delivered fast, once for all devices, is inherently built to accommodate quick changes and measurable impact. Making sure that the app is viable is the sharp end of the app development process. Says Craig: “We always suggest a Minimum Viable Product, or lean, approach to enable developers to ensure that their new app delivers the greatest return on investment versus the risk of development – which translates into a huge competitive advantage for new-comers.”
Naturally, it doesn’t end with a great mobile app – apps don’t market themselves, it doesn’t matter how amazing the idea is, development is just the tip of the iceberg, and that’s often where application developments end – as great ideas that no-one hears about. Practically then, it makes sense to spend the least amount of resources to develop the app versus and to maximise marketing spend.
App developers, start your engines…