With all mobile apps have to offer, it’s not surprising that their usage is nearly universal among enterprise-size organizations.
This is the fifth article in a seven-part series outlining best-practices and advice for leveraging mobile apps for your business. To read part four, click here.
No matter which path a business follows in developing and deploying a mobile-app strategy, budgeting is best done through a comprehensive approach, suggests Stephanie Trunzo, chief operating officer at PointSource. Buying or developing the app and launching it into the app stores (which are the primary means of broad distribution for all kinds of apps, free or paid) are not the only expenses involved, and she advocates creation of a comprehensive budget for a first-phase mobile strategy that considers the following costs:
- Building a business plan, including strategy-session consultation with mobile experts to build sound objectives and a set of performance metrics.
- Research, to ensure the app or apps being adopted will be usable and useful. “Without this step, nearly nothing else matters in your budget,” she warns.
- Design and development (if you are building an app or having one created for you), which should include consideration of which platforms will be supported; responsive Web design (RWD), installable apps or a hybrid approach; form factors, i.e., phone, tablet, watch; and software licenses.
- Mobile launch, which encompasses not only the cost of getting the app into app stores (even if your app is free, there are generally costs involved when distributing it through app stores), but also the marketing and enablement costs of getting it into target users’ hands.
- Lifecycle management, to cover testing, defects, and maintenance (for custom-built apps); managing/updating to stay abreast of rapidly changing mobile technology; and understanding the feedback loop for realizing the benefit of this investment.
Todd Marks, CEO and co-founder of Mindgrub, says it’s important to make sure you include ongoing engineering and marketing support in your budget considerations, especially for purpose-built apps. He estimates engineering support to maintain app functionality going forward accounts for about 10 percent of most budgets for custom apps, less for off-the-shelf apps. “Ongoing marketing support is also required. Part of that marketing spend is for analysis of what features and functions your users are actually using,” he says. That feedback loop can inform your content and communication strategy and help you decide when to add new content.
“For business owners, it’s important to make a scalable investment,” Trunzo stresses. “Developed properly, a mobile-app strategy can stand the test of time and potentially be applied to multiple service applications across various aspects of your business as it grows.”
Part 6: What Mobile Apps Can Do For Your Business - Mistakes to Avoid