You need an app. It may not be a popular, public-facing app like Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram. It might not even be a mobile app. In all likelihood, you just need some unsexy, internal-facing program without even much of a user interface. There’s just one problem – you may not have a lot of experience with app development, and all you may know is that apps cost money.
There’s no upper ceiling on the price of an app. If you’re not developing in-house, hiring an independent developer can cost from $75 -- $400 an hour. In addition, there’s no guarantee that your application will do what it needs to do or gain internal adoption. About 14 percent of all internal IT projects fail outright, 31 perfect fail to meet their goals, and over 40 percent fail to remain under budget.
With that said, there are more ways to succeed than there are ways to fail. You can create a successful application that fits its purpose and – equally important – remains under budget. Here are a few things to consider.
1. Deliver a Minimum Viable Product
Under the Agile Mindset, your development approach will focus on delivering the smallest functional increment of work. In other words, your product might just be a command line interface with no user interface, but if it works, you can put it into production. A GUI can wait for the next sprint.
What this approach does is mitigate the opportunity for scope creep. When a project takes too long, it goes over budget. If you start worrying about bells and whistles before you complete the core functionality of the project, you’re going to take too long.
With this said, you can’t code too recklessly. You still need to get input from stakeholders, GRC requirements, security requirements, uptime requirements, and more. Ideally, the Agile philosophy adds your entire organization to the development process (but it’s okay to take baby steps).
2. Consider Fewer Bells and Whistles
In an internal-facing app, the bells and whistles aren’t external. Instead, they’re infrastructure. It’s very possible, for example, that your developer or someone in your technology department will try to sell you on containers, microservices, or Kubernetes.
In fairness, none of the above are an automatic “no.” Microservices help make your application more stable, containers make your application more flexible, and Kubernetes helps to orchestrate your containers. What you should worry about, however, is whether the capabilities that these technologies add will be worth the added expense.
If most of your developers aren’t familiar with these new methods, it will cost money to train them. Kubernetes has a licensing cost. Cloud storage has fees that can spike dramatically with use. Using newer technology when appropriate can make a dramatic improvement in performance, while reducing time to production, but you have to know exactly when it will help.
3. Do it Yourself?
You may not know how to code – but can you make a PowerPoint slide deck? Can you create an Excel spreadsheet? Then Microsoft gives you the tools to make an application.
Power Apps is an innovative tool from Microsoft that gives users the power to make applications without coding them. Instead of talking about how this works, let’s first jump to the bottom line – this approach has led to a 70 percent reduction in app development costs.
Power Apps works via a visual interface. You create your user interface and tell the buttons what they’re supposed to do. On the backend, Power Apps automatically generates code that replicates the functionality you need. Notably, Power Apps lets you create applications with serious horsepower. You can integrate artificial intelligence, implement granular business logic, and import data from your CRM and other databases. In short, Power Apps is the real deal when it comes to development, and it lets you realize your application at an extremely reduced cost.
Let KiZAN Help You with Your Next Business Application
Whether you’re creating a sophisticated line of business application, a mobile app, or something else, KiZAN can help. We’ll develop a custom application that can integrate with your systems, empower your mobile workforce, streamline your processes and more.
Posted by Brad Watson
As KiZAN’s B2B Ambassador, my job is to cut through the buzzword clutter. With a background in broadcasting, writing, advertising, software development, and business ownership, I’m uniquely positioned to help you deflate the “marketing fluff” and identify solutions for the “true” needs of your organization.