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Custom Application development – A Boon for Small Businesses

Posted In Business - By Techtiplib on Sunday, November 2nd, 2014 With No Comments »

Be it in the world of IT or any other field, the competition is fierce for small business organizations. The renowned companies, both large and small, pose a major challenge and to stay afloat in this cutthroat market, they need to update themselves and adapt to the changes. Moreover, there are approximately 23 million small businesses alone in USA. So, to stay strong here, these small organizations have to accept the changes. For instance many have realized the importance of customized application development and how it can make their business more flexible. A report states, small businesses save more than 725 million employee hours using mobile application. This has enhanced their productivity, reducing paperwork and at the same time meeting customer expectations.  

Development of the custom applications has grown over the ages. For instance, customer base for activation of custom apps have undergone an impressive growth of 77% between the fourth quarter of 2013 and first quarter of 2014. But before developing such an app, small organizations need to consider many factors. Here are some of the aspects, which required an in-depth thinking.

Application development

  • Even a few years ago, mobile technology was a costly affair. Hence, developing an application rested totally on the ‘necessity’ factor. But today, low cost and ease of deployment have made app just another everyday tool. However, decrease in development cost does not mean you can create application without considering whether it is right for your business. If you are customizing an app for internal use, you must ensure it eases the workflow of your employees. The application needs to increase productivity adequately, reduce time and expanses of business processes without complicating matters.

It would be wrong to state that custom application development doesn’t cost much. For a small business, resource is always a restricted factor. Hence, the app that has been developed for the use of their customers not only needs to be easy, but must be strong enough to retain customers. They need to take into account the mobility of the customer base and develop a useful application that generates revenue for their business.    

  • Building an app from the scratch is costly as well as time consuming, if you want the application to work on multiple devices. But it is not always possible to ensure return on investment even if small business owners want to have a maximum control over the development. In case you want to overcome this cost factor, developing device specific applications are relatively timely and affordable. There are even ready-made apps specific to your market, which allows you to customize it, as needed. This bridges “off-the-shelf” offerings and custom apps, which is definitely good news for the business owners.
  • Usually, small businesses start from small tests and then go for the bigger base. In other words, the customized application first aimed at minimizing the workload of the internal employees and after proper testing, these are opened out to the customers. The intention is to make the application error-free, when released in the market.  

Existing Market

With the declining cost of Smartphone or tablets, these have become a common device in hand of every individual. More than 55% of people, including both adults as well as children, now possess such gadgets. The ultimate intention of availing such devices is to access internet, to stay online and of course remain updated. Hence, statistics showed that mobile applications are in huge demand because users directly want to enter the web page rather than taking a longer path, i.e. through a browser. For instance, if a user decides to purchase a flight ticket, it will be easier to use an app rather than accessing the website through a browser and wait till it gets loaded and finally purchasing the ticket. Application saves a lot of time and this is what the small business owners inclined to achieve. The customized mobile application would help in expanding the business, utilizing time and producing quality results.      

Therefore, apps are made keeping in mind the expectations of the users. The more specific is the need, the app turn out to be niche, which helps to increase their reach. It can process customer orders, analyze data, helping businesses to identify strengths and weaknesses and make necessary improvements. As per the existing market structure, it has been found that Apple iOS is till leading the application activation platform and Android comes next in line. All these applications can now help smaller businesses to capture additional market share and allow them to outshine their competitors.

In the first quarter of 2014, the industries that opted for mobile computing are mostly from the financial sectors, business and professional services. Secure browsing application remains as the fifth most activated apps. The other top three activated Smartphone applications are mobile unified communications, document management and custom applications, whereas document editing, document management and custom applications again are the most popular tablet apps.

Upcoming trends

Small businesses have to keep a note on the upcoming trends, if they are determined to deploy business application. Here are some of the predictions that Forrester has complied, which can make a difference in the coming years.

  • Small organizations cannot ignore the importance of cloud computing. However, cloud deployment models are about to change, which will affect the economics of applications. Forrester report states that on-premises applications are tapped out. The upgraded software will be costly in regard to the customization factor. In future, software-as-a-service will be adopted by various industries because of its flexibility, stability and scalability aspects. 
  • The user experience will improve considerably. There will be rich graphical features along with embed analytics, direct customer interactions and decision support. The application will be more focused on business outcome, making it more competitive.
  • Customization of apps intended to work efficiently. Forrester talks about componentization, which will break the traditional pattern. The developers will blend the best elements to create the app, helping smaller businesses to scale up their abilities and be more flexible in the market.

Now if you are still wondering, whether to spend your resources to create an application, then here are a few facts.

  • The number of people using smart devices is too high, so it you want your small business to grow, maintaining an engaging mobile presence has somewhat turned out to be an obligatory.
  • Your application allows you to get connected to your customers, no matter where they are.
  • You cannot deny the fact that mobile application has helped businesses to remain active and engaged as well.

Website is important, but custom application has its own share of profit that small businesses can enjoy. The increased exposure in the market will augment the profit potential without exhausting resources. Even if pre-packaged software offers you with enough tools and technology but your business may not meet the specific needs. On the other hand, customization apps are tailored to meet requirements of your business, integrating with your existing software.

It is advised to measure the productivity level of the application to avoid the risk involved in customization. Make it sure that your ROI is higher than the investment made in the development process. If your customized application is flawless and effective, rest assured that it will stay strong in the market because mobile apps are widely in use these days.

Author Bio:

Pradip Sengupta is the President and CEO of IPS Technology Services. He shares with his readers latest information on custom application development, IT staffing, digital marketing and other technologies that are much on demand.

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