differences-customer-support-customer-success

The Difference Between Customer Support and Customer Success Teams

When we talk about your business product or service, there is no doubt that both support and success teams are considered as essential assets for the entire customer lifecycle. Since customer support and customer success are often intertwined, we think that is critical to define and understand their differences and roles, especially when your company’s output is based on a certain tech infrastructure.

Customer support – A necessary way to be there for your customers.

Dedicated support teams pursue to ensure customer satisfaction through ongoing technical support for a certain product or service. These kinds of teams solve customer’s challenges, questions and concerns regarding individual issues and provide technical guidance. For a better understanding, we should define a couple of specific traits.

Removes obstacles

Regardless of the customer support channel – email, chat or call – the team in charge solves their problems as soon as customers submit a ticket or send an email, not before. Thus, the role of customer support is to meet their needs in a reactive manner, meaning that whenever an issue emerges they take care of it. In this way, a support team removes any kind of obstacles when it emerges in customer’s direct interaction path by providing necessary resources such as documentation or self-service portals.

Focuses on cost

The number of favorable customer experiences is inversely proportional to financial losses. In other words, based on Nicereply point of view, if a support team provide efficient solutions for customer’s problems, the churn rate, which means here the annual percentage at which customers stop subscribing to a service, will be reduced. However, support teams aren’t strictly a centered-cost department, as originally built, they can also impact revenue by advising on common reasons for churn or identify upsell and cross self-opportunities in their conversations with your business customers.

Has short-term objectives

According to Hubspot, support interactions are transactional which means when a customer submits a certain issue or question, those are solved by a support assistant – and may have in view immediate technical or usage issues. After all, the main purpose of support teams is to solve specific issues as quickly as possible in order to drive customer satisfaction, which is the main baseline for success teams.

Customer success – The next step in scaling customer experience.

From Gainsight perspective, customer success manages company-customer interactions and aligns client and vendor goals for mutually beneficial outcomes. Success teams influence revenue through their proactive actions in order to accomplish long-term objectives, but we will talk about all of these attributes below:

Uses proactive strategies

The main objective of a success team consists in initiating conversations with your customers before they contact you. Therefore, they have to be proactive, meet their needs, anticipate them and identify opportunities to solve problems that they are not yet confronted with, but they might be. Identifying these solutions in advance must be based on the company’s long-term objectives. Their job is to make sure that customers understand the full potential and value they can achieve from your product/service. In other words, success teams ensure insights-access for users regarding the most efficient way to use your solution and adopt it on a long-term.

Focuses on revenue

In this context, when we talk about scaling your business, customer success teams play their main role. They focus less on technical issues and more on the aspects that are directly related to business development. So they drive expansion via churn-reduction as in decreasing the number of unsubscribed customers and up-selling, cross-selling, referrals techniques in order to promote your business solutions.

Customer Success provides a whole mechanism not only for uncovering upsell and cross-sell opportunities but also for gaining advantage from them. Besides that, it’s the most desirable way to initiate reduction, helping subscription growth for a certain product or service.

Has long-term objectives

Success team’s interactions don’t have an end-point. As we mentioned earlier, they look at the entire customer’s process lifecycle in order to solve universal adoption issues and other common narrows that prevent users from achieving their goals. Moreover, as Gainsight believes, ensuring customer success brings about a significant positive impact on businesses as they focused on increasing retention, repeated purchases or lifetime value.

Different roles, same team

To conclude, support and success teams provide services for customers and help them generate value for your company. Both of them focus on successfully integrate the product or service in your users’ lifecycle with each aid, improving retention, boosting value, and increasing advocacy. The best businesses succeed in bringing support and success together, leveraging their differences to consolidate this entire process of removing obstacles that prevent your business customers from achieving their goals.


lucrul la propriul produs digital sau maturizarea unei companii de IT

Working on your own digital product or how to scale a IT company

Digital/online products have been on my mind from a while now and I strongly believe that they are the future of IntelligentBee. Even if we started out as a outsourcing and services company, we developed our own products accordingly to our vision and mission as a company. Our progress turned into establishing our own Product team.

Regarding the opportunities that one can find on our local IT industry, you can find more from the following interview:

 

Considering the process of technical globalization, more and more software companies are starting to develop online in-house products, leaving the competitors behind. More and more people from online are willing to contribute to this movement, yet the question on everyone’s mind is: What’s next?

We talked to Costi Teleman, CEO at IntelligentBee, a Iasi based IT company, to find out a series of useful insights.

 

Costi, could you tell us why there is such a dilemma among people with a vast experience in digital?

Generally, their career are built through an ascendant path. They have the possibility of learning, guided by experienced people for specific areas, they follow up a well established hierarchy and enjoy a financial safety and recreational benefits, yet there comes a time when you want to put your fingerprint on a project that implies full responsibility.

That is why, most people of online, from beginners to advanced, choose to be a part of a start-up with a business vision in the long run which includes developing your own digital products rather than be part of a well established company on the market.

 

What are the professional perspectives they have in this case?

For the ones that reached the highest peak of their career and wish to use their skills to develop a project which will bring a major impact on web tech market, it’s important to know that more and more companies change their business model and develop their own digital products.

 

What are the advantages in this kind of business?

The advantages are multiple.

First of all, you can bring value to your team through your thinking and your skills. Being responsible for the success of your own product and your own team will highlight the contribution that you bring to the company. It can scare you or it can be the most satisfying moment for the ones that want to share their knowledge and have a progressive thinking.

Also, as a member of the team, you are a pacesetter for IT industry through the developed products. With a reduced execution time, you can deliver exactly what you know, yet you can learn new principles regarding digital products and its consumers.

More than that, you will succeed to establish a series of activities that will help you to leave your fingerprint on digital environment. For that kind of activities you are willing to compromise, to sacrifice a weekend or to add a longer sprint in order to obtain the desired results.

 

Where you can find teams such as the one described by you?

The most encountered option is leaving the city or even the country, but now, people of online from Iasi and from Moldova in general, can found teams of Product Development in software companies from Iasi and IntelligentBee is one of them. Until now we developed a series of our own products and we wish to offer the chance of stepping up to digital enthusiasts.

 

Could you tell us more about IntelligentBee?

IntelligentBee is an outsourced software development and technical support company from Iasi. Our aim in our 8 years of activity was to deliver dedicated engineering and technical support teams that will align fast to the business objectives of our customers, becoming an extension of their internal departments.

Besides that, developing of our own digital products has become a core of our mission as a company. We built our own Product department with people that are not willing to “play” it safe, yet they want to be recognized for the developed digital products. The desire of this department is to bring value to the industry.

 

How would you describe the Product team of IntelligentBee?

First of all, our Product team is formed of people good at their jobs, mastering their know-how, capable to deliver from their first day. We can add up the 4 values that guide our activity, the 4H: Honest, Happy, Humble and Hungry.

The teams from IntelligentBee are formed from people that are open, honest, admit their mistakes, take full responsibility and always offer constructive feedback. They accept every challenge and celebrate every success and have the will to learn more and more.

 

What are the advantages for the ones interested in Product teams?

  • They can develop their coordination abilities.
  • Will work with a team that fully understands the technical process of developing a product.
  • Will work for a project in which quality is more important than time.
  • The possibility of exposing their ideas regarding the development process of the product
  • Liberty to take a decision regarding the development process of the product
  • Can develop a product that can make a statement on the market
  • The possibility of launching new ideas
  • They will be part of a company that has both the work and the fun
  • They will not work for us, they will work with us for developing our own digital products

 

In conclusion, what kind of specialists is IntelligentBee looking for its Product team?

I believe that every company who decides to invest in their own products are looking for specialists, not only IntelligentBee. We are looking for people that can execute the products that we want to develop and people that have the know-how for promoting them. Basically, people that are willing to get out of their comfort zone and want to make a statement in the digital market.

 

Would you work with a compact team for their own digital products against a multinational company? Why?

 


3-reasons-why-you-should-grow-with-golang

3 reasons why you should grow with Golang

Why Golang became the way for many companies?

Let’s start answering to this question through an imagination exercise. Did you ever confront with that kind of frustration of dealing with complexity generated by very large teams of people working on very large pieces of software written languages with large feature sets? Well, as you might know already, Golang was created to solve that kind of frustration. Then, why not using it to increase your business?

In the end, Golang is your friend, but not your friend at a party asking you to take a taxi back home, it is your friend at an intervention telling you that he’s thrown all the alcohol out of the window. BBC Worldwide enjoyed such a friend when it implemented Golang in different areas, as a backend for different games (mobile and social) in production and development, Social Media crawlers and scrapers for an internal analytics product and web services that front various object stories.

But how exactly will that kind of friend help your business? Let’s find out from other small and middle businesses that grew with Golang.

A faster development process

Golang has the speed of a compiled language, but the feel of an interpreted language. Moreover, has clean syntax with text-based workflow, minimalistic design, and clear language specification. Thus, you can learn a language and become productive real fast. You can write the code fast, and even faster compilation speeds allow for a rapid feedback style. And speedy development means saving time and money for your company.

For example, Dnsimple found operation Golang processes in production to be relatively painless. They used their own flavor of continuous delivery. Actually, deployment was a breeze, and they had the application running in production shortly after deciding to do so. Both memory and CPU usage are at least an order of magnitude lower than the Ruby application they used before Golang.

Another business that chooses to grow with Golang was Toggl. They decided to re-implement some part of their backend with it. So far, it has paid off, as the development process was fast, and deployment surprisingly simple. The resulting code was a big improvement in terms of speed.

Mender also discovered that Golang has more core languages features and libraries that allows much faster development of applications. This means that more Mender features had been developed for the community and users much faster than if C was chosen as the main language. As it is a compiled language, Golang runs natively and very efficiently on embedded devices. Moreover, it provides wide platform coverage from cross-compilation to support different architectures.

And one of Heroku favorite productivity gains was provided by Golang’s source formatter: gofmt. Deploying Doozer was satisfying simple. Golang builds statically linked binaries which means Doozer has no external dependencies.

In the end, you’ll have a product much more performant in terms of CPU load, memory usage and more. The reason is that Golang is focused on fast compiling and faster runtunes. For Digg, their average response time from their service was almost cut in half, their timeouts were happening on time and their traffic spikes had minimal effects on the service.

Minimum maintenance costs

Even if switching to Golang will cost your business in terms of initial development time, you’ll recoup that time in maintenance costs. Which is usually way more than the time to develop a feature.

Golang is lighting fast, and it’s perfect for serving up your applications. In fact, it’s so efficient that Moovweb not only built some small part of their platform in Golang, but now it is the heart of their tech. Their SDK is a compiled binary that they pack and send out to their clients and integration partners. Their production system is handling millions of pages a day and millions of dollars of e-commerce a month.  And as Digg was having difficulty with handle fast their requests for their platform, they moved to Golang as well. With their Golang upgrade, they’ve been able to handle 200 requests per minute and 1,5 million S3 item fetches per day.

Another powerful aspect of Golang is the way to which it hands object orientation. Golang has a notion of an interface used to identify a capability of an object and where it can be used. CloudFlare explored its advantage in their own work. Moreover, at CloudFlare, goroutines are now handling both the multiplexed Internet connections (of which there could be many between a single CloudFlare data center and their client) and the connections needed to get content from origin web servers and provide the content back to the nginx server that sends it on to the web browsers.

Golang and an easier HR process

When it comes to HR in a business focused on web development or depends on this activity, using a functional language make hiring and training new people more difficult. But not anymore, thanks to Golang because it’s concurrency makes writing software that must scale up and down very easy.

While the pool of Golang developers is definitely smaller from what we’ve seen, the people who are excited/knowledgeable about Golang tend to be developers who are truly interested in learning new things and pushing the envelope.

Because of the simple fact that is open-sourced and much more simpler than other languages, Golang makes developers feel that is in more control over the product that he is creating or maintaining. Golang has libraries for HTTP, raw network connections, URL manipulation, TLS, many different types of serialization systems, cryptographic hashing, compression, and the more mundane string manipulation, date/time, and logging. He will feel like in case of problems, he doesn’t depend on the creator to fix his issues.

For example, Movio discovered for the first time ever, that they actually can read the language spec when they were unsure of how something works. That’s how simple it is; the spec is readable. An approachable and complete guide to the language strengths developer confidence in making assumptions while following a piece of code and in justifying their decision-making rationale.

It the end, your business will gain in terms of time, reputation and money if your developers aren’t fighting the language they have to use in developing products. Take a look at Moovweb. They remote all their internal software in Golang and they saw how fast new users/employees have learned it.

 

In conclusion, Golang code tends to look ready for the public much sooner than most other languages, it provides a much stronger feeling of comfort to the developer, and the community embraces small-simple solution over big-sophisticated ones.

So, how about giving it a Go?


App monetization 101

App Monetization Strategy 101: How to Set Your App for Success

The first rule to find a good mobile app monetization strategy is that there is no one-size-fits-all kind of solution. If you’ve landed on this page looking for that, there is no miracle we can work out for you.

But if you have an app idea and you’re thinking of turning it into reality, there is a series of questions you should answer to first.

Before anything, you should know as much as you can about your target audience:

  • who they are
  • why they need your product
  • what kind of needs you can solve and
  • how they can be delighted in the long run.

App monetization 101

After you’ve figured out the way who your audience is and the best way to get to it, you should start thinking of app monetization strategies.

Many next-to-brilliant business ideas die before blooming because their creators failed to take the time to think of a good, old long-term plan before putting pen to paper. Approximately 80% of startups fail because they don’t pinpoint key points of the business plan.

In order for your app to gain traction, you will have to think of a business model that is based on user-added value. One of the most important indicators of this business model is the way you are going to generate revenue from your app.

At this moment, approximately 2% of the existing apps account for more than half of the money generated by app users. To count yourself in, you’ll have to come up with a solution that will answer some important long-term questions, featured below. As most of the American smartphone users still download zero apps per month, there is room to develop the app market even further.

Who is your target audience?

To answer this question, you will have to start building user personas for your app-to-be. As much as your product will provide a significant advantage to a niche audience, you can’t afford to have a single persona interested in your product.

A persona is a fictional person that represents an entire group of people, with the same characteristics that make it a potential client of your app. When promoting a product, marketing and salespeople use personas to make the communication more personal and to understand the reasons that would make a target segment consume your product.

Each persona will have a name, a job, a relationship status, interests and passions and everything that makes it real enough for you to relate to its needs.

Once you’ve established the problem that you are going to solve for each persona, communicating about your product will be much easier, as you can focus on efforts on offering a specific advantage.

If you’ve got an app idea that you think will be the next big thing among your target audience, but you can only think of one homogenous group of people who may take interest in that product, one of two things may be happening:

Create User Personas

A) You haven’t divided your audience well enough.

The way you segment your audience can become really important. While everybody who uses your product will get the same features, in the end, the advantages these features bring them can make the difference between choosing you over your competitors.

Because of this, it is highly relevant to position yourself differently for different parts of your audience. Suppose you have developed an app that identifies your location. While all the users will be getting the same thing out of your new product, their advantages differ significantly. Parents will be happy to know where their children are, teenagers will be glad to stalk that girl from class who they’re afraid to confess their love to, and young people will find it easier to catch up with their friends during lunch break.

Your product won’t appeal as much to young people aged 27 to 35 if you’re presenting your product as an app that allows you to stalk your crush from the comfort of your home. To make sure that you haven’t forgotten any audience segment, think of all the possible reasons why different people may enjoy your product.

Once you’ve done that, arrange these audience segments in the order of their importance. Who are the two or three personas that may make your app popular? Who is the persona that’s most likely to pay for additional features of your app?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you will later start drawing short-term and long-term objectives that you’ll link to different personas, as well as the concept that will best encapsulate your product’s identity.

 

B) You have only identified a segment of your potential audience.

If the entire audience you’ve identified consumes your product for the same advantage and you cannot differentiate between segments, you should start looking for other potential targets for your products.

There is virtually no product out there that can be consumed by one homogenous group of people. Once you’ve made sure that your audience can’t be broken down into more specific sets, you should think of other people who could take an interest in your app.

What is different about your product?

In order to make your product stand out from all the other millions of apps in the play store, you have to identify the advantage or set of advantages that would make users choose it over competitors’ products.

Designing a functional app simply isn’t enough if you have monetization in mind. The best start point for this is to chart your competitive position.

Look for all the actors on the market and see what they brought different to the table. Identify what’s missing for a better overall interaction of your user with the app, and try to provide it to your target audience.

Why is your differentiator a relevant advantage for your target?

A product that is just different will never generate revenue (or it will rarely do and everyone will be either amazed or appalled). Having a functional app that generates revenue is a matter of sweating and laboring and steady growth.

The reason this difference you ‘come up with’ matters is that your target audience should choose your app because of this specific feature that all the other apps managed to ignore, despite it being crucial for the user experience.

 

After you’ve gone through all these steps, it’s time to check the most important monetization strategies that you can use for your app.

Finding a strategy

In-app Ads

The mechanism behind this strategy works well for services that people don’t have the incentive to pay for. Depending on how much value it has or how industry-specific your application is, you may want to take this app monetization strategy into consideration.

 

Let’s see how it works:

  1. When downloading the application, users will provide data enrichment platforms with information about their behavior, interests and a general user profile.
  2. The platform sells user profile data to marketers who want to target specific kinds of audiences in their campaigns, in order to optimize ad relevance.
  3. Marketers place targeted ads into the platform, and they have to pay for app space and exposure, as well as other key performance metrics, such as the number of clicks, how qualified the leads are and how many people actually become conversions after having seen a well-placed, relevant ad.
  4. The advertising space is data driven and the exposure generates revenue to the platforms. At their turn, these platforms redirect part of their money to the apps that give them advertising space.
  5. Due to this economic mechanism, users have access inside the apps for free, while app creators can still generate revenue, charging marketers for advertising placement.

 

When not to use this app monetization strategy

Depending on the app you’re building, you may want to think twice before using this strategy. When deciding what app monetization strategy you should use, the most important thing to take into account is the profile of your persona.

More than just one persona will be interested in your app, as we’ve established above. In this case, you should consider whether any of the personas you’re targeting is willing to pay for the kind of service that you’re offering.

If the app you’re building provides a clean solution to a current problem that your users may experience, you could ask users to pay for a premium service. However, if your app is a small interactive game or a simple solution to a tiny problem that doesn’t interfere with your users’ day to day activities, then in-app ad monetization is a good fit for your business.

In-app ads

In-app Purchases

In order for this model to work, you will have to think of either digital or physical goods or services that you can offer the users who are willing to pay for them. The vast majority of games out there use this monetization strategy, because once a game becomes addictive, users will be tempted to pay for a better experience. Of course, other apps use it too, especially since this kind of monetization is favored by users.

Before getting started with this monetization model, you will have to come up with an elaborate plan for the types of products that you are going to be selling through your app.

If it ever so conveniently happens that your application is a fun, addictive game, your problem is half-solved. The user base will be interested in spending more and more time playing your interactive game and, once they start to feel the frustration of not being able to level up or evolve fast enough, they will be more than willing to pay for a little in-game help.

Suppose your app is actually a carefully organized online store, you should answer a few questions before your application hits the play store:

 

a) Why should users buy from me and not my competitors?

When answering to this question, you should identify the key advantages that your product has by comparison with your competitors. Finding your unique selling proposition (USP) is a good and necessary starting point. Think of it as one advantage to rule them all.

 

b) Why should users buy from the app and not the actual store?

This is a legitimate question if you already have a store that you manage efficiently. If people enjoy spending their time browsing through your products inside the store, you should give them a reason why this entire activity should be reduced to a simple online-shopping method.

 

c) Why buy from the app and not the website?

If you also own a website that’s an e-commerce platform or at least offers users the possibility to purchase items directly from there, you should give them a good reason why they should switch to app. Maybe some promotions or targeting the app to extend your audience to the younger generation should work. Of course, depending on your product, the answer to this question may require more than an educated guess.

 

d) What upselling strategies can you use to increase your revenue?

Suppose that you are your own user and you’ve made a purchase through the app. You are now the happy owner of a product. The question that should automatically follow is what now?. You have to make sure that the user is delighted with your services even after making a purchase.

Creating an upselling strategy can help you overdeliver to your customer. Before doing this, however, you will also have to offer your customers perks that will keep them engaged. Very often, people who have installed an app for one punctual issue will immediately uninstall it when done. To make sure that this is not your case, find a long-term strategy to help you generate customer loyalty.

App monetization

Paid/Premium Apps

Premium services usually have a solution to a recurring problem that all the other existing apps didn’t manage to solve up until now.

The premium system allows users to install the app only after having purchased it from the app store. If this is the type of app monetization strategy you wish to go for, you have to make sure of two things:

 

a) That your differentiator is highly relevant to user experience

Some people are willing to try out new apps, especially if the products promise to solve a recurring issue that the customer has encountered with all free products out there. However, you have to make sure that your user base will continue to use the app after one month, and won’t end up paying for yet another service they don’t use.
The way you delight your customers through your services builds a strong community around your product, one that will work as potential brand ambassadors for your app.

 

b) That you have a long-term plan of how to scale your business

Review consumer life-cycle and see the logical path a customer will go through when using your service. Supposed your users paid the $4.99 to download the app. The question you should answer to is: what next?

Are you going to focus on building a large community of people who are willing to make a one-time payment for your app and then let them use it without any other process going on? Or are you going to come up with better, exclusive services, that will differentiate between the average user and the pro ones?

In other words, you should consider coming up with a plan to make upsells to the existing users. We’re not saying this is a necessary step. Depending on your business profile and model, it may not work at all. However, coming up with a long-term strategy is part of your business development job description, and you should figure it out before your app is live in the app store.

 

Freemium Apps

This type of app monetization strategy seems to be working quite well for a lot of business managers out there. Numerous digital products became successful while using a freemium monetization model. From MailChimp to Dropbox, all freemium apps have one thing in common: they understand user needs and have a sustainable growth mentality that drives engagement and credibility.

It is easy for the target audience to use Dropbox knowing that they can scale their business easily and, when that moment comes, they don’t have to switch services, but just upgrade to a paid subscription. The same kind of principle can be applied when it comes to mobile apps.

To know whether this app monetization strategy is suitable for your business, you have to go through three different questions:

Freemium App

a) Is the free app good enough to make customers want to try it out even if they don’t have to pay for it?

This goes further than vanity metrics. Generating a strong user base is not only relevant because of how much revenue they can generate once they decide to pay for your product, but because this builds credibility in your product and the awareness you need to scale your business.
When thinking of their product, many developers will focus on ‘saving’ the best features for the subscription users. While this kind of mentality can work up to a point, the free product should be challenging enough per se to generate a user base.

 

b) Is the app well enough optimized so that potential premium users will have a good reason to pay for the extra features?

Avoid the opposite pole. In your attempt to make sure that your app will be used by the vast majority of people who won’t pay for the service, you should make sure that the paid service will be valuable enough to generate sales and respond to a need your user may have, whether it is an in-app need (if you’re developing a game, for instance), or a real-life issue that you can solve.

 

c) With or without the paid features, how is your app different from all the other apps on the market you’re targeting?

This point is not necessarily specific to this type of app monetization strategy, but it is crucial whenever you’re about to develop a product.

Sponsorship

This model is generally used by developers who already have an insanely popular app that generated revenue, and who can prove their sponsors that they are worthy of the money. Sponsorship is the newest app monetization strategy of the app world, and it involves users being rewarded by different brands after having completed an in-app milestone.

However, if you’re just starting with your first app idea, this path may prove to be rocky.

Sponsorship calculation

Subscriptions

The main way that this monetization method differs from the freemium one is that instead of blocking a series of premium features, the app developers block most of the content. Therefore, people have the incentive to pay if they are interested in the preview and want to find out more.
Most of the media apps work under this kind of app monetization strategy, and for the giant actors on the market, it seems to work out just fine.

A good way to make this monetization strategy sweeter for your audience is to allow users to have a free trial, which will hopefully get them hooked on your product.

Just like sponsorship, this app monetization strategy is only recommended if you already have a loyal user base who is willing to pay for quality content.

Subscription

Key Takeaways

 

  • Developing an app is way more than just the code that makes it work. You have to think of a clear target audience that you will then divide into different personas.
  • Then, focus on finding the main advantage that makes your product distinguishable from your competitors (called unique selling proposition or USP).
  • Once this is done, all you need is a solid long-term plan to monetize your app.

 

Does app monetization bug you, too? Write us a comment or drop a line and let's chat.

 


App Business Guide: How to Get Started?

The average smartphone user spends at least 2.3 hours a day on their smartphones, and 80 to 90 percent of this time is spent using mobile apps. Just open any app store, and you’ll see how there are mobile apps for almost anything you can imagine—from productivity and utilization apps to games.

Users download an average of 8.8 apps per month, and the numbers keep increasing. In fact, the number of app store downloads increased by 15% from 2015 to 2016. Statista projects that by 2021, there will be a total of approximately 352.9 billion app downloads.

Revenue from mobile apps also increased by 40% from 2015 to 2016. It’s also forecasted that by 2020, mobile apps will generate approximately 188.9 billion U.S. dollars in revenues via app stores and in-app advertising.

As such, businesses have adopted mobile app marketing strategies to keep up with the trend and take their own share of the market.

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn how to start your own mobile app—from business planning to building and launching your new mobile app.

Phase 1: Planning

 

1.     Decide What to Build

So, you’ve decided to build an app. But, what app do you want to build?

It’s important to determine the specific goals and functions of your app before you even start getting into the nitty-gritty of mobile app development. After all, no business venture will ever be successful without clear goals and objectives.

First, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my target market and what is my buyer persona? This will help you center the functions and features of your app towards what your ideal customer needs and wants.
  • Why are you building a mobile app? Knowing why you’re investing in a mobile app will help you determine your overall vision. Before you answer the different “whats,” ask yourself first the most important question of “why.”
  • What are the goals of my mobile app? Whether it’s to provide a more convenient channel where your customers can reach you, to increase your website traffic, or to generate more leads, you need to be sure of the objectives that your mobile app would achieve both for the users and for your business.
  • What problems do I want this mobile app to address? Chances are, you saw a need or a problem that you want to solve through a mobile app. By knowing the problems you want to address, you can properly determine the functions and features to include in your app.
  • How does this mobile app tie into my overall business goals and strategy? There are many business goals a mobile app can help you achieve such as brand awareness, customer engagement and loyalty, and increased revenue. You should know which business goal your mobile app wants to achieve so you would know how to measure its performance.
  • Who are my competitors? Do your research and look around the major app stores if there’s already an existing app that provides similar functions as yours. This will help you find your edge and set yourself apart from the competition.

Having all this information written down or documented will help you present your idea to potential stakeholders or partners. Create a sketch of your idea to help you visualize the mobile app that you want.

Once you have the answers to the above questions, you can then decide whether you want to build an app for Android or iOS or both. Building an app for Android and iOS simultaneously can be costly and risky, especially because you are still clueless about how the audience will receive your mobile app. Go back to your target audience to know which device they likely use to determine which platform to prioritize for your mobile app.

 

2.     Have a Business Plan

Diving in head-first without a clear-cut business plan would be unwise. Have a business plan to help you align your founding team around shared goals and even help you raise funding later on. A solid business plan will also allow you to prepare for risks and threats, and prevent future problems.

Your business plan should include all the pertinent information about your mobile app such as the current and projected trends, budget, monetization, operations, promotion, and more. Writing a business plan is a tedious task, but it’s essential to launching a successful business.

Here are the core parts of a formal business plan:

Executive Summary

Chapter I. The Problem

  • Statement of the Problem
  • Solution
  • Unique Value Proposition
  • Objectives

Chapter II. The Company

  • Company Overview
  • Products and Services
  • Mission-Vision
  • Company History
  • The Team: Roles and Responsibilities

Chapter III. The Market

  • Target Market
  • Market Size
  • Market Trends and Projections
  • Competitors
  • SWOT Analysis (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats)

Chapter IV. The Marketing Strategy

  • Customer Acquisition Strategy
  • Promotions and Publicity
  • Advertising Strategy
  • Key Metrics

Chapter V. Financial Plan

  • Monetization Strategy
  • Startup Costs
  • Funding Required
  • Financial Projections

 

3.     Plan Your Funding Strategy

Once you have your business plan completed, it’s time to plan your funding strategy. Building a mobile app can be costly, so it’s important to have the funds ready to avoid unnecessary delays. Here are some funding strategies you can consider.

  • Get a silent business partner. A silent business partner doesn’t have anything to do with day-to-day business operations, but they will support your project by providing capital. Make sure that your chosen business partner can deliver on their promise and shoulder the necessary project expenses.
  • Team up with your colleagues or peers. When you come up with a brilliant idea for a mobile app, you’ve most likely discussed it with some of your peers. Ask them if they’d be willing to pitch in their own expertise and knowledge to make it even more profitable. Chances are, they’d see how your mobile app can generate revenue in the future, and be willing to invest their money and time in your startup mobile
  • Look for angel investors. Angel investors are affluent businessmen or organizations who are looking to invest their money in brilliant, new ideas in exchange for partial ownership rights or equity. Make sure to draw a clear contract before you sign any deal.
  • Apply for a bank loan. If you’re willing to make a personal or business loan for your app, then you can approach any of the major banks to get pre-approved. This is probably the quickest way to get funding. Make sure you have your business proposal ready to show the bank representative its potential for success.
  • Try crowdfunding. There are many crowdfunding sites you can sign up for such as Kickstarter, GoFundMe, Indiegogo, RocketHub, AppBackr, Patreon, and more. Here, you ask the general public to invest any amount to your project in exchange for a percentage in the profits. The downside to crowdfunding is that your app idea will be made available to the public. Your idea can easily be copied or plagiarized by another individual or group who have the funds at their easy disposal.

 

4.     Hire an App Developer

Now that you have your funding strategy in order, it’s time to hire a mobile app developer.

When hiring people to help you build a mobile app, consider their experience in the field. Look at their portfolio and the mobile apps that they have built thus far. Are the apps performing well? Check for references. If trusted peers recommend them, then you’re usually on the right track.

It’s crucial to remember that apps aren’t just built and released on the app store. There are regular updates and consistent bug fixes that need to be done throughout its lifetime. Work with an app developer who understands the maintenance needs of your app.

It may be tempting to hire a freelancer who claims to be an expert in both app design and development. However, a team of developers or a mobile app development firm like IntelligentBee who will collaborate with you will work best for your overall goals and objectives. More people working on your mobile app means that more people can catch mistakes and errors before it can negatively affect the whole project.

Lastly, make sure they understand your business plan, and what results you’re looking to achieve.

Phase 2: Building

 

1.     Choose Between Native vs. Cross-Platform Development

There’s no absolute best or better when it comes to choosing between native and cross-platform app development. What holds utmost importance is to create a fluid app with an optimum user design and interface. Coding your app right allows for high performance and the most up-to-date API support.

Each platform offers its own pros and cons that you need to weigh to determine whether your mobile app will work best on a native or cross-platform development.

Native applications are created for a specific mobile device operating system such as iOS and Android and has been the standard practice since mobile apps first emerged. Building native applications can be made easier and faster because iOS and Android provide native developer tools. Native applications can also access exclusive native APIs in the phone’s OS such as push notifications, camera, and in-app purchases.

However, if you intend to publish your mobile app on a different OS or app store, you need to rewrite the code and build it again from the ground up, which may delay your mobile app’s launch in another market and cost you more.

This is why some developers and mobile app creators choose hybrid or cross-platform development. Cross-platform application development also includes some native features by using a native harness or wrapper that acts as a bridge between platforms. Because its applications can also include native hardware features, it doesn’t just look like a mobile version of a website. Developers can also package the app locally or through a server to allow both online and offline access.

Cross-platform applications are relatively new, so there’s not a lot of published community support. The Apple App Store can also deny your application when it recognizes that it’s not a native app. When that happens, you’re limiting your app’s reach and potential.

When you’re hiring a mobile app developer, discuss with them the pros and cons of both native and cross-platform apps.

 

2.     Pay Attention to Design

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) are paramount to a mobile app’s success. When building a mobile app, you should think like a user to make sure that your app is easy to use.

A simple app works best for users, especially those who are not too patient or tech-savvy. You don’t need to pack it with extra features that are unnecessary to your app’s main function. Go back to your goals you to avoid going off-track.

Here are some quick tips for you:

  • Less is more.
  • Use big buttons, big fonts, and big icons.
  • Use high-performance graphics.
  • If it seems like a flaw (instead of a feature), that’s because it is.
  • Design according to the overall theme of the app.
  • It should work on all known screen sizes.

 

3.     Test. Modify. Adjust.

Never launch an app without testing it. You and your team of developers should test the various functions, features, usability, compatibility, performance, recoverability, and security of the app. Test your mobile app on various devices of all known screen sizes such that they should look and function the same.

After addressing bugs and errors internally, ask people who fit your target market to test your mobile app. They can give you insightful feedback to make it better before you launch and market it on the app store.

Some developers release a beta version on the app store or play store, and ask beta testers to try them out and review the app. Or, you can release it to a chosen group of people who fit your target market and ask them for a detailed account of their experience.

 

4.     Register a Developer Account on App Stores and Submit Your App

Create a developer account on Google Play Store or Apple App Store and pay the annual app store fees of $99 for Apple and $25 for Google. The developer will be the one to upload the mobile app, but the account should be under your name or company to maintain control and ownership.

Once you submit your app, it will then go under review to determine whether it’s up to standards, which may take time. Your app can be subjected to revisions before it’s approved. Once approved, it will be available in the app store for download.

Phase 3: Marketing and Promotion

 

Your work doesn’t stop when your mobile app goes live on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. You want people to download your app and use it, so spread the word about it.

Here are some things to include in your app marketing pipeline:

  • Be creative with your app store product description. Yes, people read those when browsing the app store. Write a catchy product description that tells the reader what your app does and include screenshots to show how beautiful and simple your design is. You can even make a short video and include it in the app description.
  • Get your app featured. Submit your mobile app to app review websites. Any review or feature article will help increase your online visibility and improve brand awareness.
  • Reach out to influencers that fit your target market. Ask them to try out your app and post a review on their social media accounts or blog.
  • Look into app marketing sites and app promotion groups. Websites such as AppShout!, AppBrain, and AppStorm are app marketing and promotion sites that you can consider. You can also try to organically increase buzz about your app through social media and word of mouth. Get your app out there!
  • App Store Optimization (ASO). Keep in mind that 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches. Optimize your app so that it ranks higher on app stores. Higher ranking means more visibility and ultimately, more chances of downloads. Do your keyword research and place your top keyword in the title of your app and your product description.
  • Place a download link on your website. Take advantage of your website traffic and place a direct link for them to download your app. This will also help improve your ASO.
  • Include a download link in your email signature. If you have an email newsletter, include a call-to-action at the bottom to download your app. You can place a download link in your email signature so that anyone and everyone you correspond with can see that you have a mobile app ready for download.
  • Create a demo video. Distribute your demo video to various video sharing platforms and social networks. Make it short and simple, and include the most amazing features of your app.
  • Partner up with a digital marketing agency. If you have a budget, you can partner up with a digital marketing agency to help you reach your target audience and get your ROI faster.

Building a mobile app is no walk in the park. There are important considerations you need to make—from conceptualization to execution and sales, which is why it’s crucial to work with app developers who understand the importance of scalability and sustainability in this saturated digital market.

Stand out from the noise and make sure that your app is the best it can be. At IntelligentBee, that’s what we’re all about.


Nowadays, you can do almost anything on your mobile device—from instantly messaging colleagues and organizing your work schedule to tracking your expenses. Mobile technology has become so advanced that there’s probably an app for almost anything and everything imaginable. Businesses have also been benefitting from the mobile app revolution more than ever. Up to 83% of marketers claim that having a mobile app is crucial in their marketing strategy. So, if your business don not have a mobile app yet, it’s time for you to hire a mobile app developer and start building one. 5 Reasons to Have a Mobile App for your Business 1. Increase Brand Visibility and Awareness People spend more than two hours a day on their mobile devices, and 90% of this time is spent on mobile apps. This means that a mobile app can help you reach your consumers wherever they are through their mobile devices. It can work in many ways. When users think of a service or a function that they need to address, they go to the app store and see what apps are available. Here, they can encounter your brand through your app. It can also happen the other way around where they find your website and see that you offer a mobile app. Seeing your brand on multiple platforms can increase brand visibility and awareness. Having a mobile app also shows your audience that your brand keeps up with the modern trend, constantly finding ways to provide convenient services. 2. Directly Market to your Audience When a mobile app is open on any device, it’s the only app visible on the screen. While smartphones and tablets have a multitasking capability, often, users use only one app at a time, which makes mobile apps a direct marketing channel. All the information you’d like your audience to receive is on one marketing platform. Sales and promotional messages is now immediately accessible to your audience. You can even send them push notifications to remind them about your products and services. 3. Increase Customer Engagement No matter what product or service you offer, a mobile app allows you to directly send and receive messages from your customers. This direct interaction is what customers value today. Users are more impatient now than ever, and a messaging system within your app allows your brand to provide real-time responses. Whether that’s a simple way for them to check your store hours or follow up on an order, a mobile app will go a long way in terms of increasing customer engagement and improving client service. 4. Improve Website Performance When a user searches for services to meet specific needs, your mobile app will likely be suggested to them, whether they’re doing this on a search engine or app store. Not only will you be attracting users to download your mobile app, but you’re also routing traffic back to your website. Once your mobile app generates buzz, your app and website can also earn backlinks and mentions on high-authority pages. Eventually, your website will rank higher on SERPs, and your mobile app will rank higher on app stores. 5. Collect a Vast Amount of Customer Data Mobile apps can help businesses collect priceless customer information and data. When customers are using your app, you can gather customer details and data that can help your business determine which regions and demographic segments offer the best ROI. You can also determine which features and functions of your app are more useful to your clients. When people try out your apps, they can post highly useful reviews that you can use to create a more profitable and helpful mobile application. Customer data can help you better address client needs, problems, and wants, thereby making your product and service more helpful to your customers. There are many advantages to creating and building your own mobile app for your business. A mobile app not only enables your business to keep up with consumer demands and business trends, but also help your brand stand out from an already saturated market. Consult with a professional mobile app developer today, and start building a mobile app that will help you reach your audience and increase your business revenue. At Intelligent Bee, you can be sure that your mobile app is optimized specifically for your target audience, and will exhibit a great user interface and experience.

Why Your Business Needs a Mobile App to Grow

Nowadays, you can do almost anything on your mobile device—from instantly messaging colleagues and organizing your work schedule to tracking your expenses. Mobile technology has become so advanced that there’s probably an app for almost anything and everything imaginable.

Businesses have also been benefitting from the mobile app revolution more than ever. Up to 83% of marketers claim that having a mobile app is crucial in their marketing strategy.

So, if your business do not have a mobile app yet, it’s time for you to hire a mobile app developer and start building one.

5 Reasons to Have a Mobile App for Your Business

1. Increase Brand Visibility and Awareness

People spend more than two hours a day on their mobile devices, and 90% of this time is spent on mobile apps. This means that a mobile app can help you reach your consumers wherever they are through their mobile devices.

It can work in many ways. When users think of a service or a function that they need to address, they go to the app store and see what apps are available. Here, they can encounter your brand through your app. It can also happen the other way around where they find your website and see that you offer a mobile app.

Seeing your brand on multiple platforms can increase brand visibility and awareness. Having a mobile app also shows your audience that your brand keeps up with the modern trend, constantly finding ways to provide convenient services.

2. Directly Market to Your Audience

When a mobile app is open on any device, it’s the only app visible on the screen. While smartphones and tablets have a multitasking capability, often, users use only one app at a time, which makes mobile apps a direct marketing channel.

All the information you’d like your audience to receive is on one marketing platform. Sales and promotional messages is now immediately accessible to your audience. You can even send them push notifications to remind them about your products and services.

3. Increase Customer Engagement

No matter what product or service you offer, a mobile app allows you to directly send and receive messages from your customers. This direct interaction is what customers value today.

Users are more impatient now than ever, and a messaging system within your app allows your brand to provide real-time responses. Whether that’s a simple way for them to check your store hours or follow up on an order, a mobile app will go a long way in terms of increasing customer engagement and improving client service.

4. Improve Website Performance

When a user searches for services to meet specific needs, your mobile app will likely be suggested to them, whether they’re doing this on a search engine or app store. Not only will you be attracting users to download your mobile app, but you’re also routing traffic back to your website.

Once your mobile app generates buzz, your app and website can also earn backlinks and mentions on high-authority pages. Eventually, your website will rank higher on SERPs, and your mobile app will rank higher on app stores.

5. Collect a Vast Amount of Customer Data

Mobile apps can help businesses collect priceless customer information and data. When customers are using your app, you can gather customer details and data that can help your business determine which regions and demographic segments offer the best ROI. You can also determine which features and functions of your app are more useful to your clients.

When people try out your apps, they can post highly useful reviews that you can use to create a more profitable and helpful mobile application. Customer data can help you better address client needs, problems, and wants, thereby making your product and service more helpful to your customers.

There are many advantages to creating and building your own mobile app for your business. A mobile app not only enables your business to keep up with consumer demands and business trends, but also help your brand stand out from an already saturated market.

Consult with a professional mobile app developer today, and start building a mobile app that will help you reach your audience and increase your business revenue. At Intelligent Bee, you can be sure that your mobile app is optimized specifically for your target audience, and will exhibit a great user interface and experience.


7 Mobile App Development Trends That Matter to Your Business

7 Mobile App Development Trends That Matter to Your Business

Mobile app development is a growing industry—thanks to the increasing number of smartphone users. According to the Digital in 2017 Global Overview report, 4.92 billion or more than half of the world’s population now uses a smartphone. The Ericsson Mobility Report predicts that there will be a total of 6.1 billion smartphone users by 2020.

As such, the overall usage of mobile apps is on the rise. The Apple App Store already boasts of almost 2 million apps, and it’s predicted that by 2020, global iOS application downloads will be at 35.2 billion. Google Play Store, on the other hand, has over 2.2 million apps, with an astounding prediction of 80.3 billion Android application downloads by 2020.

The statistics above clearly indicate how important it is for businesses to adapt to consumer trends. Some businesses resort to outsourcing app development experts to avoid being left behind. Part of keeping up is being aware of these seven mobile app development trends:

 

mobile security
(image source)

1. Strict Security Measures

Since smartphones hold highly sensitive personal and financial information of every user, stricter security measures are crucial in app development to protect users from hacking and breaches.

A Gartner study claims that 75% of mobile apps would fail even the basic security tests. Some security concerns such as insecure storage, privacy violation, system information leaks, and insecure deployment were also raised by an HPE Cyber Risk Report.

To address such issues, Apple already implemented the mandatory ‘App Transport Security’ feature last January 2017.

 

pokemon go
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2. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Just last year, smartphone users all over the world went crazy for Pokemon Go, which uses augmented reality to seamlessly blend the real world with the pocket monsters’ world. Meanwhile, real estate companies are adopting virtual reality apps to let home buyers feel what it’s like to live in the homes they sell.

Aside from gaming and real estate, we will see an upsurge in AR and VR apps in the coming years. Fashion, retail, TV, and other businesses will see the benefits of using AR and VR to woo consumers into buying their products.

 

hybrid apps
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3. Hybrid Apps for Enterprises

As more enterprises embrace the “bring your own device” model, and more workers are using mobile devices for work, the demand for hybrid apps will increase. A recent study shows that more than 72% of organizations are already starting to adopt BYOD models.

Hybrid apps are essentially mobile websites that run in an app form. Hybrid apps are responsive to multiple operating systems and devices—from smartphones and tablets to laptops and desktops.

Businesses will continue to see the benefits of hybrid apps for enterprises. They’re more cost effective and faster to develop.

 

cloud based apps
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4. Cloud-Based Mobile Apps

A lot of apps use heavy graphics, illustrations, and functions, and need to be accessible across all platforms. Cloud technologies can also be used to develop mobile apps that require integration with IoT, wearable devices, artificial intelligence, and the like.

Mobile cloud adoption and cloud-based applications will be more widespread. Apps no longer need to take up too much space in the smartphone’s internal memory, as files can be served directly from the cloud.

 

Big Data

5. Big Data

Big data analytics has been a crucial tool for businesses and marketing professionals to measure the results of their digital products and investments. With big data integration, businesses, as well as developers, will be able to track user behavior that would help them arrive at informed decisions when updating mobile app UX and UI.

 

artificial intelligence
(image source)

6. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Chat Bots

AI and machine learning will help developers write better codes and boost the capabilities and functions of mobile apps. Microsoft's Intellisense is one of the many companies adapting AI and machine learning in their developer tools. Other mobile apps will increasingly feature AI and machine learning capabilities to predict user preference and behavior.

Chat bots are one of the many applications of AI and machine learning in mobile app development. As online shopping becomes more popular, customized and conversational commerce will soon be common, which will be made possible with chat bots.

 

internet of things
(image source)

7. Internet of Things

These days, it’s not just about being connected, it’s about being interconnected. That’s what Internet of Things (IoT) is all about.

Everything now is being made ‘smart’—from smartphones, smart watches, and smart TVs to smart homes and smart offices. Mobile app developers need to consider other devices as well aside from just the smartphone.

 

These trends are here to stay. Consider these when mapping out business strategies, business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketers. Also, be sure to hire trusted mobile app development companies to help you reach success.


Off-the-Shelf or Custom Software: What's Best for Your Business?

Off-the-Shelf or Custom Software: What's Best for Your Business? [Infographic]

In the ever-evolving digital landscape and competitive business environment, companies are in constant pursuit of perfecting processes to help them deliver the best value and experience to clients and potential customers. Accordingly, businesses have unique and specific workflows that can be automated and streamlined with software, from productivity, collaboration, reporting, messaging, and other tools. This is where the question of whether to buy off-the-self software or customize your own arise.

Balancing your company’s short-term needs and long-term plans is fundamental to the success of your business. Often, it can be tricky and daunting. How, then, do you choose between buying off-the-shelf software solutions and outsourcing software development builders?

Many business owners and managers often face this dilemma. To help you decide, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of buying off-the-shelf software and building custom software solutions.

Off-the-Shelf or Custom Software: What's Best for Your Business?

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Some organizations are perfectly content with off-the-shelf software or canned software solutions to improve their workflow. There are software and tools in various categories from productivity, collaboration, messaging, office solutions, conferencing, marketing, sales, and many more. These are immediately available to individuals and businesses for a one-time fee or a monthly subscription fee. Some are even free, with limited features available.

On the other hand, some companies have very particular challenges that they need to address with custom-built software, so they either hire dedicated developers or outsource software developers to build one from the ground up. Costs for custom software development may vary from company to company.

Cost-Effectiveness

Off-the-shelf software is generally cheaper than custom-built software. Some offer it for free with limited features or you can get premium features by paying a one-time fee or a low monthly subscription fee.

For most startups and small businesses, the free software works, until such time that they need the full set of features. They can then choose to upgrade once they decide that the software fits their needs.

Custom software development may incur high upfront costs, especially if you choose to hire an in-house team of developers. Outsourcing software development is more cost-effective for bespoke software solutions.

Availability

Off-the-shelf software solutions are readily available. It’s as simple as signing up, placing your payment information, and you can immediately start using the service. On the other hand, custom software development may take months to develop, depending on your specific requirements.

Compatibility

Most off-the-shelf software can be integrated with other popular tools. However, there may be limitations. You may encounter a canned solution that perfectly addresses your challenges, but it’s not compatible with the current systems you have in place.

If you have a custom software, developers can ensure that it will work for your current infrastructure. Should there be a new software that your company needs to be incorporated into the workflow, you can ask your in-house or outsourced development team to work on it.

Functionality

Off-the-shelf software offers a wide variety of features and functionality to cater to the needs of a large market base. Sometimes, you’ll be surprised to find an additional feature helpful to your process. But often, there are more features than you need, which can make the product more complicated and hard to use.

This affects the performance of your team, making it difficult to get them onboard the new workflow and software. Your team members are the end-users of the software, and at the end of the day, it’s what’s easiest for them to use that matters.

On the other hand, a fully customized software guarantees to meet all your business needs, as it is tailored to match your specific requirements. Should there be an additional function that you would like to add in the future, you can ask your outsourced software developers to update your software.

Support

Customer support is usually provided for premium users of SaaS. However, customer support is limited to community support forums for free software users. If your growing business needs prompt attention to an issue, your options may be limited.

This is not the case for custom software. At IntelligentBee, we provide warranty for our code, and our software developers will work on bugs and issues on the spot, at no extra charge. Maintenance programs are also available to ensure a continuous focus on your custom software features and functionality.

Scalability

When choosing between off-the-shelf software solutions and fully customized software development, ask yourself this – can this software grow with your business? Scalability is an important consideration.

SaaS providers often roll out new features and updates without increasing their subscription fees, but these new features are not tailored to what your business specifically requires as your grow bigger. You can submit a feature request, but it may be ignored or rejected if it doesn’t fit the needs of a larger consumer base.

With a fully customized software, you can scale up the features whenever you need to or however you want to. You can start with your minimum business requirements, and slowly add features as your business grows.

Intellectual Property

Your company owns the intellectual property rights of the custom software built for your business. This can be considered an investment for your company. Factor in the added value that your custom software offers your business and your end-customers.

Competitive Advantage

With off-the-shelf software solutions, you’re basically using the same software that other businesses in the same niche use. It would be difficult for your organization to outperform your competitors if you employ the same workflow and tools.

Obviously, when you own custom software, this provides your company competitive advantage over your competitors. You use and own a tool that none of your other competitors have, giving your business a leg up in your industry.

Think of the value that your custom software can potentially offer your end-customers. By designing a software solution that meets all your unique business needs, your team will be more efficient, you can gain insight into the customer journey, and be able to improve your product and service, optimizing the customer experience.

Every business, small or large, has unique needs. Carefully considering the relevant factors when choosing between off-the-shelf and custom software is paramount to an organization’s efficiency, productivity, success, and eventual growth.

Ultimately, every organization’s goal is to improve performance and deliver the highest value to your customers. Custom software development for web and mobile applications can help you gain a competitive edge in today’s demanding market.

At IntelligentBee, we have a team of experienced software developers who can take your business to the next level with customized business solutions that can meet your every need.


How Custom Software Can Improve Your Business Performance

Each business has its own software needs for their processes and activities to run smooth. However, not all solutions are provided in software available in the market, also known as off-the-shelf software.

The crucial thing with off-the-shelf software is that it can only address your concerns up to a certain level. It doesn’t go to the nitty gritty of things where most problems emerge. Also, there are off-the-shelf software features that could go to waste as you may not need them. This means that you could end up paying for features that won’t be of use to your business.

It’s always better to have a software that can adjust to you instead of you changing your ways for the software. Hence, custom software.

Anything customized has a higher percentage of efficiency and effectivity, as it is designed to cater to your business’ problems and activities. Plus, using a software made for the mass market won’t get you far and different from your competitors. If you want a competitive advantage, custom software is the way to go.

Improve Your Business with Custom Software

Building your custom software can propel your business to success by bringing these benefits:

1. Automating Workflows for Improved Efficiency

Operational costs are reduced by simplifying complicated workflows. Instead of multiple people working in one line of work, one custom software alone can do all the tasks just by itself. It can cut the time spent on transferring from one person to another including the training and briefing of a specific task.

By having the extra time on tasks previously done manually, the workforce can focus on highly important tasks. This doesn’t only bring better productivity to your employees but also ensures quality in your business requirements.

Also, automated workflows let you identify the pain points in the process. You can better gauge if a certain task will be carried out on time. At the end of it all, you can save in cost and invest in productivity while making sure it’s done at the optimum.

2. Accelerating Reporting to Reduce Time Costs

Preparing reports is one of the most time-consuming tasks. Even when a person can master the processes over time, a custom software can still do it faster, as it can deliver your data in a snap.

Because a single software does the process from top to bottom, the information becomes centralized, making it easier for analysis. You don’t have to deal with different information coming from different tools and fit them all like puzzle pieces. In other words, you’ll have a database rich with information.

Furthermore, reports sometimes need data from its previous versions. Customized software can do the searching from your history and show results of relevant information.

3. Streamlining Communication

In any business, getting transferred from one person to another for a single piece of information doesn’t sound efficient. You must take into consideration the availability and reachability of the person you’re looking for.

Custom software can provide platforms for team members or departments to communicate fast and efficiently. By simply providing a communication channel where exchange of information can be done quickly, your business performance as well as your team’s output can improve by a mile.

4. Strengthening Security

Placing all your data in one system can pose a threat to security. Custom software addresses this by putting extra importance in keeping your data safe from hackers that would want to steal your information.

In fact, off-the-shelf software is more vulnerable to hacking as it is available to the mass market. It’s easier for hackers to study off-the-shelf software and find its loopholes. With custom software, hackers are challenged due to the software’s exclusivity and intricacies. Hence, external threats are minimized.

5. Providing Custom-Made Solutions

Because a custom software is designed for specific needs, it provides appropriate solutions to address problems the way you want it. And since you have full control of your technology, you can make tweaks each time you encounter new challenges or see rooms for improvement.

So, there’s no need to wait for updates and patches from off-the-shelf software. With your own custom software, you can come up with real-time solutions.

As they say, customizing is now the name of the game in every industry. A well-tailored software can undoubtedly give you an edge over your competitors.

Of course, you cannot stop from the first version of your custom software. Formulate a schedule of your updates to enhance its functionality. By outsourcing software development firms or professionals, you can be guided and assisted well from building your custom software to doing checks and improvements.


Considerations When Hiring a Custom Software Development Company

5 Considerations When Hiring a Custom Software Development Company

Once you have decided that your business needs custom software to meet specific goals, the next plan of action is to hire dedicated developers who can build your stepping stone to growth.

A custom software is like a suit tailored for your business. It is built with special features for exceptional demands, which off-the-shelf software cannot provide you. Not only does it's customized, it also allows your team to perform at their best.

A caveat though: one can easily make wrong decisions when hiring or outsourcing software development professionals. You may find a pool of talents out there, but not everyone has the required skill set, experience, expertise, and promptness that you need to build your custom software.

Avoid burning money on bad hires. Take time to consider the following key points when hiring a custom software developer or firm.

Things to Consider When Hiring a Custom Software Developer

Project Timeline: Can They Deliver on Time?

At the end of the day, what you want is someone that can deliver your custom software with the best quality within a reasonable deadline. According to a study by PM Solutions, 37% of IT projects are at risk of failure each year. One reason is the inability to meet the delivery schedule.

The percentage of success should be one of the first things to look for in a custom software company or developer. Be sure to check the history and portfolio of your candidates for telltale signs of reliability and work ethic.

Make the most of your investment by ensuring that no additional costs are incurred due to failure to deliver on time. Settle only for the option that can keep risks at a minimum.

Your Business Needs: What Do You Want to Achieve?

Of course, arriving at the appropriate software solutions can only begin by determining your business problems. Identify the specific demands that you require, which a custom software can only solve.

Do you need a specific feature that will simplify your complicated workflows? Or do you want a platform that will centralize your team communication? Knowing what needs to be done can guide you on what to look for when hunting for the perfect hire.  

Budget: How Much Are You Willing to Pay?

All projects entail costs, and it’s a significant factor that can influence your hiring decision. Determine your budget through a cost estimation, which includes hardware and software costs, travel and training costs, as well as effort costs, among others.

Developing a custom software can be more cost-efficient than buying off-the-shelf software. In fact, a study by Forrester reported that IT shops spend about 27% of their software budget on custom software development compared to 35% spent on packaged application software. This means 8% lower budget.

However, be wary of unreasonably low budgets, as it could lead you to bad hires and compromise the quality of custom software that you want to develop.

Technological Expertise: How Technologically Proficient Are They?

When hiring a custom software developer or firm, consider the kind of technology and methodology required to build the tool you need. Some developers are proficient in Java technology while others are experts in .Net applications. It's important to pick one that can execute the right methodology to minimize costs while maximizing gains.

Remember, custom software development is not limited to one programming or scripting language. There is a plethora of variations out there, with different tools and frameworks to be used for specific circumstances. So, look at technological expertise, versatility, and capability to mix various tools to get the job done – whether it’s cutting edge software or legacy applications.

Technical Support: Can They Provide Tech Support After the Development Stage?

Your custom software will have issues and bugs over time, and that’s inevitable. A good custom software developer is someone who can provide technical support even after the development stage. Find those who communicate in a friendly, professional manner and can assist you with any issues. This will give you more time to focus on the core processes of your business.

On the other hand, an unfriendly and unsupportive custom developer firm could potentially sabotage your business, and lead to project failure.

Last Thoughts

Consider these key points to make a more accurate choice when choosing a custom software developer or firm that will execute the project you need. Hiring software development teams like IntelligentBee due to its friendly team of developers, proven fast delivery, and a wide range of software and technological expertise is an advantage to your business.

Give yourself time and do your research in advance to find the perfect custom software developer or firm that will achieve your desired result.