Whether you build an app in-house or you hire an app development company, the question still remains: which stakeholders should own the development process?
If you have decided that your business needs a mobile app, the planning process is only beginning. The next question is an obvious one: do you build it, or do you work with external experts? And even once you have decided that you may not have the in-house expertise to build your own business app, another decision begins to loom: who should own your business app development?
Understanding the Stakeholders
When it comes to mobile app development, everyone wants to be involved. It’s not only an exciting proposition, especially if your brand has not leveraged an app before, but also a complex process that everyone feels they could use for their own purposes.
For example, marketing will immediately seek to seize on the opportunity to use the new app in order to drum up brand awareness and excitement. At the same time, your IT department may have different priorities, perhaps wanting to keep the app simple for easier development, or conversely, making it somewhat complex with more customized or integrated technology that the IT team is familiar with. For small businesses, every employee may offer input, and the business owner may be the driving force.
That’s why before you even start developing the app, you need to make sure that you understand everyone who could have a stake in the new app. From there, it’s time to begin the decision process on who should own the development process.
The Case for IT
Your IT professional or team will likely make a strong case for themselves. App development is not a one-time project; instead, your software will need to be updated on a regular basis, and you will need someone on standby to make fixes as needed.
That fact remains true whether you choose to build the app in-house or decide to outsource to a full-service app development company. In each case, your IT department will want a significant role in the process, allowing them to involve themselves on at least an as-needed basis. Whether you agree, of course, depends on the other stakeholders.
What About Marketing?
Marketing will be the second department immediately looking to take ownership of the process. Considering the fact that mobile internet usage has now surpassed its desktop counterpart, they will make the (convincing) argument that the app can become an invaluable tool in attracting new customers and growing the business.
Ownership by marketing means a less technical focus, and increased promotional outlook within your app. That focus can make sense: content will be more clearly optimized toward the audience, and the app will be built with your current and potential customers in mind. Whether that focus should take precedence over technical concerns, of course, is a different question.
Making the Choice
Ultimately, it’s difficult to deny the fact that both IT and marketing have a reasonable argument in terms of owning the process. Many companies we’ve worked with ultimately arrive at a compromise: both will be involved in relatively equal measure.
In that scenario, no department or individual takes ownership on their own. Instead, responsibility will be placed on multiple shoulders, allowing for more diverse opinions and more balanced insight. One person is usually the key point of contact, but they have multiple stakeholders working with them to make decisions and determine the course of the app. The result, in most cases, is a more successful business app.
Of course, you still have to make sure that you work with experts who can actually build the app you’re looking for. Especially if your resources are limited, you may not have the benefit of an internal IT department that can update and fix the app on an as-needed basis. In that case, you need an external partner who can jump in and help out when maintenance or new development is needed.
Make no mistake: in terms of responsibility, at AppIt Ventures we own the business app development process. We pride ourselves in building quality apps, and will make sure that your company and its audiences are satisfied with the result. For more information on how we can help your business develop a mobile app, contact us.