If you’re embarking on a project to develop an app for your customers, you’ve got a lot to consider. I recently attended a conference in which a few CTOs and the like spoke about the shift of building applications from the ground up in-house to leveraging pre-existing services and focusing resources on value. This trend has had ramifications on business models, project management and staffing.
The main point of the discussions was this: this shift has accelerated the development and rate of innovation for high-value apps. That’s a trend that you should take advantage of.
When developing an app, focus on value, not on moving parts.
Successfully developing and deploying an app from the ground up requires expertise in different disciplines; hosting, analytics, operations, coding, security, UI, etc. The fortunate thing for an app publisher is that there are numerous companies who are providing cost-efficient and high-quality services to help. Mobile app development platforms, hosting and analytics platforms, security services (shameless plug for our product, Tracker) and more exist to make your job easier.
So what exactly does this mean for you?
You shouldn’t burden your developers with the need to develop the moving parts of the app from the ground up. Encourage and allow them to use pre-existing services to help you run, maintain and secure your app. This will give them time to focus on delivering legitimate value to your customers via the app. One way to look at it is to consider that every minute your developer spends recreating something that already exists, is one less minute they spend on creating value for your customers.
Here’s an example from our mobile app security product, Tracker. Over the last few quarters there have been a handful of high-profile apps that have proven to have deficiencies in how they protect sensitive data. These examples have proven that properly implementing data encryption into a mobile app has proven difficult for mobile developers. To help solve this problem, we’ve built an encryption tool into Tracker that makes it easy for developers to implement top-notch encryption into their app. In developing the tool we didn’t waste any time re-creating encryption libraries, those already exist and are well vetted. What we spent our time doing was developing a tool that made implementing these libraries turn-key for app developers. By doing so, we developed a service that solves a very costly pain-point for mobile app developers. More on this feature of Tracker is forthcoming.
There is no need to recreate something that already works, unless you’ve got a breakthrough that will change the industry (if that’s the case, you’re probably not focusing on just building an app). Use pre-existing services and spend your resources on developing features of your app that are unique and new that wow your customers.