Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
I am the co-founder and managing partner of AB4 Systems, a leading software development boutique agency that delivers innovation through product design and cutting edge technologies. We pride ourselves on the quality of our services, which translates into an amazing customer score of 5* out of 5. We achieve this through a combination of high development standards, a professional and dedicated team, and maintenance and disaster recovery procedures.
My role in the company is to facilitate growth. We grow on several dimensions - we grow professionally as a team, grow our customer base, and grow our team. We are inspired by great companies like Google, Facebook, Spotify that managed to grow while maintaining amazing service delivery standards.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
We started AB4 Systems because we believe technology will profoundly impact our society this century, and we want to be part of this. We also realized that our impact is limited as individuals, and we need to create an organization that can support us in our mission.
What are your company’s business model in-house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
We built our own in-house team that can take an idea and take it through all the stages of software product development until it reaches the end-user.
Our team consists of hand-picked thoughtful professionals. We have product managers, product designers, software engineers, Q&A engineers, and product marketing specialists. We put a lot of effort into recruiting the smartest and brightest people out there. We look for interesting personalities that would complement well with us.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
Our business model creates value for our clients. That is our only purpose. What we do very differently has to do with our approach. We take the time to understand the problem our client wants to solve and their client. We carefully collect the reason “why” behind the software product we want to build, and we make sure every single person in our team understands the problem, the end-user, and can come up with the best solution for them. By doing this, we enable innovation at every level in our product development team consisting of product manager, product designer, engineers, q&a engineers, marketing.
This impacts the way we communicate internally, how we do project management, and how we formulate each and every task. It creates an enormous amount of value for our clients.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
We have experience in some industries like med-tech (powered by AI), fintech, government, NGO’s, tourism, mobility.
Most of our customers stay with us after we start working together. UNICEF has been working with us for five years now, Medicai has been working with us for the last three years, and we have other examples too. Right now, we have 60% repetitive customers and 40% new customers. We have been focusing on growing our customer base in the last year.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app.
Going for a Hybrid approach definitely influences the time frame of the project.
We start the analysis from the target market and the problem that the app wants to solve. We then create a list of functionalities, and from there, we estimate what is needed technically to achieve it.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile app?
This is a very broad question :) The good thing is that as time passes by, the time needed to develop the frontend and backend for a mobile app goes down.
We have very productive frontend technologies like React Native and Flutter now for the frontends and really fast to deploy and easy-to-use Backend-as-a-Service technologies like Firebase or Parse Server that make it really easy to develop small to medium-sized apps.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
The first decision would be between going Native or going Hybrid.
The Hybrid approach is amazing, especially for utility apps; it offers amazing advantages like a single codebase for both operating systems, smaller maintenance costs, faster development.
Native, on the other hand, offers you the opportunity to make the UI of your mobile apps really shine and take full advantage of the hardware platforms. It works really well for games, immersive experiences. It is also a good idea to go for Native if you hope to be showcased by Apple or Google on their app stores.
Which platform do you suggest your clients to begin with when they approach you with an idea (Android or iOS) and why?
In 2020, I would have a discussion with them about Hybrid or Native. Then, if it makes sense to go Native, I would choose between Android and iOS, depending on the target audience (where is the biggest audience for them). For example, in developed countries, iOS is better.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
Go for the platform that gives the best bang for the buck. Apps are expensive to develop and maintain; you want to make sure you give yourself the best chances of success.
The first discussion is Hybrid (React Native or Flutter would be my go-to choices now) vs. Native (iOS and Android). I would choose a Hybrid approach for utility apps. You gain so much by going Hybrid- smaller codebase, fewer bugs, better maintainability. I would go for Native if marketing on App Store/Google Play is a must, and the end-user experience needs to be amazing, needs to stand out. Types of apps would be games, immersive experiences, experiences that need to interact well with the hardware or the low-level SDK’s of the operating systems.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
- Size of the technical problem: users that the app addresses, other data that impacts the dimension of the problem
- The complexity of the user flows
- Integration with other systems
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions etc.)
The first interaction is usually a fixed cost project. Then we move to Pay per Milestone or Time & Material.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
We target projects over $30,000.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2018?
2018: Smallest projects were $10,000. The largest project was $100,000.
2019: Smallest projects were $10,000. The largest project was $200,000.
Which business model do you suggest to your clients enabling them to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
It is really hard to recommend a business model without knowing the target audience and the problem that we are trying to solve. The approach that we have seen working is to focus on providing real value to the target audience and to talk with them a lot (do user research) to find out how much they are willing to pay and how.
It seems that the subscription model really caught up in the last couple of years. If done right and if it makes sense, it is really powerful from a business perspective.