Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
IDAP was founded in 2012 as a mobile software development studio. With a rapid growth from 5 to 35 employees within the first two years, a huge change was rolled out in 2014. A military conflict between Ukraine and Russia took half of our resources and made us relocate completely from Donetsk to Kiyv with less than 20 people and their families on board. We had gone a long way from elance.com 5-10k tiny projects to complex business solutions worth more than 1M USD. Nowadays, we house over a hundred highly-qualified engineers and provide A-Z services in the custom software development domain.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
The main idea for any business is earning money.
What are your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
IDAP is a project-focused software development company that utilizes only in-house resources from our own technology stack.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
The majority of our colleagues provide a resource-based approach (an outstaffing model). That approach is only applicable in case the client already has their own development forces and a certain workflow plan or even the readymade product. We are providing complete solutions for SMB and startups, including tech/business consultancy, marketing strategy, software architecture, UX/UI development, and further maintenance all in one.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
This is a tricky question. Good results in a digital area could be achieved if the synergy between business and technology is in place. Let’s say, 90% of the time, CRM software works in the same way regardless of the business domain. The customer should know the business side perfectly and should be able to transfer that knowledge. The vendor should know the tech and build the “bridge” between the complicated side of things and accessible client definitions. If you are good at designing and building bridges, you have to know the number and weight of the vehicles crossing the bridge and where it should lead, rather than the type of goods/raw materials inside the vehicles.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app.
Another tricky point. Nowadays, lots of customers are missing the idea and the difference between an MVP and the product. Technical specifications / RFPs / backlogs and discovery stages can help you evaluate the time and budget efforts required for your first (pilot) version of the product. However, this is the very first step in a long and rocky road. Your first try may never be perfect, regardless of any nature of your development, be it outsourcing, in-house, expensive, cheap, US-, Ukraine-, or India-based, etc. All more or less successful apps overcame their mistakes and gained the ability to be flexible by listening to users. It’s not about weeks or months, it’s about years. And the expertise of yourself, your vendor, or anybody else in the world will not save you. Each product should find its unique path to success. So if you really about to jump into the software business, you need to admit that development and marketing will never cease progressing until you either go bankrupt or sell the solution for several billion dollars. You need to plan your funds to invest in this direction on an ongoing basis.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile app?
This fully depends on the particular project. It could be 50/50%, 10/90%, or 90/10%. There are no averages. In some cases, one feature can take 90% of the overall scope.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
This is a marketing dilemma. The major points of focus should be your target audience and region. For example, if your perfect user is 16-26 years of age, living in the US, you should opt for iOS. If they are 40-60, based in Europe, go for Android. Again, it depends greatly on your product’s niche, direction, and marketing strategy.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
This is a holy battle of industry. As for me personally and IDAP, we recommend native over any type of hybrid. A great boxer could never be a great piano player. Same here, one tech could never cover different platforms with its standards with equal efficiency.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
Regardless of the project stage, any customer should go through the discovery stage with the vendor before starting cooperation. Both sides should be clear about the scope, goal, and bottlenecks of the product.
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.)
We are working with 3 major options:
- Fixed price/scope paid in 2-5 milestones depending on the project size. Usually, it looks like 40/40/20 where the upfront payment of 40% is charged before the start, 40% after the beta version/demo completion, and 20% after the production deployment.
- The Time & Materials payment structure always follows an agile approach. All cooperation is sprint-based, the same as invoicing. Where one sprint could be a period of 2-4 weeks, invoices consist of the number of hours spent during a certain sprint.
- A dedicated team is charged based on monthly flat invoices.
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?
The budget is not so important compared to the proper expectations of the customer and specifications. In many cases, customers are looking for an estimation based on the specs covering 30-40% of the scope. Sadly, while we are advising to put more attention and complete missing parts during the discovery, the advice is mostly missed. Especially, when the customer is not tech-educated enough and doesn’t have any tech person to help figure things out. Besides that, if the scope is worth 10k to develop and the customer with clear and documented tasks is willing to pay 10k, we are happy to proceed. Still, this could be considered as another major issue in the software development industry - in 9 out of 10 cases, we face x2 – x10 budget underestimation. For example, a solution like UBER will cost you 80-160k USD, but most customers expect to cover everything with 10-20k.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2019?
Which business model do you suggest to your clients enabling them to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
This point requires lots of details to start suggesting something in the first place. There are many different ways to monetize your software. Moreover, many unicorns like Insta, Linkedin, etc. hadn’t generated a penny before they got acquired for billions. In many digital domains, you can have 0 revenue, but millions of DAU (Daily active users), and your valuation will be incredible.