Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
I started IndiaNIC way back in 1997, as a small web hosting company out of a very small office enough for 2 people to work. Gradually, we started working in Web Development and grew the company to focus on development as services and then one after the other, we kept on adding new services to Mobile App, creative services, and enterprises.
Since then, we’ve been able to create more than 3000+ happy clients with more than 5000+ projects delivered so far. Our key expertise includes Mobile Apps, Web Development, Mobile Games, VR / AR apps that cater to Enterprises, Startups, and Agencies.
Being CEO - my role is to provide robust strategic vision, shared values for our employees and clients as well as continuous support to every member associated with the company. Having 70% of repeat business from existing client says all about how we closely align our operations to the goals of our clients. At IndiaNIC, we continue to improvise and innovate - to make IndiaNIC a preferred choice for our clients, and a proud place to work at for all of our employees. I’ve been blessed to have an extremely talented team and experienced leadership of total 400+ members in IndiaNIC family, 50+ of them have been with us for more than 8 years.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
Having started with Web hosting business in the.COM era - we were repeatedly contacted by our clients who had domains, to make a website for them. I realized that as a big opportunity and was quick to act on it. We immediately started and hired 2 members who could work on PHP, which was getting popular.
The core idea was to offer development services at small scale to these clients, but later on, we scaled up to a level where we could serve larger organizations and eventually enterprises.
What is your company’s business model–in-house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
We do all of our work in-house. Having 300+ quality and experienced developers hired from top universities around the country in India, we have been able to maintain quality talent inside the company for a longer duration. They not only provide technical expertise and experience, but they also work like lean startups to compete with the modern day business of providing digital services globally.
We do have partners in a few countries where we work with them to work on top notch and innovative technologies. However, the key difference we bring here is with our decades of experience in project management, execution, and reliability of IndiaNIC with its proven track record.
How is your business model beneficial from a value-added perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
Although we have set models which work typically for most of our clients, we are quite open to working out an engagement model that justifies the development and delivery of the solution based on the end client’s business. Every project is unique and requires similar special treatment. Depending on the scope of the project, the team required, and timeline we have to deliver the solution, we propose as we call “Constrained Budget” model with a fixed price and scope. In case of evolving requirement that grows over a period of time, we engage the required team on month-to-month cycle and bill the client accordingly. The later works out quite well for long-term partnerships as well for a lot of agencies we work with.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
70% of our business comes from the existing clients or those who have worked with us in the past. Collectively speaking, these clients belong to a variety of industries - Aviation, Healthcare, Insurance, Education, Transportation / Logistics, Retail, IT and Telecom, Digital Agencies to name a few.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app.
We believe the use cases where the app will create the highest impact plays a critical role in determining the time frame to deliver a functional app in time. While each small feature that adds the value to the end user is important, it is critical to identify the key success factors and what key differentiation the app brings to the targeted users. There’s an app for almost anything you could think of today - while that’s true, we have seen to achieve the development within the predictable time frame, it is vital in organizing the key features of a release one, and that’s what we aim to establish while scoping the project initially during requirement analysis/elicitation phase. Of course, this does help us define transparent budget and right business model around it.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front-end and back end of a mobile app?
Almost everybody perceives the app from its face - the UI and front end. However, the backend plays the crucial part in maintaining a top-notch user experience and how front end presents the information. For a custom built backend - it generally requires about 30% of total app development efforts. It could be less in case of using 3rd party APIs or endpoints of an existing system.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
The key parameter of choosing the right platform is to see what your end-users or consumers are using. It is extremely vital to analyze the usage patterns, understand the persona and create a profile of an ideal user to create a maximum impact of the app. However, not a lot many people believe in doing so & to go through the long tail process. However, we’ve seen a transition from “iOS-First” to many clients choosing to go for “Android-First” approach - purely because of the powerful devices and still stronger penetration in many countries.
Which platform do you suggest your clients begin with when they approach you with an idea (Android or iOS) and why?
I believe iOS still is easier to develop in spite of recent thin-fragmentation of the screens. Being far more closed ecosystem, as a developer, we know the boundaries well. With Android on the contrary - it is a little open-ended as distributing apps on Android is easy, and many of such apps don’t really comply with Google Play standards. You just need an APK that needs to be installed on a device. And that’s where it starts to get messy and people come up with wacky ideas.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
We always believe Native app development is far more stable, future-ready and secure compared to a hybrid having said that, the Hybrid approach has its own advantage as well. There’s nothing written on stones here - it totally depends on the size of the app, the integration with data end-points, security and user experience in the end (and of course “the budget”).
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
The scope of course, the scale of the work defines how much the client should look for investing. It also depends on a lot on how much of pre-development activities, how many expert members are required and what is the complexity of the solution.
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 have two models Fixed Cost where the payments are broken up into smaller installments referred to as Payment milestones, which are directly connected with the delivery milestones. The other is allowing the client to hire a dedicated team of experts who directly works with clients on day-to-day bases. Many times in their local time zones as well. For dedicated teams, we charge per month - per resource flat fee.
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?
Generally speaking, we work on projects larger than worth $10000. However, there’s no drawn line which we can’t cross. We often work with projects that we believe are interesting albeit smaller in size as well.
Recently - we’ve started working with a lot of MVPs (minimum viable product). This MVP is in form of smaller prototype, concept or just a lightweight implementation of the whole concept. These are generally smaller projects but help our clients to test the waters before diving in too deep.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2016?
To answer this question - the average project size that we worked for falls between $5K & $100K. However, that’s not the true picture. We also bagged a few long-term projects more than worth $500K and many that were very close to them.
Which business model do you suggest to your clients enabling them to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
For consumer applications - freemium is still the best approach. It is important to get initial traction. While that’s true - it is important to create “sellable” content inside the app - or it could be a niche feature or experience. There are two significant patterns I have personally noted - to continuously acquiring new customers (by free installs) and keep them engaged (by retargeting, sellable content, personalized targeted marketing). One important factor that I’ve seen work especially for social networking and apps that connect people - is to capitalize on the end-users network as well and then offer instant rewards as gratification. There are many success stories that did this well - WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram etc. The key is not just to engage single user - but all that is in their circles to have them engage more.