Please introduce your company and your role within the company.
Space-O Technologies was started in 2010 as a partnership firm between Mr. Rakesh Patel and Mr. Atit Purani. With more than 15 years of experience into IT field that comprises of web development, Space-O was founded with a goal of focusing only on Mobile App development in Ahmedabad. Mr. Rakesh Patel is the CEO and Mr. Atit Purani as the CTO of Space-O Technologies.
Space-O technologies have developed more than 3000 applications and currently have three development centres. The head office is in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and the development centres are based in St. Petersburg, Muscat and Vietnam. We have our sales and business development office in Sunnyvale, CA. Currently, we have total employee strength of 200+ developers and our core focus is on mobile app development. We do have few projects on website development but all of them come along with mobile app assignment, so more than 95% of our work is mobile app development. Our client comprises mostly of start-ups and enterprises.
Currently, I am working as Assistant Vice President and looking after marketing, sales and business development of the company’s business. I joined Space-O technologies as the first Project Manager in early 2011. During my journey of 5 years within the company, I was promoted to Sr. Project Manager, Delivery Manager and Sales Head before acquiring my current role.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app?
As a first step, we evaluate the business requirement. When client’s come to us for a solution to their existing business, we ask clients a set of questions to understand the requirement in detail that includes like - What is your business? Why you need a mobile app? What purpose will this mobile app solve? We provide them with feasibility study and the detailed schematic design.
In case, when the idea is a single line requirement we do offer business analysis followed by feasibility study. Once that is done, we give them a proposal or a work breakdown structure which includes information like how many hours of development would be required on front end, how many hours of development would be required on back end side, how many hours of development would be required on designing, how many hours required by the project manager to do the project management, and how many hours of involvement required from Quality Assurance side etc.
For example, if there is an application like FaceBook and the client wants to remove the functionality of “Like” or “Comment”, then it is easy for them to understand how much would each function cost in terms of fixed cost.
As one of the leading mobile app development company, who always come across with complex tasks and features which are not developed yet by any-one, in such cases we suggest our clients to get started with a prototype. When we propose a prototype we just want to show the client how much accuracy or what levels of result we can actually have using the mobile app technology. We have mostly suggested prototype in hardware integration and complex video and photo related functionalities.
How much effort in terms of time goes in developing the front end and the back end of developing a mobile application?
Proportionately the front end development will require around 60-70% of efforts and back end will require around 15-20% but this will again depend very much on how complex or detailed the CMS is.
What is your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors / outsourcing?
We are having highly qualified in-house team of 200+ professionals. We are end to end service provider for Mobile App Development that includes; business analysis, wire framing, prototyping, UI and UX designers (14 in total), iOS developers, Android developers, back end developers, QA team and we have 50+ devices to test the application in live environment that includes all variants of iPad, iPhone, and most popular Android devices.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
We always push ourselves to make our client’s project a success. This may be the reason that many of our competitors who have a team in the range of 200+ developers do not have success stories which we have. We have few clients who are working with us for more than four years; they have been consistently working with us and we have built their complete portfolio of apps. So there are applications developed by us which have downloads in excess of one million. This makes us stand apart from our competitors.
Which platform do you prefer for developing mobile applications?
Generally, we prefer to develop the application in a native platform. 98% of our projects have been developed in the native environment. We use Objective C and Swift for iOS and Java for Android. Sometimes we do receive requirements to do other platforms and technologies, in such cases, we try to explain our clients why native technology is better and reach a consensus. But if clients are not ready to believe in us, then we are not work on such assignments. A simple reason is that we believe in delivering the best to our clients and there is no alternative apart from native platform.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
The first and foremost criterion is the feasibility of the idea. Many times enterprises do not understand that mobile is a comparatively newer technology than web development. It is difficult to make them understand if a mobile application for a certain idea is feasible or not To make sure that what are the functionalities that the client is expecting we consider the following - Can it be delivered or developed or not? Are there any alternatives made with which we can achieve that functionality in less time and make the client’s app live in the market and have the real users start using it? With these as the core focus, we further evaluate the number of screens and the functionality which needs to be delivered. We offer a very précised and detailed work structure of what we are exactly going to do on each screen.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients?
As the mobile app development business is maturing, we have a lot of enterprise clients in our portfolio and with such clientele base we do not have any specific price strategy. But we mostly work on fixed price projects. We have also worked on some complex solutions where we have provided a dedicated team of developers for a certain project. There have been instances where the client comes in and wants to make changes to the existing projects, they got their app developed from some developer but are unsatisfied with the results, in such cases we prefer to go with T&M model.
As a company we do not have any policy or strategy that we will work only on fixed price project or T&M or dedicated model but we are open to all three models based on client’s specific needs. We always work towards offering better solutions to the clients. If we start with the fixed price and if the end product is not good then ultimately it is a disastrous relationship between client and Space-O technologies, we do not want that to happen. We believe in having a flexible pricing structure.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you worked in 2015?
No, we do not have any such criteria. We started working on projects where the budget was a few hundred dollars but now the same client has been working with us continuously for a few years now and we have done some of the most priced requirements for the same client. We always work with the idea to retain the client and do repeat business with them. In 2015, the larger projects that we worked were priced above US$ 100,000.
Which business model do you suggest to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
The best model in my opinion is the Freemium / user acquisition model. It allows the users to use the application for free. Focus on getting a strong user base and do not go for monetization at the start of the application is the suggestion we offer to our start-up clients. Just focus on the target audience, have a basic application roll out that serves the need of your target audience and continuously improve based on the user experience and feedback.