Please introduce your company and your role within the company.
My name is Jason Cottrell and I am the CEO of Myplanet.
We are a design and technology firm based in Toronto, Canada with 4 offices globally. We work with large organizations and funded start-ups, helping them build the software around their marketing and product experiences. We work with a variety of application types including web, native, and increasingly Internet of Things applications.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app.
First, we evaluate the complexity of the business logic. Are we developing a simple application, or are we developing in a space with complex business rules? For example, a mobile application for a financial services or telecommunications application will tend to require deeper subject matter expertise and have more complex business rules.
Next, we look at whether an app has been built before. We work very comfortably in scenarios where we are building a brand new product or innovating on a brand new experience, but tend to include more time for customer validation and technical proof-of-concept.
Lastly, we look at required functionality and integrations. Are there ways to use hybrid applications instead of full native? Are there ways to leverage content and functionality from other sources or platforms?
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile application?
We generally allocate about twenty to thirty percent of our project budgets towards user experience design. We’ve found that it’s the optimal ratio and the optimal rate to get the user experience right and get the application adopted. The balance is usually related to the app middleware, integrations, and data storage.
What is your company’s business model — in-house team or third party vendors / outsourcing?
We primarily work with an in-house team based in Toronto. We have offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Chicago. We also have a global delivery team based in Europe. We have found that keeping our teams together in-house helps produce a higher-quality end product.
How is your business model beneficial, from a value added perspective, to your clients as compared to other companies' models?
We definitely differentiate on the quality and caliber of the user experience we can develop. We start with the needs and journey of the user and have found that makes a big difference in application adoption. We, as a firm, do very well in tackling particularly complex applications, making them simple for the user, including finance and technology and telecommunications.
The second benefit is through alliances with leading organizations like IBM. IBM’s Mobile First platform allows us to rapidly and effectively architect applications for our enterprise customers while helping us lower the long-term cost of a customer’s complete mobile application portfolio.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
iOS seems to be the consistent choice for many of our customers, obviously from an install base perspective and the way it has been positioned in the market. Android also has a growing market share and we're actually seeing an increasing interest in their Google Wear capabilities in some of the extended uses of Android.
We’ve helped a number of our customers look at their current app portfolio and decide if they should use more hybrid or wrapped applications in attempts to replace existing apps or lower the cost of ownership on new apps. The capabilities of these platforms have come a long way in the past few years.
Also, we often look at the capabilities of our customer’s internal talent. That application's going to be more likely to be maintained and the customer is more likely to be able to collaborate with us on its development.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
We evaluate the complexity of the design requirements, number of distinct user groups, geographic considerations, and complexity of the subject matter. From a product adoption perspective, we look into the amount of effort that goes into the testing and planning to make sure we get the right adoption experience. We also consider as to whether we are doing a full native or a hybrid approach because that makes a huge difference.
Also, do we have a starting point for the project? Thanks to a solution like IBM Mobile First, usually we’re able to reduce costs by enough of a margin to more than compensate for the licensing costs.
Then from a development perspective, the business logic, the number of features and integrations, and testing requirements also influence the cost.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients?
We try to work with our customers in the way that best works with their situation. Sometimes we work on a project basis and in other cases, we provide a team that works in collaboration with their internal team where we just bill on a per day basis.
Usually, our billing is rendered in the form of an upfront invoice or deposit, then billing evenly throughout the course of the project.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement?
As mentioned, we often work on complex business applications. Most of our projects have an initial development phase of between $250,000 to $350,000 USD.
If it's less than a certain amount, then often we'll try to take an advisory role and add value that way, as they perhaps have internal teams work on the project.
What was the cost bracket of mobile app projects your organization did in 2015?
It ranged between $50,000 USD and $1,000,000 USD
Which business model do you suggest your clients use to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
Often we work with customers in situations where the applications we are building are part of another existing product set or an existing brand experience. So I would say in our case, loyalty rewards are often part of it, mobile commerce, as well as improving existing workflows and customer experience. In-app purchases and monetizing the app through companion IoT devices are other scenarios we are increasingly seeing as relevant for our customers.