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A Guide to Mobile App Development Outsourcing: Essentials to Know

Hive team posted on December 18, 2023

Mobile App Development Outsourcing: How to Choose Right

There’s a mobile app for everything these days, and businesses across most industry verticals use mobile apps, including fintech, healthcare, retail, and of course, gaming. In 2022, the global market size for mobile applications reached $206.85 billion, with an anticipated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.8% from 2023 to 2030. The demand for app developers is notably high in the United States and Western Europe. Growing demand for mobile apps puts a huge strain on the talent market as many companies struggle to find experienced mobile developers. That is why businesses turn to mobile app development outsourcing.

In this article, we will explore the advantages and drawbacks of outsourcing mobile app development, along with strategies for finding a perfect partner for the job. Additionally, we will provide key considerations if you opt for offshore mobile app development services.

Table of Content

  • What is Mobile App Development and What are Its Core Benefits and Drawbacks?
  • In-house vs Outsource Mobile App Development
  • Steps to Hiring Outsourcing App Development Teams
  • How to Mitigate Risks in Mobile App Development Outsourcing?
  • What is the Cost of Mobile App Development Outsourcing?
  • FAQ
  • Mobile App Development Outsourcing with Hive

What is Mobile App Development and What are Its Core Benefits and Drawbacks?

Mobile app development encompasses the process of designing, developing, and maintaining applications tailored for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. These applications are engineered to fulfill defined functionalities that cater to the specific needs of mobile users, providing an accessible, user-friendly, and convenient platform for accessing information, products, services, or entertainment.

The primary platforms for mobile app development are Android and iOS. Each platform has its own set of tools and programming languages that help developers create native experiences for the users. Developers also use cross-platform development using frameworks such as React Native, Flutter, or Xamarin. When choosing to outsource mobile app development, one can outsource mobile app development to a specialized software development company, focusing on a specific platform or offering comprehensive cross-platform development services.

Benefits of mobile app development outsourcing

TOutsourcing mobile app development means delegating the design, creation, and maintenance of mobile applications to external agencies. Opting for mobile development outsourcing offers several advantages that make it an appealing strategy for organizations seeking to optimize resources, save time, and extend their reach. Here are several benefits of mobile app development outsourcing for your business.

  • Cost reduction: Developing a mobile app in-house can incur substantial costs, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It involves hiring developers, designers, and project managers, and setting up infrastructure and tools. Outsourcing mobile development allows businesses to trim overhead costs by capitalizing on competitive pricing from external agencies located in regions with lower labor and operational expenses.
  • Access to specialized skills and expertise: Outsourcing mobile app development provides access to a significantly larger talent pool. Collaborating with an experienced mobile app development outsourcing company grants access to expertise across various technologies, programming languages, and platforms. These professionals can deliver high-quality, scalable, and secure apps tailored to your business needs from anywhere around the world.
  • Improved time-to-market: Speed is crucial in releasing your mobile app to stay ahead of the competition. Outsourcing can substantially reduce development time by leveraging the technical knowledge, experience, and established processes of an external company. A reliable and experienced partner can manage the development process more efficiently, swiftly resolving challenges and ensuring a shorter time-to-market.
  • Focus on core business: Mobile app development can be time-consuming and potentially draw resources and attention from core business operations. Outsourcing allows your in-house team to concentrate on critical tasks while the external team handles the development process, promoting more efficient operations and prioritizing strategic objectives.
  • Scalability and flexibility: Outsourcing mobile app development provides businesses with the flexibility to scale up or down based on project requirements. External agencies often have larger teams and the ability to allocate resources adaptively, offering flexibility during peak workloads or when additional features or support are needed.
  • Quality assurance and testing: Professional mobile app outsourcing companies typically have dedicated teams for quality assurance and testing. They have the tools and expertise to conduct thorough testing across various devices, platforms, and scenarios, ensuring a polished final product by identifying and addressing potential issues before the app's launch.
  • Ongoing support and maintenance: Outsourcing mobile app development comes with the advantage of long-term support and maintenance. Experienced outsourcing partners can help continually update and improve your app based on user feedback, changing market conditions, and new technologies or security standards.
  • Risk mitigation: Partnering with a reliable mobile development vendor grants access to greater project management expertise. This results in a reduction of technical, operational, and financial risks, as the outsourcing company can anticipate challenges and employ strategies to mitigate them, ensuring a smooth app development process.

Risks of mobile app development outsourcing

Of course, every cooperation model, including outsourcing, comes with its pros and cons. Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of mobile app outsourcing, let us take a look at some of the potential drawbacks of such a decision. Here are the key risks you need to consider before you decide to outsource mobile application development.

  • Disorganized code and documentation: In certain instances, outsourcing clients transition between development teams or continue product work independently. In such cases, the quality of the code becomes crucial. There is a notable risk that previous developers failed to create appropriate project documentation or delivered a solution challenging to scale. Consequently, transferring the project to a new team can prove challenging, and in some cases, rewriting the app from scratch becomes necessary. This, in turn, leads to delays in the application's release date and incurs unforeseen costs.
  • Business risks: IT companies are not exempt from the standard risks faced by all businesses. Like any other enterprise, they can face failure, closure, or significant scaling down of operations. Aligning with a software development agency undergoing such challenges poses a substantial risk to your project, potentially leaving you with an incomplete product.
  • Limited control over the team: Many business owners fear losing control when outsourcing app development to another company, and this concern is partially justified. Delegating app development, especially with high business value, can seem risky as various issues may arise, and there might be limited or no ability to rectify them. However, experienced providers have established processes that ensure close client participation in the project, making them feel like an integral part of the team while staying in constant communication with app developers.
  • Challenges of time-zone differences and communication: Another potential risk arises when partnering with a provider located in a significantly different time zone. The cost-effective app development project anticipated might encounter obstacles and turn into an unforeseen financial burden. This challenge becomes particularly pronounced when working with freelance app developers instead of an office-based outsourcing company. Managing a project with an offshore team may sound complex, but experienced providers are well-prepared to deliver optimal services, adapting to time-zone differences and effectively mitigating any communication lag.
  • Absence of enthusiasm: An internal team is inherently driven to propel the product to success, there's no question about that. Monitoring the team's morale and intervening when necessary is possible. However, when opting for an app development outsourcing company, questions arise about whether all team members will share the same level of enthusiasm for your product and business idea. These are common concerns for entrepreneurs considering outsourcing mobile app development.
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In-house vs Outsource Mobile App Development

In-house mobile app development and outsourcing present distinct approaches, each with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Developing applications in-house offers the benefit of having a dedicated team working within the organization, fostering direct communication and control. In-house teams are well-versed in the company's culture and objectives, potentially leading to a more seamless integration of the app with existing systems. However, this approach often demands substantial financial investment in hiring skilled professionals, acquiring necessary tools, and creating a productive development environment.

On the other hand, outsourcing mobile app development involves entrusting the project to external experts or agencies. This strategy can offer cost savings, as organizations can leverage the expertise of skilled professionals without the long-term commitment of hiring an in-house team. Outsourcing also allows access to a global talent pool, providing diverse skills and perspectives. Nevertheless, challenges may arise in terms of communication barriers, time zone differences, and potential loss of control over certain aspects of the development process.

While both in-house and outsourcing models have their pros and cons, outsourcing mobile app development appears to be an increasingly popular route for many organizations. The cost-effectiveness, access to specialized skills, and flexibility offered by outsourcing can outweigh the drawbacks, especially for businesses seeking efficient and scalable solutions. By carefully selecting a reliable outsourcing partner and establishing effective communication channels, organizations can harness the advantages of external expertise while ensuring the successful and timely delivery of their projects.

Steps to Hiring Outsourcing App Development Teams

Once you decide to outsource your project, there are several steps you should take. It's important to note that the nature of the project typically does not impact these initial stages. This concise guide will help you ensure successful project delivery, effective cooperation with the vendor, and superb quality of the final product.

  1. Define your project requirements

    In every project, the first step involves understanding how you envision the end product. Begin by outlining the purpose of the app, its primary features and functionalities, and the targeted platform (iOS, Android, etc.). Additionally, define your target audience, considering their technical skills and expected behavior patterns.

  2. Research your candidates

    Finding a reliable outsourcing partner is crucial. Whether you are considering a company, a single freelancer, or a group of developers, carefully review their portfolios, seek relevant experience, and check reviews or references. Ideally, choose an outsourcing partner that can demonstrate their ability to meet your project requirements.

  3. Request proposals and evaluate

    Once you have narrowed down your list of candidates, create a sample project outline and request detailed proposals. Ensure the proposals include clear information on cost estimates, project timelines, development methodologies, team composition, and any other pertinent details. Compare the proposals and choose the company that aligns with your criteria.

  4. Ensure effective collaboration

    Communication challenges can sometimes affect outsourcing projects. However, this is a problem that can be easily avoided by establishing effective communication channels with your development partner. Set up regular review meetings, be they weekly or monthly, to ensure that everything is progressing as planned.

  5. Keep monitoring the project

    Outsourcing does not absolve you of monitoring responsibilities. Delegate someone to oversee the project's progress, actively provide feedback, and offer clarifications to ensure that the final product aligns precisely with your needs.

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How to Mitigate Risks in Mobile App Development Outsourcing?

It's not sufficient to simply understand how to outsource app development; you must also be prepared to address challenges in collaborative projects and minimize potential risks associated with outsourcing. Here are some tips to enhance your organizational resilience:

  • Conduct thorough research: Undertake comprehensive research before selecting an outsourcing partner. This phase is crucial and serves as the foundation of your outsourcing project.
  • Define expectations: Clearly articulate your expectations and ensure that your outsourcing partner fully understands your objectives. A shared understanding is vital for project success.
  • Set up a detailed contract: Develop a detailed contract that outlines mutual responsibilities, timelines, and other critical information. A well-structured contract provides clarity and helps manage expectations.
  • Maintain effective communication: Foster an effective, professional, and clear line of communication. Regularly monitor project progress and implement quality checks to ensure alignment with your standards.
  • Implement contingency plans: Be prepared for unforeseen events by having contingency plans in place. Accidents and unexpected challenges may arise, and having proactive measures in position will contribute to smoother project execution.
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What is the Cost of Mobile App Development Outsourcing?

Determining the cost of outsourcing app development is not that simple. According to Global Trade Mag, the expense of bringing an app idea to life can range anywhere from $30,000 to $300,000, depending on the complexity of the project.

To gauge your potential costs, consider addressing the following questions:

  • What type of app are you looking to develop?
  • How urgently do you need to launch it?
  • Are you in need of an outsourcing team with highly specialized skills?
  • How much support is required not just during development but also before and after the launch?
  • What level of UX or UI design work is involved?
  • Where is your chosen app development company located?

The last point is particularly crucial, as the hourly rates charged by mobile developers vary significantly across regions. For instance, top-quality developers in Eastern European countries may charge as little as $25 per developer hour. On the other hand, mobile developers in the United States may charge up to $200 per developer hour, with no guarantee of possessing greater skills or expertise.

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How much does it cost to outsource mobile app development?

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Where to outsource app development?

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How to outsource mobile app development?

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Mobile App Development Outsourcing with Hive

Engaging in mobile app development outsourcing is a viable choice for businesses seeking operational efficiency, cost reduction, and access to specialized skills. However, the success of outsourcing requires careful attention to the selection of the right outsourcing partner, maintaining effective communication, implementing proper project management, and mitigating risks. With an in-depth understanding of the nuances of mobile app development outsourcing, Hive is a reliable technology partner. Backed by extensive technical expertise, a flexible approach, and a strong client commitment, the Hive team ensures high-quality development, leading to exceptional product quality and positive business impact.

By adhering to the recommended best practices outlined in this guide, companies can outsource mobile app development more reliably and attain their desired outcomes. Outsourcing mobile app development is a powerful tool for organizations to uphold competitiveness, foster innovation, and simultaneously maintain cost-efficiency and flexibility.

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