MOBILE APPS: TO BUILD OR NOT TO BUILD
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Mobile apps today have become a part of every conceivable business, irrespective of their size or services they offer. Every business, even the guy making the Rolex (not the luxury watch) at the corner, before you reach your apartment could be working with some devs from Makerere or Busitema University on an App. However, are mobile apps really necessary for each and every business? Joseph Owino recently wrote “Why Uganda Does Not Need An App To Reach The President” a week after, well a certain BOSCOM Solutions Inc developed a mobile app for the President of Uganda.

According to Yahoo’s Flurry Analytics, mobile app usage grew by 115% in 2013, with social and messaging apps seeing the highest level of growth at 203%. Analysts have dubbed Africa a ‘mobile first continent’ and this has driven more innovative strategies in mobile technology. Does this mean you should pour resources into building a mobile application for your business?

However, the cost of mobile app development, plus the hassles of marketing both your app and brand can prove to take a heavy toll on your time and money. It takes a lot more for your app to actually succeed in the marketplace; and to become popular among the users and get downloaded and used as the business owner intended. So I have come up with some points to consider:

Target Audience

You have to consider the people you are targeting as potential customers and how many among them use smartphones? Secondly, how many would actually bother to download your app? You also need to ascertain their most preferred mobile OS.

Budget

Developing a mobile app does not come cheap. It would work out much better for you if you have prior app development experience or training, otherwise you would need to hire a developer. Developers these days charge on a ‘per-hour’ basis. Which means the longer they spend on your mobile app project, the costlier it becomes to develop the product.

In case you discover that the cost would exceed your budget, advertising your product on mobile Websites would be the better and cheaper option.

Content

Mobile users are fickle and forever need something interesting to hold their attention. If you fail to update your app often enough, users will soon move away from you and onto another product.

Platform Compatibility

Next, you have to think of cross-platform formatting, so that it can be compatible with the various other mobile devices that you think they would prefer. Keep in mind that the process would cost you extra money, time and effort.

Profit$

Ultimately, you have to make a decision on the most vital aspect – deriving profit from your app. Ask yourself if your net profit would be able to exceed your costs by a reasonable margin.

But hey, that’s what I think. Let me know what you think in the comments section or tweet me @jgenrwot and @pctechmagazine.