4 trends that will influence digital product development in 2022

Digital transformation (DX) is only going to pick up speed this year, as global spending on DX is projected to hit $1.8 trillion USD in 2022. 

From widespread 5G deployment, to the explosion of remote work, the world is demanding that companies embrace more tech-enabled approaches to customer engagement, business management and infrastructure. According to Gartner, 91% of organizations are responding accordingly, investing in at least some form of digital initiative. 

Not surprisingly, mobile apps often play an integral role in the success of DX. And given the number of projects Vog App Developers is working on, we have a good sense of how businesses are investing in technology, software and app development in their digital transformation journeys.

Here are four trends that will be big in 2022:

1. The explosion of on-demand services and on-demand apps

We are experiencing a massive uptick in client requests for on-demand apps. These requests are clearly driven by the overarching on-demand or sharing economy that is set to be worth $335 billion USD by 2025

Examples of on-demand apps include Uber or SkipTheDishes. Essentially, they are applications that connect businesses or consumers with a service that meets an immediate need, or connects people with other people. These are one of the three types of apps we built most often

Some key features of the on-demand economy that tend to be addressed in these applications are:

  • Convenience is enabled by having products delivered to customer doorsteps
  • Contactless delivery manages pandemic concerns 
  • Built-in personalization is facilitated via touch points throughout the app 
  • Behavioural targeting helps to understand and meet the needs of app users

2. A growing need for app rebuilds

Lately we have had an influx of established enterprise clients approach us with an application or IT stack that has run its course and requires a rebuild. 

Digital transformation’s pace of change is incredibly fast, and infrastructure or an app that was built years and years ago can be monolithic today. Even if updates have been made, at some point it no longer makes sense to keep old, outdated IT infrastructure or apps running.

The great thing about rebuilds is that we already have a base platform to work with, and learn from. With the old system as a framework, we can focus on building out a roadmap for the app’s business case going forward. 

We can begin the transition to the cloud, and we can use microservices to transition without taking the business down. Microservices are a huge trend in app development, and will continue to be in 2022.

3. Cryptocurrency is huge, but regulations could change trajectories

We are seeing a lot of companies, especially financial startups, quickly adopt and move into the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) space. A blockchain substitute for traditional financial systems, DeFi is based on open-source technology that allows anyone to offer financial services online. 

So if a company wants to build an app that provides alternative banking solutions for customers, DeFi products and services are accessible and not governed by centralized regulatory bodies. 

Another related trend is when businesses simply want to offer the option to pay with cryptocurrency in their app, rather than develop a full DeFi solution.

While we’re certainly experiencing an increase in demand for DeFi and pay with crypto, we are also witnessing a slowdown in the growth of cryptocurrency exchanges. As new regulatory requirements are implemented by governments, there will likely be a limit to the number of new exchanges that pop up. 

If you’re looking to have crypto apps built, you’ll want to review both the technology needs and the regulatory environment.

4. The Metaverse is intriguing, but won’t explode overnight

We get a lot of questions about the metaverse, largely driven by hype and media attention around Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook). 

The definition of the metaverse is still evolving, but as Wired describes it, “To a certain extent, talking about what ‘the metaverse’ means is a bit like having a discussion about what ‘the internet’ means in the 1970s. The building blocks of a new form of communication were in the process of being built, but no one could really know what the reality would look like.”

For Meta, the company envisions a new online platform powered by virtual and augmented reality. But this is just one company. Microsoft and Amazon also have their visions, as do hundreds of startups. 

Meta will be making big bets on the metaverse but there’s still a lot we don’t know about how its version of the metaverse will function or be monetized. 

We will see increased interest in the metaverse in 2022, but approach with caution as every company will have a different version of what it looks like. We’ve got some time to figure out how to build apps that fit into this new ecosystem — and also gauge how expansive and successful it actually turns out to be.

3 Reasons why businesses are choosing microservices

Like many companies today, you may be thinking about — or perhaps are already in the process of — digital transformation. 

As McKinsey puts it, since the pandemic, every business needs to become a tech company of sorts, embracing (often critical) digital opportunities, while also managing cyber challenges. 

Technical transformation can be a complicated process, and many companies are just starting out. McKinsey reports that 50% of companies it surveyed are still in the pilot phase of transformation, “but too often companies focus on a series of initiatives without accounting for crucial dependencies that need to be in place to enable the change.”

One of the most common steps in transformation is moving legacy systems from on-location servers, into the cloud. At Vog, we view this move to the cloud as an integral first step in tech transformation, as it’s important to move away from legacy, monolithic IT architecture to fully realize a digital transformation.

To transition from a monolithic architecture to one that is cloud-based, many businesses are shifting toward using microservices

With monolithic architecture, all of a system’s processes are interconnected so if you want to make a change to just one feature or application in that system, the rest of the architecture must be updated as well. This is time-consuming, and costly. 

On the flip side, with microservices architecture, each process runs independently, but is still able to communicate with the rest of your system through APIs (Application Programming Interface). So if you want to implement a specific use case or custom application, it’s much easier because system-wide changes aren’t required. 

How does this benefit your business? Here are three reasons why you might want to consider a microservices approach: 

Microservices provide opportunities to save money

With microservices, you don’t have to start up your whole system if you only need to do one task, such as login to a single application. Because you are only accessing the specific service you need, you don’t need to pay for your entire IT infrastructure to run. And once you’re done with that service, it shuts off.

You’ll use a microservice to access a marketplace for instance, but won’t be drawing on — and thus draining — your whole system to engage with that single app. 

On the other hand, with monolithic architecture, you are likely paying for servers that run all the time, even if they’re not being actively used. It makes growth expensive and complicated.

Microservices can enable more innovative growth

As your organization pursues a digital transformation, it’s important that your strategy and budget include innovative digital programs. As McKinsey notes, microservices allow teams to “rapidly create products and services that will drive maximum value.”

It’s hard to rapidly create and test products and services if your business is working with a complex monolithic tech stack that’s consuming a lot of resources. 

Microservices allow you to prioritize areas of growth and develop apps to achieve specific goals. This speeds up the process of getting a new product or service to market, while also reducing the cost of running legacy architecture. 

Businesses that are stuck with old tech stacks end up spending too much time and money on infrastructure and maintenance, and thus can’t allocate budget to innovation. 

As McKinsey notes, 92% of some bank budgets are spent in this way, leaving only 8% to fuel innovation and growth. McKinsey suggests at least 25% should be allocated to growth initiatives, which is made possible when a company replaces outdated systems with microservices.  

Microservices allow you to develop new applications easier and faster 

As a company that builds custom software and applications, we often recommend deployment of microservices because it allows for a transition to the cloud one function at a time, rather than rebuilding an entire IT infrastructure.

With microservices, we can also bring in a team that has different talents, and write code in different programming languages depending on needs. For instance, we don’t have to allocate a PHP developer to work on a large monolithic tech stack and instead we can have a node developer, or a C# programmer, build small services or even elements of services, as required. 

How do you shift from monolithic to microservices?

As mentioned, the first step in moving towards microservices is investing in cloud infrastructure. Your data needs to be stored and accessed via the cloud before you can engage an architecture that is based on digital microservices, rather than legacy servers. 

Then, start small by integrating new features via microservices. Over time you can replace your monolithic infrastructure rather than trying to do it all at once. Then you can grow your network of microservices, access the cost savings they offer and invest your digital budgets in initiatives that fuel growth.

4 questions to ask a development firm to see if they’re right for you

Our customers often share stories with us about other developers. And of course, since they’re coming to us for support rather than sticking with those firms, many of these stories aren’t great. 

They often reveal that some developers avoid telling their clients the full truth about certain elements of the app production process. Or that they just don’t take the time to understand the business needs of their customers, which means they are not as well-equipped to build an app that helps achieve those goals. 

One simple example that happens all the time: Customers who come to us saying they were told by their previous developers that Apple iOS approvals take 30 days to complete. Which is not true, and in fact if you follow Apple’s guidelines properly, approvals typically only take about 24 hours. But not every firm has a specialist on their team who makes sure every platform-specific requirement is met. 

This is why it’s important that you work with a best-in-class development team. They should not only be straight with you about the development process, but also design your app so that it fits seamlessly into your overall business plan, helping you actualize key objectives. 

To figure out whether a development team is telling you everything you need to know, we suggest you focus your planning and assessment on four areas:

Is your timeline realistic?

We often hear from customers that they were promised a completely unrealistic development timeline just so the dev firm in question could win the work. A responsible product and app development company will not promise you the moon. 

And you can’t always make things move faster by throwing more people at it. Putting 25 developers on a project that only requires 10 won’t cut the time in half. Proper software development doesn’t happen overnight and you should be wary of people who say that it does. 

Tell me about your other projects?

Most firms (including ours) don’t list every client on a website. But if you want to determine whether a team has the experience to create a high-quality mobile app or custom software for you, they should have no problem providing you with glowing references from their top clients. 

Once they offer them up, make sure those references can be trusted. For instance, if a development team has only worked with a referring client for a short period (e.g. two to three months) that’s not a long enough timeframe for the client to have determined whether the developer has created what they need. 

How many active projects do you have?

By learning about the other current projects a developer already has on the go, you can gauge whether or not they seem equipped to take on your app development needs. 

For instance, at Vog we have 80 people in our company working together on about 22 projects concurrently. This is a decent ratio. 

But if a developer tells you, “we have five staff who are working on 20 projects,” something is not adding up. It is also very possible that the firm is outsourcing some of the actual development work (see the next question). 

Tell me about your staff, and do you outsource your work?

People are the heart and soul of any organization. So if you are looking for a way to measure the efficacy of a development team, start by learning more about their staff. 

Ask for bios, read up about the people on LinkedIn, or even ask for a discussion to meet the people who will work on your software or app. Seeing that there are enough people with the right experience will reassure you that it’s not being farmed out the second it lands the developer.

Another important element of the people conversation is outsourcing. Many development teams depend on contract or freelance talent who are usually based overseas. This then leads to security and quality risks that should not be ignored

At Vog, we don’t outsource development at all. All our work is done 100% in-house. 

Hopefully, with these questions in hand, you are now better equipped to determine whether a development team is being fully honest with you — and worth hiring to build your app. 

How developers become (and remain) best-in-class

Making the final decision to hire a development team to build custom software or an app for your business can be a nerve-racking experience for those who aren’t technical themselves. 

Maybe you’re not sure your developer — or the company you’re hiring — has all the skills needed. Or maybe what’s making you uncomfortable is that you don’t know what you don’t know, and thus don’t know to ask your developer if they know it.

That feeling sucks, but rest assured you aren’t alone in feeling it. We’ve had many clients come to us because they thought they had a great dev, only to learn later that nothing was getting done properly, on-time, or on-budget. We’ve also been brought in to fix a problem –– or even create a whole new app –– because a client was previously burned by an offshore team that wasn’t current on technical knowledge, or they didn’t understand the business goals.

If you are thinking if hiring a developer, consider asking these two questions:

  1. Does your team provide business insight as well as development support?
  2. How do I know your developers are best-in-class with up-to-date knowledge?

Question #1 matters because your application doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You need it to serve a specific business purpose –– which means your development team needs to intimately understand that purpose and help you achieve it, throughout the creation and launch of your app. 

Question #2 is an open-ended question that will shed light on how the team works and stays current. Best practice advice can change over time, so the answer to this question will help you gauge expertise. You don’t need to know how to code, but knowing how a company approaches sharing insight and learning internally is an indicator that you’re in good hands.

In this article we’re breaking down ways you can gauge answers to both questions, and we’ll share some insight as to how we approach these.

1. Your business needs should drive the conversation

When we meet a client, one of our first questions is: Why do you need this app built? 

Asking this question to start out is important because it gives us an opportunity to hear about the pain points or opportunities that have inspired you to want to build an app.

We have a few different types of developers on our team, and the answer also provides detail for our solutions architect to consider when structuring the app. We want to provide solutions to real problems, and avoid replicating any problems that may already exist in your workflow.

At this point in the process, we still haven’t talked about code. A good development team will function like a business partner, and not just a technical support resource. So when you are assessing who you should work with these qualities should be high up on your list.

Once we understand the business needs we can then start to make recommendations on what type of app you need

You should be concerned if your app developers are not trying to deeply understand you and your business goals as the primary drivers of the process.

2. Your developer should have a process for sharing insight

Being a developer can be a tough job. Platforms change, there are always many ways to tackle a problem, and best-practice approaches will evolve over time.

The ways in which your developers stay on top of changes will distinguish bad, from good, from great.

For example, Apple released iOS 15 this fall and for consumers and end-users it doesn’t mean much other than faster, more stable operation. But for developers, iOS 15 is the biggest change in four years and has several changes for workflow and development features. At Vog App Developers, we stay on top of changes like this by building in opportunities to share learning and news across the company.

For instance, each of our platform teams have their own learning group that meets weekly to discuss  industry innovation they have learned about and are implementing in their projects. In this way, every member of the team is aware of any new changes to iOS or Android operating systems, for example. 

We also have a policy called the “the rule of two” that we employ. Not only is every developer educating themselves and others on their team about industry updates, but we have documentation practices in place that ensure a second developer can pick up where the first developer leaves off in a project. How? Because they’re all following the same development techniques and process. 

This helps us ensure both quality control and uninterrupted timelines if a developer has to take part in a project started by someone else.

Internal knowledge sharing is important, so we recommend you ask the development team you’re considering hiring how they keep up with change.

Staying on top of industry standards

In addition to the experiential knowledge and insight our development teams glean in their day-to-day work, they also turn to regularly updated industry tools to stay current. For example, our devs routinely engage with the following resources:

So again, before you engage a development team, have a conversation with them and ask how they are keeping up with industry trends and changes. 

Their knowledge will make all the difference for your app and your related business objectives.

Here’s what your app development team should look like

When you build or renovate a house, you depend on a multi-talented team of professionals –– with different, but complementary skill sets –– to get the job done. 

The same is true of app development. 

For instance, if you are building a new home you will likely hire an architectural team to manage structural design and decisions. In app development, an equivalent role would be a solutions architect who figures out the best way to structure your application, based on your business and technical needs

Once the structural design of your home is established, you probably require a construction team to pour concrete and build a foundation. Comparatively, there are developers who focus on pre-work to establish the bedrock or back-end of your application before the rest of the build takes place. 

Metaphors aside, the structure (and of course quality) of your development team will make or break the success of your project. The talent involved in creating your company’s app and managing the overall development process determines the quality of your end-product and whether it is delivered on time and on budget

The structure of an ideal app development team

While there are some projects that require specialty resources, most of the time an efficient app-building team is made up of eight to 12 people. 

Here’s a breakdown of the key roles they fulfill:

Your primary app development contact

We call the main client contact on our team your customer experience manager. They are your point person. They function as the liaison between your team and ours, making sure you are kept informed about the development process and any relevant business insights.

As important as technical knowledge and skill are, strong communication and reciprocal engagement is very important in executing a project that meets your needs. 

The details person

Another team member you’ll frequently engage with is our project coordinator. They serve as the subject matter expert on our team, keeping track of all the small details you share that will inspire development decisions.

The success of a development process depends on us truly understanding your business challenges and goals, so that we can build an app that provides you with actionable solutions.

The keep-everything-on-track manager

While the coordinator makes sure our team has the background information required, our project manager oversees the technical aspects of the development process. From timelines to budgets to workflow, they make sure our developers are on the right path and have everything they need to tackle the job.

With client engagement, subject matter insight and day-to-day task/people management taken care of, let’s talk about the team members who build your app:

The developers 

Not all app developers do the same thing. 

Most focus on a specific type of work, which is why we group development roles into a few key categories:

  1. There will be one or two backend developers who create the overall structure and functionality of your app, by writing code that speaks to relevant servers. Backend work happens in the foundation of the app, and behind the scenes. It’s critical to make the app function, but it’s different than a frontend developer who will make the public-facing components of the app.
  2. Depending on whether you are creating an iPhone and/or Android app, we will have iOS and Android developers build the elements of your application that engage with the respective operating systems.
  3. We assign a UX/UI (User Experience/User Interface) developer to design the aesthetic and experiential elements of the app that users will see and engage with. 
  4. We bring on a front-end developer to create the web, mobile, or public-facing structure and content, as well as ensure everything is responsive. Front-end developers will build and create everything the users see rather than the code that runs the site or app. If the app is using WordPress as a platform, we’ll also ask our WordPress developers to build out functionality.

What makes a best-in-class development team? 

We organize our team this way because it is the best way to build custom software and mobile applications.

We need to glean a deep understanding of why you want and need an app to be built, as well as the problems we’re helping to solve so that we can ensure our build doesn’t replicate or create new challenges for you. 

This includes both a listening process –– where we learn from you –– and an educational process during which we provide informed, experienced suggestions on how to achieve your business objectives via the application. 

Ultimately, a best-in-class team takes the time to engage the right people to solve a problem, together.

What type of app do I need?

There are many ways to categorize apps, but if you’re not technical or don’t speak developer, it can be overwhelming to know what to ask for.

Do you need a native app or Android? Or perhaps a hybrid mobile app that uses an iOS wrapper so it can be used on an iPhone? Not sure? We don’t blame you. 

So how about we keep this simple, and talk about three different kinds of apps we typically build so you know what works best for your business.

In this article, we’re going to organize apps based on the way they function or serve the people who engage them. There are three:

  1. A standalone app
  2. A user-to-computer app
  3. A user-to-user app

Because our approach to app development is based on the business needs of our clients, we find these categories help us determine usability, ranging from an interface and architectural standpoint, to the way we design user management and the kind of data transfer capabilities we include (or not). 

Let’s explore what each type of app has to offer. 

1. The standalone app

The least common type of app we build functions completely on its own –– it does not share information with external sources and doesn’t even need to be connected to the internet. 

A simple example of a standalone app is one that you likely use daily: The Calculator app that is included with every smartphone or tablet. 

Or in a healthcare context, it might be an app that reminds you to take medication. 

These apps do one thing really well, and they don’t require data to be fed to them regularly to function.

Some key questions we ask when it a client is looking for a standalone app include: 

  • Is there no requirement (at this time) for the app to communicate to other users? 
  • Depending on what your app does, will it require a server to host data? 
  • Will your app solve a purpose for a specific user on their phone or their device that eliminates an immediate need?

It’s important to note that if you are considering a standalone app, but then hope to scale the product over time –– perhaps enabling communication between users, for instance –– we would have to build an entirely different app.

If you think you might want an app to communicate with users, or access data at some point in the future, you’re better off going with option two or three below.

2. The user-to-computer app

This product type sends and receives data from external servers or computers. Its function requires a connection in order to provide utility for its users.

That said, users of this kind of app do not communicate back and forth with one another.

An example of a user-to-computer app is an entertainment-focused service like Netflix. Users stream or download video from the company’s server, but are not going to regularly chat with other Netflix viewers, or talk to Netflix support about the shows or movies they are viewing. 

Investment in video-based, streaming mobile apps is likely to continue to rise as consumers reported a 54% increase using this type of app in 2020, according to Global Web Index. But the user-to-computer model is highly applicable to a variety of other industries as well: 

  • From an enterprise perspective you may want to build this type of app for internal document management control or safety processes.
  • In healthcare, it’s great for providing medical records to patients.
  • And in financial services the model is the basis for banking or fintech apps where clients can check balances, make transactions and more 

3. The user-to-user app

Finally, the most complex type of app we build is centred on user-to-user interaction. 

Think: Uber. 

In this case, there is a user-to-computer function because you can access a database behind the scenes to see historical rides or billing information. And there is also a user-to-user function where customers (riders) can connect with drivers in real-time.

Apps that are this user-focused are more applicable to some industries than others. For instance, most finance apps are one-way platforms and thus a user-to-computer model suits them best. 

But in the growing healthcare application space, the user-to-user functionality works quite well. 

To give you an example of something we built:

We developed a personalized senior home care app that connected several different user groups: administrators who oversaw scheduling, home care providers, patients and patient family members. 

Not only did they need to be able to communicate seamlessly, but we also had to prepare for a variety of potential circumstances that might affect the efficiency of the service provided:

  • What happens if a caregiver doesn’t get an order? Who would need to know about it?
  • What happens if a caregiver is off for the day or sick? 
  • How does rescheduling work? 
  • What about customer cancelation?

No matter what type of app we build, questions like these –– that follow the entire potential user journey and consider the specific type of user solutions required –– are paramount. And the answers inform both the development and business strategy we move forward with.

3 reasons to avoid outsourcing to an offshore app developer

We have many clients who opted to hire an overseas app developer — before then having to engage our team to clean up the mess. 

We hear it all the time: You need an application or software developed, and an offshore app company promises faster development, at a cheaper cost. And we get it. The price tag for building an app is always top-of-mind for our clients, as is how long it will take. It’s safe to say most of today’s most popular applications weren’t built in two weeks for less than $20,000.

In the first quarter of 2021, there were 3.48 million Android apps in the Google Play store and 2.22 million iOS apps available for download from Apple. If you want your app to be a contender in a highly saturated market, you can’t sacrifice on quality. And you also probably need adjacent services and business insight to successfully launch and market your app. 

You should be able to trust that your development team has advanced design, development and programming skills. They also should have the knowledge, capability and integrity to consider and address any potential security risks, as well as ensure local North American regulatory requirements are met. Finally, you want an experienced, business-savvy team who can provide strategic direction on the implementation and even use of your app. 

Apps don’t have to be uber expensive, but there are a few key reasons you want to avoid offshoring to save money and we’re going to explore them in this article.

Look for current, and cutting-edge development expertise

There are offshore development firms in every corner of the globe, from Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, to India, and Latin America. There are absolutely some amazing developers in these locations, but they’re not likely to be the ones offering too-good-to-be-true pricing and timelines.

In addition, when you leverage an unknown overseas resource, it increases the need to gauge whether that company has the most up-to-date development expertise and skills. We have met great overseas devs who aren’t using current software, tools, programming languages and/or methods.

We’ve worked on — or fixed — apps that were started by offshore developers who had knowledge that was more than five years out of date.

Often, the result is an app that does not perform at the level it is required to. Usually the app  runs too slowly or inefficiently. 

And when you start with something that isn’t up to today’s standards, scalability becomes near impossible. In the end, fixes for these projects often involve significant or total rebuilds.

Ask about security best practices and local regulations

It’s imperative that your app is built with security that protects you, your company, and your users from risk. For instance, you want to ensure that secure communication, network security measures, permissions and data storage on the app are all following best practices

In addition to industry security standards though, there are also country-specific regulations that must be understood and implemented. For instance, in Canada, data privacy laws such as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), set specific ground rules for how applications must “collect, use or disclose information about individuals in the course of commercial activities.”

We recently assisted a client with a complex app that was built overseas. They spent more than $100,000 and were promised it was fully secure. We checked it out and discovered no security measures were in place at all, leaving the client exposed to massive risk.

A great partner also delivers business insight and strategy

A successful app is not dependent on technical development alone. Throughout the scoping, research, design, development and testing process –– as well as before and during launch –– you need strategic business advice and insight to be available as well. 

[Related reading: Here’s everything you need to do to plan for app success]

A client recently came to us with an app that was developed offshore. They didn’t want to fix the code, but instead get counsel on how best to onboard 200,000 users. Because the developer was strictly a developer, they lacked insight on how to manage the people that will ultimately use the app. They also lacked experience launching an app for a large enterprise and couldn’t support internal teams with direction on user flow and usability

The strategy and rollout of an app takes way more than good code, so ask for details about support options when you are picking a developer.

Getting a development resource you can trust

Our team begins every project by getting to know you and your business problem, so that we develop a product that provides you with strategic, measurable –– and if relevant, profitable –– solutions that you can then immediately take to market. 

If you want to do some research before starting your app journey, here are some common questions we get:

Still need help? Reach out and we can answer any questions you have.

Let’s talk timelines –– here’s how long it takes to build an app

We can talk all day about custom software development and mobile apps. We can talk about artificial intelligence unlocking business value. Or automation and structured data. 

But in most cases clients want to know two things: What does it cost to create an app and how long will it take?

They’re the key questions we get, every time.

How much does it cost to build an app? There are general ranges, but the short answer is that it depends on the number of features you need and the complexity of the app. 

As for the time required to build an app, that’s what we’re going to unpack in this article.

On average, most of the applications designed by our team — which tend to range from medium- to larger-sized projects — take anywhere from five to 10 months to complete. Business needs are driving app development, and in many cases timelines are driven by our clients.

Invest the time to get it right

Discussing timelines is a critical part of every project. Without disciplined project management and transparent, continuous conversation between a developer and an organization on progress, hurdles, and objectives, there is little to no chance for success.

Well-scoped timelines come from a thoughtful and strategic conversation about your business needs, and what success looks like. 

In the development of an application and/or custom software, we set milestones for development and our customer experience teams will keep you informed about what we’re working on, what we need from you, and any schedule changes.

We are capable of sprints to deliver on short timelines, but often there are factors within our client’s world that slow that process down. Maybe you need multiple stakeholders to provide input. Or your data isn’t yet organized or accessible for an app. Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know until we talk it out and provide strategic counsel on the benefits and risks of certain decisions.

A delay in making a decision by a week can have a domino effect, so we spend the upfront time to understand your business goals and come up with realistic timelines.

If another app developer is telling you they can have your app ready in a few weeks or months and they haven’t done a thorough review of your business, goals and potential challenges then you end up paying for it in the long-run.

Onboarding and project kick-off is where our process begins. At Vog App Developers, we start with a high-level discussion to understand the problem or opportunity your application will address, as well as the specific audiences or user groups it will serve. Armed with this insight, we can then move on to development, testing and deployment –– altogether, there’s a lot to get done. 

If you seek a faster than average timeline for the development of your app, there are options that can speed things up, but they come at a cost.

Ask about the team who will work on your app

App development is a black box to many. Some companies promise a small army will work on an app, and in some cases extra bodies can help. But in almost every case, a strategic build with the right kind of developers will yield better returns.

If you are shortlisting a developer to build your custom software and mobile apps, there are three questions you should ask:

  • How many resources are dedicated to your project? 
  • How many senior developers are taking part in the project? 
  • Will any of the work be outsourced?

Outsourcing is increasingly common in the development industry, to offset cost, flexibility and speed to market. In 2020, nearly 14 percent of IT budgets were allocated to outsourced labour, according to a study by Computer Economics

At Vog App Developers, however, we keep 100 percent of our work in-house to ensure quality control and limit the degrees of separation between our clients and the people actually working on their app. 

Develop a Minimum Viable Product

The concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) has been around for more than a decade in tech, but for many of the companies we work with it’s still a new idea.

An MVP is intended to create and launch a technology product (in this case, your app) that integrates only the most required features. No bells and whistles, which means less complexity and thus a shorter development time frame — in theory.  

An app focused on a MVP would still solve the core problem that was outlined during your business planning process, but will likely not offer any extra features. Some glitches may even occur, which hopefully early adopters/users of the app will understand and forgive because they know an enhanced version of the application is set to come in future. Your fully functioning app still needs to be built out, of course. 

As well as potentially bringing your app to market faster, MVPs can also provide an opportunity to “run mini-experiments” that test your target audience’s initial response to the key components of the platform.

While not the right fit for every business, MVPs are one way we can get to market faster with an app as its purpose is to test or collect feedback and data on usage before making assumptions on how people will actually use the product.

Ask if your developer will use third-party code

Some software development firms regularly purchase or even copy code or scripts that have been developed by an external source –– then modify them for the project they are working on, to cut back on labour and time. In doing so they can save two or three months of development work. 

You should ask your developer what is being written from scratch, and what is being repurposed from existing code.

Though we build almost all products from the ground up, on occasion we will purchase and use third-party templates or plugins. We do it only when we know it’s the best option for our clients’ needs and timeline, and only when the code fits the client’s needs. We disclose when we do this transparently with our clients.

What matters most as you evaluate your application’s development timeline, is that you are experiencing open communication with your developer. Ask yourself if they seem to be honestly explaining the strategic reasons for resource allocation, product options and outsourced labour or coding decisions. 

If you want an app but don’t know what to ask, here’s everything you need to do to plan for success. Want to talk about timelines? Contact us and we can provide a quote and timeline specific to your business.

We Have An App For That

Tell us what is your problem and we will tell you we can solve it with an app. That’s a joke we have been telling here at Vog, but what if behind this joke there is some truth?

Our job is to solve business problems with apps. There are lots of mobile apps designed to make our lives easier, and we all love easy. We also love fast, efficient, and profitable. For this reason, we want to discuss here what is the truth behind the quote “We have an app for that”.

Read more

How to Ensure Mobile App Security

Mobile phones have become our primary computer and are not exempt from cyber attacks. For this reason, when looking for an experienced team to build your app, it is essential to discuss and be aware of the importance of cybersecurity.

Given the prevalence, if not inevitability, of cyberattacks, companies need to create a strategy to address prevention as much as response. Adopting new technologies also comes with accountability as building a safe system requires the protection of the users’ and company’s information privacy. There are different ways an attacker might try to cause harm. This blog post is focused on discussing how to prevent cyber attacks from happening with simple practices that, even though are well-known, there are still accountability gaps that must be addressed when getting a mobile app developed. Read more