“Nothing cheap is good, and nothing good is cheap.”
It has been mentioned before how the trends for mobile app usage within corporations have emerged dramatically in the past few years. Not only does it increase productivity and aid in business growth, the mobile app can also prove to be the most excellent tool for corporate education. However, as you will soon learn, these apps don’t come without a hefty cost.
According to recent surveys, a custom app can cost as low as $150,000 and as high as $500,000. It all depends on how advanced and customized the app is and how many features you intend to include. In the lowest tier (around $150,000), the app will have a custom user interface and any of the following:
- instant messaging
- voice/video calls
- in-app payments
- shopping cart
- custom dashboard
- camera integration
- calendar integration
The app could also include 3rd party API integrations such as Google Apps/Maps, QuickBooks, Paypal, etc. Although, API integration will cost you an extra $15,000, so you can imagine why some app development companies report their average cost of an app to be $170,000 to $270,000 (depending on which company you ask). Even with a functional app, the design is just as important and expensive as coding the functionality, so you can’t compromise that either. The list of expenses doesn’t end there, though. Your app will require maintenance and mandatory updates once it’s finally completed.
With your brand new app finally in the hands of your employees, you will get a lot of feedback from them concerning bugs and missing features. The feedback will have to be addressed with the proper revisions. This means you will have to go back to the developers you hired and pay them again to add those revisions.
Updating your app will not be optional nor free, either. If your app uses integrated technologies or if it belongs in a suite of apps that work together, then any updates made to those technologies will mean that your app will might need to follow up with an update of its own. This will expose it to new opportunities for bugs and security holes that need to be fixed. This also applies to updates made on the operating system (your app will most likely be on Android or iOS which are known to update frequently). A common practice in estimating maintenance cost is to budget 20% of the initial cost of development as the annual cost for maintaining the app.
Expensive, but still worth it!
Despite all of this, companies have suddenly started to invest a lot of money into making these apps in the last few years. It makes sense because the ROI cannot be ignored. According to Kony’s Measuring Mobile: Quantifying the Success of Your Mobile Initiative infographic, enterprises in sales and marketing have seen up to 30% improvement on sales efficiency from mobile apps and up to 25% in service technician productivity. So while a lot of money is required to make a good enterprise app, the return is still significantly greater which makes the endeavor worthwhile