The Risk of Selecting the Wrong Technology
When it comes to selecting technology for your development, there is a lot to consider. Companies should never rush into making such decisions as they can have a lot of consequences for the success of the business long term. In this post, we’re going to look at the risks of selecting the wrong technology, what you should consider, and what to avoid!
What to consider before selecting
When it comes to developing a mobile app, the worst thing you can do as a developer is to develop an app that your users do not even want. When using native app developers, you can spend thousands of dollars and months of your time, which is consequently wasted if no one even uses the app. This happens all the time when people look at mobile app development from the wrong perspective.
“Many businesses fall into the trap of creating an application from their own perspective, and not the perspective of the customer. It is a good habit to seek input from customers and understand what type of feature and functionality they would be looking for in a mobile experience. In addition, it will be helpful to understand what type of mobile devices most of a business’ customers have.” – Arash Zafarnia, Director of Business Development.
Another thing to consider when it comes to developing a mobile app is user growth. You should always be prepared for user growth and it’s super easy to run into a problem if you run into unsustainable user growth. From day one, you should prepare for too many people using your app. Be prepared so that if your app takes off faster than you ever expected, you are always ready. This is where selecting the right technology comes into play.
“A small dev team may create an app that is then used by thousands or even millions of people. Providing service and support to rapidly growing numbers of end users becomes completely unscalable and costly, which can result in angry or confused end users who either leave a negative App Store review and/or delete the app. As with any new technology, internal apps create new burdens for IT to help users individually when they’re having trouble. Some solutions for both internal and external apps include automating the service and support process by creating custom FAQs, utilizing shared inboxes, bulk actions, and integrating in-app help desks into the app.” – Abinash Tripathy, CEO and Co-Founder of Helpshift.
The truth is that most businesses can’t afford to develop their mobile apps in-house and as a result, look to work with other businesses who can help. This immediately adds a layer of risk to your project, as the wrong development partner can ruin everything. It’s important you are clear in what you want out of a development partner. You should make your goals super clear to avoid any confusion. And most of all, avoid low cost-outsourcing. This is something we’ll cover later on.
“You have to be very careful who you “get into bed with” when it comes to these shops and making sure your contract accounts for things like who is responsible for UX and UI Design, how is QA going to be handled, what is the definition of “done” mean is extremely important. I have had some nightmare experiences dealing with questionable mobile development shops at both Speek and The College Board.” – Danny Boice, co-founder and CTO of Speek.
Security as a priority
Although security breaches are not news to businesses, many people can often underestimate the need for proper security precautions, especially when it comes to native apps. A lot of companies make the mistake of presuming all native apps are secure and ignore security measures in the process.
This outdated mindset is what can pose a huge risk to companies and their data. Doing this can expose your company to serious threats of data leaks, a tarnished reputation, and a PR crisis. These things in turn can lead to a decline of your business.
When a technology founder steps away from a certain technology, apps built with said technology could face security issues. App updates usually come with new security patches, but if a technology is no longer supported, new security features are no longer created. This leaves space for hackers and cyber-criminals to jump in and cause problems.
These are just a few reasons why security should always be a number one priority with any development. Not treating it as such can ultimately lead to the decline of your business.
What to avoid
Avoid low-cost outsourcing
As previously mentioned, you should always avoid low-cost outsourcing where possible. Low-cost outsourcing can be one of the nastiest traps of app development according to Joseph Pigato, Managing Director at Sparked. When you outsource work for the lowest cost possible, you can almost expect to encounter delays, hidden costs, and a lack of quality. Most companies find that when outsourcing for the lowest cost, they’re often forced to restart their project over, and consequently, have to pay for someone more expensive.
Avoid tying yourself to a single platform
One of the biggest things to avoid here is tying yourself to a single platform, or a platform you can’t control. Although a single platform is the much more affordable option, it ties the success of your application to that platform’s. This is a risk because if that platform disappears, your future options will be very limited.
Don’t ignore customer input
Although you may see a problem, know a solution and drive your product with a sense of urgency, you should always consider the customer. By not including the customer’s thoughts and feelings into your decision-making process, you run the risk of delivering capabilities that completely miss the mark. After all, you’re developing something for the customer, so you need to make sure they will like it. Organizations often make the mistake of not identifying their target audience, creating personas or conducting any competitor research. If you do these things, you can ensure you consider back-end capabilities including infrastructure, security capabilities, web services, etc. Business analysts or tech leads can serve as proxies for the customer role so you should always take full advantage of these people. Ask for requirements, acceptance criteria and rate their satisfaction with the implemented solution.
Don’t ignore existing standards and technologies
It’s a well-known fact that tech departments have long struggled with creating and maintaining documentation. When an urgent requirement makes itself known, tech departments will likely seek a new solution as opposed to investigating and reusing existing capabilities. With this approach, businesses run the risk of having redundant capabilities, half-developed solutions, and technical debt. Researching internal solutions as a way of solving new issues is a very simple discipline that can vastly increase reuse. Creating a process for estimating upgrades is great practice for when people recommend new technologies.
Don’t assume build or buying is the only choice
When it comes to building solutions with a custom code or buying SaaS that provides out-of-the-box capabilities, there is a grey zone. In between are highly configurable low-code and no-code platforms to leverage open-source technology. Simply looking at building or buying can limit your options and over-simplicates the development process. Instead, you should look at what your required capabilities are to differentiate the business and what type of solutions deliver more innovation and flexibility in the long run.
Don’t assume API meets integration needs
You’ll likely be aware that most modern SaaS offers APIs and other integration options, however, cataloging integration hooks should only be the start of investigating whether they meet your business needs. What data does the API expose? Are these desired views and transactions supported? Can you conveniently connect data visualization and machine learning tools? Approaches to accelerating review of integration capabilities include leveraging low-code integration platforms and ways to validate APIs.
Unnecessary costs and setbacks
There are many ways to develop apps. Some companies choose to develop a simple app with a complex framework. They use technology that is adjusted to complex operations to create a simplistic app, and sometimes companies go the other way. Their technology is too limited to create a successful app in-house.
Choosing the right technology for your business is super important. If you don’t determine your goals, timeframes, and budgets, it can result in huge development delays, longer time to market, missing business goals and unnecessary costs and setbacks. Having a clear strategy plan from day one that covers all aspects of development can avoid these painful problems.
Selecting the right technology for your business can be hard and it can be so easy to choose the wrong one. If you’re looking for consultants to work with on your development, reach out to us today to eliminate all of the above risks!