The original iPhone arrived in 2008, but here we are now at the tenth-generation of iOS, having seen new releases arriving like clockwork every year. Android has seen similar progress, albeit with more of a tendency to only label new versions with a point release rather than a whole new version number every year.Whichever way you look at it, mobile is a rapidly evolving field. Hardware and software continually changes and customer expectations change with them.
Staying up to date requires commitment to evolving your product and delivering what your users expect even as those expectations change.
With the transparency of app store reviews, the cost of not staying up to date for a consumer app is steadily declining ratings, and the reduction in downloads that comes with it. For an enterprise app the cost may be harder to define but may be reduced efficiency compared to what could be achieved with new features, or an impact to employee satisfaction using what they perceive as outdated tools. Either way as time goes by, without further investment, any app is likely to become less effective and potentially even begin to damage your relationship with your customers, employees and ultimately your brand.
We continuously work with our clients, actively encouraging them stay up to date and evolve their mobile presence. But just what is involved? And what does it cost?
Every app and every client is different of course, but as a starting point it helps to look at your aspirations and see what that translates to – which one sounds like you?
- You want to stay at the very forefront of the industry, taking advantage of new features as soon as possible, typically within days, and always trying to stay ahead of trends and shifting customer expectations. At this level you probably want to budget around 100% of your initial development budget per year to stay up to date.
- You definitely like to stay ahead of the curve, but don’t have to be quite so cutting-edge – you respond to new devices and OS capabilities in weeks to months, and while you keep an eye on trends and customer tastes, you aren’t too concerned with being one of the first to respond. At this level of commitment we’d estimate it takes in the region of 30-50% of your initial development per year.
- You’re not all that worried about staying up to date, you just want to add the occasional refinement and address changes to devices and OSs a few times a year. At this level you may well start seeing negative reviews piling up in between updates, but hopefully they’ll be kept to a minimum. This level might take around 10-30% of your initial development budget per year.
Missing from that list is building and releasing an app but never updating it – it’s just not something that we would advise. Planning for future maintenance and updates is an essential part of planning a mobile project – if it’s not part of your plans now, it needs to be.
Mobile provides lots of opportunities to change the way your business performs and the way you build relationships with your customers. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the investment if done well. It requires a shift from a campaign-focused mentality to more of a product-focused approach, but with the right approach and the right partner, it can be a great way to unlock value and improve your business.