A mobile app isn’t optional anymore. You’ve likely heard industry experts go as far as saying your business is “dead” without an app.
These are big words, no doubt. But there is a lot of truth to that statement. The reality is, businesses need apps to stay competitive and to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Businesses that want to stay competitive have long moved past the physical limitations of expensive hardware and dedicated lines. With the recent surge in remote work, mobile communications apps have become the new standard for companies across the globe.
Adopting a VoIP system enables companies to keep their communications crystal-clear and accessible from any location without compromising security. VoIP communications take advantage of the latest advancements in IP technology, including the end-to-end encryption that users have come to expect.
So, what’s the real cost of building a mobile app in 2021? That’s a great question — but it’s important to understand how mobile apps have evolved.
The Evolution of Mobile Apps From Nice-to-Have to Must-Have
By 2020, it’s become clear that a real-time communications system is no longer a “nice-to-have” — it’s now a “must-have.” Mobile apps, whether a UCaaS platform or an isolated VoIP solution, help companies build their brands and boost productivity while improving the user experience for themselves and their clients. It’s no wonder that organizations are researching what it would take to build their own communications apps. But are they seeing the whole picture?
The many advantages that a powerful communications platform can offer your business are precisely the reasons why developing one from scratch is a complicated, time-consuming, and expensive process. Every feature that would benefit your company — from high-quality audio and video capabilities to file transfer — takes time and money to bring to life.
And unlike other industries, getting communications right is really hard.
Building a passably functional app is one thing, but constructing an agile platform that has the power to integrate advanced features with top-notch security is a whole different ball game. The former costs tens of thousands of dollars, while the latter can consume millions of dollars.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more businesses are transitioning to remote work. The work-from-home movement has been on the rise for years, but lockdown procedures have thrown it into full swing. Staying productive in these uncertain times requires the right tools for communication and collaboration.
To pivot successfully to remote work, your company needs a reliable platform that’s capable of providing unified communication to your users.
Cloud Softphone gives you everything you need to offer your team and your clients a fine-tuned real-time communications app that pulls from one of the richest feature sets on the market. Save on development and maintenance costs while bringing your remote teams closer with our award-winning platform.
The Problems With Developing a Real-Time Communications App From Scratch in 2021
A truly reliable real-time communications system has every premium feature that your team needs to perform their jobs from any location. Building a secure, advanced, and user-friendly app to support every aspect of remote collaboration is far from easy and is costly.
Here are just a few of the features you need to take into account when developing a real-time communications app from scratch:
- Mobile and desktop support. Portability enables remote work and keeps users comfortable. Your VoIP app needs to offer support across iOS and Android devices, in addition to desktop support, if you want to create a seamless experience. Ease of access across devices is no easy feat to accomplish and calls for a full-time development team.
- Flawless audio and video codecs. Low-quality communications leave your users feeling less than impressed. Whether we’re talking about an interview with a client or a conference call with your team, high-quality audio and video capabilities boost productivity and inspire confidence.
- Tools for collaboration. A team that runs like a well-oiled machine while working remotely has access to all of the advanced aspects of a VoIP app that make collaboration easy. These include features like SMS and instant messaging, file transfer, and push notifications, to name a few. While adding these premium features to your VoIP app gives you an edge over your competition, developing each one takes a lot of resources.
- End-to-end encryption. Security. Nothing is more important for your users and requires more expertise to execute properly than security. Large-scale and last-minute transitions online have left companies increasingly vulnerable to cybersecurity risks. Best-in-class encryption offered by Cloud Softphone protects your messages and files from all angles while remaining economical.
- External provisioning. Designing, configuring, and deploying a VoIP app from scratch takes thousands of hours. With workforces already feeling disconnected and disorganized, companies can no longer afford the extra time it would take to build a mobile communications solution on their own.
- Ongoing support. Your mobile app won’t update itself. You have to spend resources supporting and updating your app throughout its life cycle. You also have to navigate OS updates from both Apple and Android.
Ensuring that your real-time communications app has all of these features isn’t easy because the communications industry is unlike any other industry. Remember, even great isn’t good enough in an industry that expects perfection.
The True Costs of Developing a Communications App From Scratch
The costs of developing an app don’t end when the app has been developed. In practice, building a VoIP app from scratch will cost you before the app is built, while it’s being built, and long after it’s built — on top of time and opportunity costs.
Let’s take a look at a comprehensive breakdown of these costs.
Hiring All the Developers You Need
The cost of hiring a development team alone can cost you upwards of half a million dollars. An app development team usually consists of the following roles:
- The software developer engineers. These individuals are responsible for coding the application itself and all of the functionality you require. The more complex the app, the more software developers need to be included on your payroll.
- The enterprise architect. This is someone who is responsible for bridging the gap between a company’s business strategy and its technological functionalities. An enterprise architect keeps up with the latest trends and tech and makes sure your app is enterprise-ready.
- The project manager. The success or failure of your app rests on this individual’s shoulders. They are responsible for overseeing a comprehensive work plan and troubleshooting any unexpected obstacles.
- The UI/UX designer. This individual determines whether your users remain loyal to your product or brand after using your app. An app development team without a UI/UX designer results in an app that doesn’t look or feel good when actually used.
- The quality assurance (QA) engineer. Your app has to work. A QA engineer maximizes the quality of your final product by testing the code’s stability and working through any bugs.
The average salary for each of these positions is upwards of $100,000. According to Indeed, the average software developer salary in the U.S. in 2021 is $108,632. Junior developers with less than a year of experience are paid $101,508 on average. And as you look for more specialized developers, those salaries will only get higher.
So, what should you expect to pay to develop your app? The cost of a feature-rich app ranges between $267,000 and $360,000, with some costing well over $500,000.
An EMM survey found that the vast majority of enterprises were spending over a quarter of a million for mobility solutions, with the rest budgeting upwards of $1.5 million.
It’s safe to say that $250,000 is the minimum entrance price to develop a mobile app that is functional and some-what reliable. See how much your mobile app project would cost with your own freelancers.
Beware of Low-Priced App Development Services
Now, you may think of hiring a budget development agency. Like anything, you’ll get what you pay for.
Low-priced app development services often push out low-quality code that performs less than optimally, leaving your team frustrated and your users dissatisfied. When building an app from the ground up, your development team determines whether your solution is a hit or miss. You want a team of competent professionals who will accommodate your specific business needs and project deadlines.
Talented developers are always in high demand, with 89% of organizations worldwide reporting a shortage of tech talent.
Top companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are constantly on the lookout for the most capable developers in the field, so you’ll need to compete with them to have the best talent on your side. Does your company have the resources to compete against the tech giants?
The Cost of Time That You Don’t Have
With the work-from-home movement in full swing, having a functional mobile communications solution up and running is necessary for companies right now.
The average app takes between 3 to 9 months to build. Of course, an app that supports VoIP and remote work capabilities incorporates highly complex features that take a great deal of time to develop — even with a high-quality development team working under you.
Coding a basic app isn’t a difficult task, but constructing a real-time communications platform with end-to-end encryption, cross-platform support, and high-quality audio and video capabilities is far from a week-long project.
Ongoing Support for Your App Is Expensive
Your development team doesn’t disappear once your app has been built. A finished app still requires ongoing support to keep it stable, updated, and bug-free. Maintaining your team of developers costs around 20% of the original development cost annually.
Why does your app need ongoing support? Support costs include:
- Hosting the app on a server
- Offering a stable experience for all supported iOS versions, over 24,000 Android devices, Windows and Mac
- Monitoring known bugs and exploits
- Maintaining licenses
- Providing customer-facing tech support
Cloud Softphone Saves You Time and Money on Your VoIP App Development
Building a real-time communications app from scratch is expensive. You have to consider the costs of hiring an experienced development team, deciding between in-house and outsourcing, providing ongoing support, and creating a user-friendly experience that will keep your customers satisfied.
That’s a lot of work, and it’s expensive too.
So, what if you could access carrier-grade communications for 90% less?
Get your feature-rich mobile communications solution in operation as quickly as possible with Cloud Softphone. You can cut up to 90% of first-year and ongoing support costs while improving user experience and boosting productivity.
Take a look at what Cloud Softphone can do for your company:
- Save you hundreds of thousands on in-house developers and ongoing support with a platform that’s deployed over 140 million endpoints
- Offer the advanced features your team and clients need to collaborate remotely
- Seamless mobile and desktop-readiness
- A transparent pricing model where you select and pay for only features you need and don’t have to compromise on functionality
- As many testing opportunities as you desire
- A platform that will grow in step with your company
- Integratable web app functionality
Cloud Softphone offers the richest feature set on the market for a fraction of the price it would cost to develop a communications app yourself. Take advantage of crystal-clear audio and video, messaging, end-to-end encryption, file transferring, and other premium features.
Are you interested in learning more about our award-winning platform? Contact a member of the Cloud Softphone team today to book your demo and create a $360,000 app in just a few hours.