How Much Will Your Mobile App Cost?

Browsing LinkedIn, I recently came across an article I thought was worth sharing: “How Much Your Mobile App Costs.” Though as Mobidev notes, ‘vague’ is often used to describe the costs of a software product, it’s not altogether impossible to tell how much time and money your mobile app development project will take.

In their rundown, Mobidev estimates that a simple app with an hourly rate of $75 would take about 200 hours, for a total of $15,000. A much more complex app at the same rate could cost upwards of $75,000. There are ways to reduce costs during mobile app development—hiring a good team from the beginning, investing into documentation, etc.—but no matter how much you spend, Mobidev’s big takeaway is that “app costs don’t stop at the launch.”

If you’re thinking about developing a mobile app, Mobidev’s article is an excellent read. But I do have two important points to add. One, don’t let the cost of an app scare you away from developing one. Apps can be huge value-adds when executed correctly. And two, don’t forget to include ROI as part of the equation. That’s how you’ll figure out if your app is a value-add or a resource sink, and it’s also how you can build better apps and continue to make your business more efficient.

Costs really are only half of the equation—you can’t forget to track how your app is being used, who’s using it, how often it’s being used, and everything in between. Businesses don’t spend money for the sake of spending money—they spend them to invest, innovate, and improve their offerings. It’s up to you to expect, demand, and measure a return on your investment with mobile app analytics that allow you to track those important metrics.

So when developing an app, make sure you also spend some time finding out how you’re going to track ROI. How often are people downloading your app? Are they actually using it, or is it sitting on their screen unused? What functions within the app are being used? If you can find a mobile app analytics platform that allows you to do that, you’ll be much further on the track towards getting return on your app investment.

It’s one thing to know how much your app costs. It’s another thing entirely to know how much your app is making you. Make sure you don’t forget the latter when the time comes to launch that shiny new app.

Posted in EMM, Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management, MAM, MDM, Mobile App Development, Mobile Application Management, Mobile Device Management | Leave a comment

Commerce-Based App Stores 101

One of our long-standing customers, ProPack (formerly known as CloudLink), is a great partner of ours. For one of their projects, ProPack, a productivity app provider for Android, needed an app store. Their needs were unique, however, because they also wanted to charge for the apps. Those needs extend past the capabilities of the curated app store, and ProPack needed a solution to fit.

This isn’t unique to ProPack—another customer of ours, Game Tree, had a similar need for its product App Legions. We also have several prospects that want to do similar things for different markets, making this a trend worth talking about.

Enter the commerce-based app store. Through our partnerships with Propack, Game Tree, and others, we worked to develop a commerce-based app store tailored to each client’s specific needs. They’re interesting use cases, and the commerce-based app store is also a potential prospect for the rest of the enterprise app market.

Here’s the gist of it: commerce-based app stores are only possible on the Android platform. For a few reasons, they’re not technically (or legally) possible through iOs. That said, they allow people to purchase, download, and use apps, make in-app purchases (one-time and subscription-based), and handle digital rights management, all in a curated platform. There are cases where a curated app store makes sense, but there are also cases where companies need an app store they can charge for apps in, and commerce-based app stores obviously fall into the latter category.

The commerce-based app store is certainly a departure from the normal enterprise app store—in fact, we’d describe it as completely separate from most enterprise app stores—but it’s an exciting new development and a potential new revenue source that we’re glad to be a part of. Developing new solutions and adapting existing ones with current clients is always fun, and especially here, we think this idea as it’s being discussed could be very promising. 

Though these are only a couple of examples of commerce-based app stores in use, across the industry, we’re seeing the pipeline starting to fill as companies look to expand into new niches and grow their businesses.

It’s not a matter of competing with Google Play—trying to be cheaper, or prettier, or faster—it’s trying to address the same thing we talk about when we mention curated app stores. There are millions of apps in Apple’s App Store and Google Play, and it can be exceedingly difficult for employees to find apps. When companies pick a niche and stick with it—from productivity tools to games to other very well-defined markets—they have the opportunity to have a big impact and generate new revenue.

Commerce-based app stores aren’t an ideal solution across all situations for businesses, but in some cases, they can be very useful. They’re becoming more and more common, so if you’re thinking about targeting a specific niche and looking for a new way to generate revenue, a commerce-based app store may be the way to go.

Are they the way of the future? Hard to tell. But at the very least, commerce-based app stores could be an interesting avenue for companies to pursue.

Want to learn more about the logistics of running a commerce-based app store, or interested in any of App47’s other enterprise app store solutions? Reach out in the comments, or get in touch via the contact page of our site and let us know—we’d love to hear from you!

Posted in EMM, Enterprise App Store, Enterprise Applications, MAM | Leave a comment

2 More Ways Companies Are Using App47

A large food manufacturer uses App47 to curate useful apps for producers all over the country. Businesses can use App47 to do A/B testing of apps, in real-time. And many of our clients use App47 to streamline app deployment and app store enrollment across their workforce.

Believe it or not, that’s only the tip of the iceberg as far as the different ways companies are using our platform. With many unique features, there are myriad ways for companies to use App47, all of which reflect the unique needs of each business.

So what else is App47 good for? To give you some more ideas, here are two more ways companies are using App47:

  • Remote configuration: A number of companies are using App47 to remotely configure, and thus control, their mobile applications after deployment. This can happen through their own app store, or through App47’s app store. With the ability to do everything from change the skin, color, font, and logos, to more sophisticated uses where we remotely connect to API endpoints for the app, remote configuration is a valuable feature for many of our clients.
  • Deep user behavior analytics: There’s more to analytics than knowing how long the app is being used, or how often the app is being used for. We can track what buttons users are clicking on, how long operations or users actions are taking, and how often those operations and user actions happen, among other things. It’s one thing to know how often an app is being used, and another thing entirely to know how the app is being used. The latter can help greatly in development, revision, and tracking of ROI, to name a few ways it helps.

Of course, different companies are going to use our platform in different ways (that’s part of the beauty of it). But these two uses here do represent some of the more common uses we’re seeing today—so it may be worth considering how they may apply to your business.

If you’d like to learn more about different ways to use App47, we recommend taking a look at the App47 feature roundup, a collection of detailed explanations of some of our most popular features. And if you have any other questions, feel free to reach out in the comments or via our Contact Us page!

Posted in App47 Customer Success Stories, App47 Product Tips/Tricks, EMM, Enterprise App Store, Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management, MAM, Mobile Application Management | Leave a comment

The State of MAM in 2014

2014 has been a very exciting year for us. We’re growing, which is always a plus. But there’s more to it than that. All around the industry, there have been continued signs that mobile apps and MAM are in the big leagues, from Apple’s acquisition of TestFlight earlier this year to Yahoo’s more recent acquisition of Flurry.

MAM is finally starting to get the attention it deserves, and we think that’s a very good thing.

Now that we’re over halfway through 2014 (can you believe it?), we thought it would be a good time to take a moment and hash out some of our observations about what’s going on in MAM. Needless to say, we’ve come a long way even since just a year ago. Have a look below:

  • More people are more educated than ever about MAM: Prospects are coming to us far more educated than before. For us, this is making the conversation (and sales cycle) much easier all the way around. And across the board, this means that more people know exactly what they want—no more fluff.
  • Some people’s needs still aren’t being met: We’ve also seen an insurgence of businesses with their own MDM plans in place already. Many of these businesses also have their own app stores in place, too. The trouble is, their needs aren’t being completely met. Even those businesses with MDM in place often haven’t paid enough attention to full MAM solutions.
  • It’s all about the systems management approach: Which brings us to our next point: it’s not just about the app store anymore. Businesses need and want crash logs, analytics, remote configuration, and security all on a data private platform. This is a trend we’ve seen coming for a while now, but it’s good to see businesses realizing that it’s not enough to just have an app or an app store. Analytics are essential.
  • Businesses are looking for quicker turnarounds: Finally, more businesses are coming to us with active projects that need deployment within 1 to 2 months—in contrast to research projects for next year’s budget like we saw so much in years prior. This points to an increased sense of urgency, and likely reflects the broader education we mentioned above.

With more awareness than ever about MAM, now’s a great time to be involved in the space. And as a business, it’s also as good a time as ever to get on board and start developing your enterprise app store and MAM plan if you haven’t already.

At this point along the line, the tools are out there—it’s up to you whether or not you use them. We think you can guess which path we’d recommend.

Posted in EMM, Enterprise Applications, Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management, MAM, MDM, Mobile Application Management, Mobile Device Management | Leave a comment

Business Phones: iPhone 5s or Galaxy S 5?

using phonesWhen it comes to every day work, there is one thing every business woman needs: her phone. Two of the best made-for-business phones on the market today are the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S 5. So, which one is right for you? It could come down to just one feature or many.

Design

One stark difference between these two phones is the outer core designs. Where the iPhone 5s has a metal build, the Galaxy S 5 is plastic, which can be a turnoff for some business women looking for a more sturdy phone, notes Business News Daily. However, the Galaxy S 5 is slim and light with a faux metal trim and dimpled backing, making it easy to grip. It’s also water proof. The iPhone 5s keeps to its signature look, and is 7.6 millimeters thin and weighs in at 112 grams, states Apple.

Content Sharing and Multitasking

Equipped with iOS 7, the iPhone 5s has several built-in features that can help a business woman be more productive. For example, AirDrop is a pre-installed app that allows you to send content such as video, photos or documents to one coworker or client or multiple people via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Users also can download iWork’s productivity apps such as Pages, Keynote and Numbers, which is equivalent to Microsoft’s versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel, respectively. Additionally, the iPhone 5s allows you to categorize your emails better by selecting certain contacts as VIPs, so when you get an email from them, you can be alerted immediately and view it from the lock screen.

According to Business News Daily, the Galaxy S 5 is one of the fastest smartphones on the market with a 2.5-GHz Snapdragon 801 processor and 2GB of RAM, giving you smooth multi-tasking abilities. Another advantage is the multi-window feature through its TouchWiz interface, which allows you to run more than one app at a time. This feature is easy to use, and lets you display the apps vertically or side by side if you turn the phone. Thus, you can use a calculator while checking your email at the same time.

Battery Life

To an IT gearhead, the A7 dual-core 1.3GHz and 1GB of RAM in the iPhone 5s may seem weak, but it actually performs well, states Trusted Reviews. For the average business woman, it allows apps to load instantaneously, and displays graphics crisply and clearly. The dual chip feature allows the phone to split data, so there’s little drag time. However, this puts a bit of a drain on battery life. Also, changing the battery in iPhones still means using a kit to take the tiny screws out from the back of the phone.

As for the Galaxy S 5 phone, it promises a day-and-a-half-long battery power with moderate use. In one test by Trusted Reviews, the phone’s battery lasted 11 hours from a full charge while playing a video on medium brightness. A unique feature with this phone’s battery is that it has two types of power saving. The normal Power Saving mode does some tweaking to keep battery life lasting longer while the Ultra Power Saving mode keeps the phone to a one-screen interface, and allows you access only to your SMS messages, the phone calling features and your browser. The Ultra Power Saving mode runs in black and white, and can last 10 days or more on standby. It is most effective when you only have 10 percent left of your battery, which is usually that time when you are waiting for an important call or email from a client.

Either way, these two phones are top of the line. All you need to do is decide which features are most important to you and your business and hit the ground running.

Posted in Enterprise Mobility, MDM | Leave a comment

Our 5 Favorite Back to School Apps

Most of our work here at App47 revolves around the enterprise and mobile apps for large businesses. But hey—we’re parents too. And with the startup of school just around the corner (or already passed for some), we thought we’d take a minute to shift our focus and highlight some of our favorite back to school apps.

Some are good for students, some are good for parents, but all are great apps to have in your arsenal if it’s just about time for you (or your kids) to head back to school:

  1. Evernote: Evernote is, without a doubt, our favorite note-taking app. We use it mostly for business, but it’s just as useful for school and for keeping track of the seemingly millions of things you need to stay on top of every week. Whether you’re planning a trip or keeping track of homework, Evernote is hard to beat.
  2. Microsoft Office Mobile: Okay, Microsoft’s iPhone/iPad port may not be the smoothest app ever. (We agree with the reviewer who called it “decent.”) But for those times when you’re in between classes and need to quickly edit a document, or when you’re waiting in line reviewing a homework assignment, Microsoft’s Mobile Office is a good tool to have.
  3. iTunes U: Calling all college students: if you’re not using iTunes U, you’re missing out. iTunes U gives you access to full courses from some of the best universities in the world, in multiple languages. We know that taking more classes might not be on the top of your mind right now, but there’s some really cool content in iTunes U that we recommend taking advantage of. Plus, it’s free, so why not give it a shot?
  4. Sunrise Calendar: Sunrise Calendar is a calendar for Google Calendar, iCloud, and Exchange. For one, it’s a very visually appealing app (which we like). But more than that, it adds more depth to your calendar than you ever thought possible. A great supplement to Evernote and another great way to keep on top of your busy schedule.
  5. myHomework Student Planner: While aimed mostly at students, this app is also very useful for parents looking to keep track of their children’s homework assignments. No matter whether you’re a parent or a student, we’ve yet to find a homework app that’s as extensive as this one. Time to put that paper planner away for good.

We may use most of our technology in the workplace, but it’d be silly not to take advantage of the many great apps out there for schoolwork and parenting, too. These apps are our favorites, but if we missed a favorite of yours, or if you have any questions about the apps mentioned here, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments and let us know!

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BYOD an IT Manager Can Get Behind

Mel Leith of Cognisec, a single sign-on IT solutions provider, recently wrote an article that we felt compelled to comment on. The article—“Hassle Free BYOD”—covers a BYOD solution that’s more forward-thinking than many solutions you may be familiar with.

Rather than focus on the devices themselves—how many employees actually want to let their IT managers install security measures on their personal devices?—Leith advocates for a BYOD solution focused around the cloud. A cloud solution is the opposite of “draconian” BYOD policies or “hugely expensive” (and reactive) security measures; cloud-based authentication and authorization of user devices allows secure access to apps and documents “in complete safety.”

This approach shifts focus away from individual devices as so many people seem to get hung up on when they hear BYOD. BYOD isn’t about mobile—it’s about the cloud. That device could be a smartphone or a laptop, or even a device we haven’t dreamt up yet—it doesn’t matter with a BYOD solution centered around the cloud.

We applaud Leith (and Cognisec) for their forward thinking here. A solution like the one they’re proposing could be just what it takes for 85% of businesses (or more) to have a BYOD program in place by 2020 like Gartner predicts. As huge advocates for apps in the workplace ourselves, we’re big proponents of the cloud and would love to see more widespread adoption of innovative BYOD.

The only major question, then, is when the enterprise will feel comfortable enough with what they already have before they consider a next step like this. Can we really expect the enterprise to embrace BYOD if they don’t have full grasp over BYOA? BYOA is an important next step if we want to see businesses using BYOD to its full potential. In our view, the enterprise needs to familiarize itself with (and get comfortable with) BYOA solutions before fully embracing BYOD.

We’re very glad to see folks like Leith advocating for cloud-based BYOD solutions. But from where we stand, there’s a long ways to go from where we are today to the BYOD-focused enterprise space we’d all like to see. And for that journey to happen, BYOA is likely going to play a very critical role.

Posted in Bring Your Own Device, BYOD, Enterprise App Store, Enterprise Applications, Enterprise Mobility Management, MAM, MDM | Leave a comment

Judging the Impact of BlackBerry’s Big Move

blackberryBlackBerry announced in June that users of its BlackBerry 10.3 operating system will have access to the 240,000 Android apps in the Amazon Appstore. BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the move satisfies two needs: greater app availability for customers and enhanced productivity solutions for businesses. The 10.3 OS is slated for release later this year. The news may have some large implications for a company some thought had an uncertain future.

App Attraction

The biggest reason for the dwindling numbers of customers for BlackBerry was the lack of apps. Other platforms feature robust app stores that have led BlackBerry users to switch. Through the Amazon partnership, the company aims to bring back some old customers and attract new ones.

The BlackBerry Keyboard Is Still King

Many BlackBerry users left with reluctance, and that’s because the BlackBerry keyboard is still the best. Despite its many improvements, the iPhone still has a long learning curve—and even after you get comfortable on it, the keyboard is still a culprit for awkward misspellings. Ditto most Android phones. For users who compose long emails and messages on the go, a move back to an app-filled BlackBerry makes good sense.

Practicality

The mobile market today is inundated with cheaply made phones that ignore the initial goal of a smartphone—to serve as a personal digital assistant. But with greater app access, BlackBerry is now a practical alternative. Those former customers will be able to enjoy a new range of apps and functionality in the familiarity of the BlackBerry interface and comfortable keyboard. Not only is this re-attracting former customers and attracting new ones, but it will also stop current BlackBerry users from switching.

Making a Strong Business Phone Stronger

The announcement also makes BlackBerry smartphones more appealing in the enterprise arena. BlackBerry’s strongest demographic is business people, and adding access to the Amazon Appstore only makes the range of BlackBerry 10 devices an even stronger work phone.

Through the BlackBerry MDM (Mobile Device Management) system, companies have greater control over the management of their work phones. Management can control not only the devices they lend to employees, but the use of apps to help increase productivity. The Amazon Appstore partnership will only increase an employee’s ability to use mobile tools and apps to effectively deliver to clients and customers.

Moving to Emerging Markets

BlackBerry’s announcement also makes the devices more attractive in emerging markets. The company released BBM Money last year in Indonesia. The service ties a bank account to your device and enables you to make transactions between your contacts. Services like this already exist in Google Play and the iTunes Store. BlackBerry plans on expanding this service, due to its success in Indonesia.

The company also released the BlackBerry Z3 in Indonesia in May of this year, and according to its website, sold out in the first weekend—demonstrating that BlackBerry has established a stronghold in the region. A well-made, affordable smartphone is well-positioned to make an impact in this and other emerging markets where prices on iPhones and Samsung devices are known to be sky-high, especially when you take into consideration that the quick sell-out of the BlackBerry Z3 came before the announcement of the Amazon partnership.

BlackBerry has already had success with their innovative money service and the new BlackBerry Z3 in a smaller market. If the company can experience the same success in similar emerging markets, they have the potential to regain worldwide market share they may have lost over the last few years.

Time Will Tell

Effects of the Amazon app partnership won’t be felt for a while. But, this move is certainly going to improve the situation for BlackBerry. New and old customers won’t shy away from their devices because of the lack of apps, and as a result, app developers will be more inclined to create apps for them. And since the announcement, the markets have reacted favorably—one week after the news, BlackBerry stock rose by two dollars. Stay tuned; this could be a big year for BlackBerry.

Posted in BYOD, Enterprise Mobility, Mobile Device Management | Leave a comment

Yahoo Acquires Flurry—But What About Your Data?

Just a couple days ago, Yahoo announced that it would be purchasing Flurry, a mobile analytics, monetization, and advertising company. This is big news for a lot of reasons.

To start, congrats to the Flurry team—well done! This is undoubtedly one of the most exciting times in the team’s history and I’m excited about the acquisition. Even though Flurry focuses more on consumer apps than they do on the enterprise app space, this shows continued focus on the mobile app space (just like Apple’s purchase of Testflight), which, if you ask us, is always great news.

Yahoo’s acquisition of Flurry also points towards another important trend in mobile apps: analytics. Sure, they’re doing it mostly for consumers, but in all cases, companies still need to be aware of analytics if they want to develop better apps and ultimately, track ROI. No matter whether you’re an enterprise developing an in-house app or a consumer brand developing an app to streamline customer experience, you can’t know how effective your app is without analytics.

All of that said, Flurry’s sale does bring up a worrying point: data privacy. One of Flurry’s biggest ‘selling’ points for companies is that it’s free. Sort of. Flurry’s entire model is built off of generating ad revenue from the data they get from all of their customers, and now, all of that data is in the hands of Yahoo. That’s fine, of course, and it’s great for customers like indie developers or Fortune 500 companies building consumer apps, but this absorption by Yahoo does leave some questions as to how private data will be, and how it will be used now that it’s a part of Yahoo’s larger ecosystem.

This may not be as big of an issue for consumer apps, but is absolutely something to worry about in the enterprise. With a platform like App47, all of the data that’s collected through our platform—namely our app store and analytics—belongs to you. We won’t do anything to jeopardize your privacy, we don’t derive revenue through the use of your data (that’s why our platform isn’t free), and your privacy is an important concern of ours.

Whether you’re managing your app with Flurry or not, this should serve as a reminder to always be careful about what’s done with your (and your customers’) data. Privacy matters.

We’re very happy for Flurry, and for Yahoo—but we hope that this can start a conversation about app data usage in the enterprise and how you know your data is private.

Posted in Data Privacy, EMM, Enterprise App Store, Enterprise Mobility Management, MAM, MDM, Mobile Application Management | Leave a comment

The App47 Free Trial: Stop Waiting for Your Enterprise App Store!

Here on the blog, we’ve covered our extensive feature list in pretty great depth. So if you’ve been keeping up with the blog, by now, you ought to have a pretty good idea of what our platform can do.

So what’s the next step? Well, we’d certainly like it if you got in touch and registered right away. But of course, we’d understand if you wanted to get to know us a little better before taking that next step. And that’s exactly why we designed our free trial.

Here’s how it works. To start, head over to our free trial page (it’s that big orange button on the top right of our site). There, you’ll see a few things, including a brief overview of the features and benefits of App47. What we’re concerned about right now is the registration form, which looks like this:

registration form

The registration form is pretty self-explanatory. Fill it out with all the required information (to start, we recommend preloading the popular apps with the check box below your password). After that, you’ll receive two emails. One to confirm your account:

thank you

And one to download App47 on your mobile device:

app47 mobile app install

Start by confirming your account—you can install the app store afterwards!

After you confirm your account, you’ll be prompted to read to and agree to an End User License Agreement (we’ve all done those). Once you do that, you’ll be at the App47 dashboard!

app47 main dashboard

This is where the magic happens.

With your free trial, we recommend starting by poking around the different tabs at the top of the page.

You might notice that certain pages (Manage—Configuration; Analyze, etc.) are disabled when you first log on to the dashboard. Web and internal apps have analytics, but public apps don’t, so we don’t enable the Analyze, and most of the Manage menu, until you create one of those types of apps. Once you create an appropriate app type—a private app for analytics, for example—these menus will be enabled.

Until you do that, however, you can still poke around the app store. When you click the app store tab, this is what you’ll see (if you preloaded the app store, at least):

app47 app screen

You’ll notice that we preloaded the store with some of the most popular business apps from our experience. And if you look to the right of the app icons themselves, you’ll see room for information like total downloads and daily sessions. This is how you’ll track your users and see what your adoption rates look like across the board.

With your free trial, you’ll also have access to add users (to the right of ‘My Apps’), track emails sent on your behalf, and change branding—among other things.

While you’re first getting familiar with the trial, the App47 Wiki is a great place to get started. It’s loaded with information on how to use our platform so you can make the most of your 30 days.

With our free trial, all of App47’s features are fully functional during the trial period, so give them a try! Register some users within your organization and have them test out some of the preloaded apps (or any apps you choose to add). That will give you a feel for how the platform works, what it tracks, and whether or not it’s right for the needs of your business.

So—what are you waiting for? Head over to our free trial page to register and give it a shot. We’d love to have you on board. 

If you’d like to learn more about App47 or how to use our trial, please reach out to us in the comments or via the contact page of our site. We’d be happy to discuss our enterprise mobile app management platform, or any questions you have about our free trial. And If you run into any problems, don’t hesitate to contact our awesome support team at either support@app47.com or our Support Portal!

Posted in EMM, Enterprise App Store, Enterprise Mobility, Enterprise Mobility Management, MAM, MDM, Mobile Application Management | Leave a comment

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