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Buy or Build a Mobile Software Application

The question often comes up – should we be buy a mobile software application for our field services teams, or develop it ourselves?  My first thought is you can build it yourself, many others have.  However, my second thought is it took one company I spoke to recently 4.5 years and over 40 engineering-man-years to develop their mobile application to the point they wanted it.  It can certainly be done, but here are some considerations:

  1. How much time do you have to develop the mobile software application?
  2. How many software engineers do you have available to develop the mobile application?
  3. Do they have any experience designing, developing and deploying enterprise quality mobile applications?
  4. What is your development budget?
  5. It is hard to develop your very first mobile application…are you patient…is the business unit sponsoring the project patient?
  6. Are your software developers mobile application security experts?
  7. Do you have software developers that eat, sleep and breath synchronization?
  8. What are the time to market requirements. Are you losing business or money by not having the mobile application done?
  9. Who is going to support the mobile application after the original developers leave the company?
  10. Who is going to document the mobile application and know how it works?
  11. Who will pay to update the mobile application next year when the available handheld devices require an OS upgrade and changes to the application?

Again, any smart group of software engineers can, given enough time and budget, develop a working mobile application. The real questions – is this your core business and is this the best use of your time and budget? Especially since a relatively low cost mobile software platform and development environment may already exist and can be purchased and downloaded in an afternoon.

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  • Kevin,

    I agree! Building a mobile can be time consuming and expensive. Buying is better for the vast majority of organizations. One of the easiest and fastest ways I have found to get a direct connection to the SAP database is via GuiXT Mobile. With the GuiXT.exe file and a license I am up and running in minutes with a live connection to SAP.

  • Yes, it may be quick and easy to connect to SAP, but the biggest challenge is building business rules in mobile applications that align with SAP and support for potentially dozens of different kinds of mobile handheld computers and Smart phones.  It seems like there is a different OS and model of PDA, handheld computer or Smart phone every 3 months.