News: Alexey, 65apps has achieved significant development indicators in recent years. Can we say what your stake on government customers and large internal corporate projects has played?
Quite right. The 65apps company is one of the few on the market to focus on development for the state and large corporate clients. Yes, it is not easy to do such projects: bureaucracy, complicated work with documentation, a lot of multi-level communication, high requirements for competencies in project management, deferred payments. Most mobile studios don’t like working with this type of client. Everyone loves to make beautiful interfaces, cute animations, and create cool festival cases.
At 65apps, we have always believed that doing infrastructure projects and government super services is not easy, but very exciting. In addition, this is a great insurance against risks – loading in large projects is much more even, we do not suffer from seasonal downturns so much.
By the way, another risk seems to have worked. We all see what is happening: the economic crisis, stagnation. Now, when the markets began to fall, our company feels stability and is ready to confirm the competence in working with corporate and government customers in terms of developing mobile services and their support.
News: How does big business come to mobile technologies?
Many large companies have long faced the challenge of developing mobile solutions for automating internal processes, including manufacturing. They can be associated, for example, with the tasks facing employees at remote workplaces. These tasks were solved 10 years ago using the technologies and approaches of that time. They had significant limitations associated, among other things, with platform features and infrastructure deficiencies. Weak coverage of the cellular network, the lack of fast mobile Internet affected. We all remember, for example, the huge terminals used by merchandisers in Metro.
The emergence of the iOS and Android platforms has opened up new patterns of mobile device use. The penetration of smartphones among the population of the country has sharply increased: more than half of users access the Internet from mobile devices. In addition, the infrastructure has improved. Now these devices are available to everyone, companies can easily provide them, or an employee can use their device. And these capacities can be used in the processes of the company: from the online store to the workplace of the sales representative or courier. We had an interesting pre-sale: the car builder company wanted to track the life cycle of spare parts using a mobile application with the ability to verify their authenticity in the field.
And the most important thing is how the behavior of employees has changed: many processes can be transferred online and be available to an employee 24/7, regardless of his location. The generation of users is gradually changing, including at the level of company leaders.
News: You have won the Central Bank tender twice. How do these customers choose contractors?
Here I will not open America to you: you need to rely on the relevant experience and competencies of specialists. This is not only a matter of development, but also of understanding the internal processes of a large company. It has its own specifics – multilevel communications, many responsible persons, decentralized decision-making, complex internal IT infrastructure. Inexperienced software companies may not give due importance to tasks that become critical for big business. A striking example is the safety requirements, which imply the presence of specialists with specialized education in this area and sufficient experience.
Working with corporate business implies other approaches to project financing, for example, the readiness of the executing company for deferred payments: usually this is a post-payment on a project with a delay of 30 to 60 days. Some contracts provide for payment only on the basis of the project, which can last for several years.
Highly specialized outsourced studios rarely have the opportunity to work on such conditions. Within the company, there must be well-established and well-established management processes, which include competent communication with the customer.
But integrators have such experience. They sensibly assess market prospects, the needs of their customers and create their own mobile development departments. But it is still difficult for them to compete in this segment in terms of the level of accumulated experience.
News: What are integrators missing?
Turnkey development requires certain competencies: it is not only expertise in native mobile and server development, but also a narrow specialization in design and testing. And these are tasks of exclusively custom development.
In fact, two applications are being created: for iOS and for Android. For example, in our company there are two teams working on each project: one for each operating system. It should be borne in mind that the operation of applications depends on specific devices. And if the number of iPhone models produced can be counted on the fingers of two hands, then there are more than a thousand models of android devices.
Technologies and operating systems are constantly being updated. The developer’s experience in implementing such projects and his competence in mobile development are very important.
Competence in design plays a big role. Integrators have long learned how to make excellent working tools on desktops that, although they fulfill their function, are often lame in terms of UX and UI. And mobile apps are always a very personal story, focused primarily on convenience. And users inevitably have to compare them with simple, laconic and beautiful mobile interfaces of the same Tinkoff or Lambda.
Now integrators are forced to create separate areas specializing in mobile development. But will they be able to retain such teams and accumulate their competencies in the long term? We don’t know yet.
And in custom development there is the possibility of rotation – projects of different directions and in different areas. Thanks to this, we are constantly pumping the competence of the guys. We measure ends’ on a regular basis and see that one of the most important metrics for our employees is professional growth opportunity, and we can provide it.