• Swathi Young

What can we learn from Marissa Mayer’s $70,000 photo-shoot?

You can discuss all you want about Marissa Mayer’s ‘Wizard of Oz’photo-shoot that cost Yahoo $70,000. What surprised me the most was how the photographer was able to charge $70,000 and get away with it. I am sure that this is the cost if you are into fashion or advertising industry. But a software company. Now, that is a first! Reminds me of a story of Picasso, Some guy told Picasso he’d pay him to draw a picture on a napkin. Picasso whipped out a pen and banged out a sketch, handed it to the guy, and said, “One million dollars, please.”

“A million dollars?” the guy exclaimed. “That only took you thirty seconds!” “Yes,” said Picasso. “But it took me fifty years to learn how to draw that in thirty seconds.”  

Which brings home the point of how do you charge for software development? In particular, how much does it cost to develop a mobile app? It is not definitely the 99cents per app that you see in the app store. That cost is only the tip of the iceberg.

There are many components that you don’t see below the iceberg and today I want you to scuba dive along with me to take a peek at the top 5 costs that add up to what you ultimately pay to develop a mobile app. 

Language for coding/devices: The number of devices that are required in your enterprise will drive your cost. For example, if you would like an iPhone, an Android and iPad app, it would be more expensive compared to just an iPhone app. The other deciding factor is whether to code in the device specific language (native code) or device-independent language (Hybrid). The hybrid app would give you more flexibility and hence would be less costly.


1.Access to enterprise applications: The number of applications that the app needs to tap into is directly proportional to the cost of the app development. Some of the things to consider are as follows:Login/Single-sign-on –Most essential for almost all enterprises and this does not cost a lot.


2.3rd party API integration –The number of these will drive up your costs. For example, extracting your sales information to show up on your app. The other example can be tapping into your operations or procurement systems for relevant data.


3.Content management system: Depending on your needs, a mobile CMS offers greater flexibility to add, edit and remove content easily on your app without going to a technical developer for help. This is essential when it is a consumer-facing app so think carefully before you use this for an enterprise app since it is an expensive component.UI: Gone are the days when enterprise apps are aesthetically unappealing. Sexy apps for enterprises like Slack are busting this myth and it is a very essential component of user-adoption. This would be a definite integral cost component.


4.Maintenance: We are all aware of the ongoing updates on your smartphones, whether it is a new version of the OS or a new device every year, the number of changes affect your mobile app. Hence app development is not a one-time cost. Add that to the number of devices supported and that can triple easily. The maintenance costs of upgrades, testing, fixing anything that is broken and deploying can range anywhere between $5,000 to $11,000 per month. Source


5. MDM integrations: Every enterprise maintains some sort of tool to manage the apps, track them or even remotely wipe in case the device is lost. This ensures security of enterprise data. Hence, you have to ensure that the mobile app integrates with the MDM, which is an additional development cost to consider.​

So where do you think you are spending the most in your mobile app development costs? 

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