Mobile Application Development remains all the rage. As new tablets like the Microsoft Surface emerge and the smartphone wars see Samsung’s Galaxy S III giving the iPhone a legitimate run for the world’s “top spot”, one thing remains constant and that is the need to bring intuitive applications to market, and to to do so fast. Crowdsourcing and Open Innovation are proving time and again to be extraordinarily effective techniques to create blazing mobile applications. Why? Why do these techniques work so well for a space that is in constant flux, operating on thousands of specific devices, on multitudes of operating systems, where millions of applications co-exist? Here are the 6 big reasons why you should look to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing to create, develop and maintain your mobile applications.
In a very recent post on the TopCoder Blog, we discussed what you should really be after in Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing. In your front end of digital innovation – spanning ideation, concept designs, UI/UX experimentation all the way through prototyping – you should be after one thing, vision. You want an incredible variety of new ways to create value for your end users. When you utilize Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing to develop mobile applications, you receive scores of submissions throughout your front end, affording you more looks, created by people outside your four walls, that can help you bring new user experiences to market. As Lady Gaga has shown us, when you change the user experience, you win the game.
Sprinting to Prototype
Receiving dozens of quality submissions at every phase of your front end of digital innovation is one huge benefit to utilizing Crowdsourcing to create mobile apps. But if it occurs at a snail’s pace, it is all for naught. However, when you marry the variety of looks and feels you will receive with a sincere acceleration of the innovation and production timeline, the decision to leverage Crowdsourcing and Open Innovation becomes that much smarter and more powerful. How fast? From idea contests through prototypes in a matter of 4 – 8 weeks depending on the complexity of the app.
Besides the obvious advantages of getting an app. to market faster, there is a more subtle layer and that deals with the incredible amount of ways in which you can choose to bring a mobile app to life. For instance, for a Global 50 client of TopCoder’s – sorry we cannot share the name of the client – we recently completed a complex iPad sales and marketing application that is loaded with 382 articles, PDFs, videos and instructional/sales content. The app was developed in Xcode and the CMS was custom designed utilizing Python/Django. The client’s ability to pivot on demand, to the languages that best fit the build allows for an innovative liquidity that only an open innovation, community-created model can provide. This offers you the hyperspecialized talent you need, working on the atomized portion of the build, exactly when you need them. That is digital innovation on-demand.
Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3,000
When it comes time to test your mobile or tablet application, Crowdsourcing and Open Innovation offer a superior alternative and this one is simply a volume play. In a development community like TopCoder, you have specialists who are really good at the art of “nit-picking”, so we craft contests specifically honed to their penchant for perfection. By attracting dozens and even hundreds of participants to mobile app testing and bug “hunting”, you receive a massively parallel effort that helps you more quickly, and more thoroughly test your app. Related Read: Hunting Bugs and the Power of Cognitive Surplus
Version 2.0 (It’s About Documentation)
Documentation? I thought we were talking about Open Innovation!?? We are and amazing documentation of how your first build was crafted is a key to successfully creating updates. A wonderful consequence of crowdsourced competitions (on the right platform) is incredible and didactic documentation showcasing every phase of the build and how it was brought to life. When this level of expert documentation is delivered as part of the digital assets you are receiving, it simply makes spinning up a V2 that much easier, faster and less expensive.
Show Me the Money
Crowdsourcing and Open Innovation can often save you money when developing mobile applications because the mechanism to create the digital assets is of course open competition. The competitions have pre-determined and transparent budgets, so you as the “host” of the competition understand before-hand what prize monies you are offering and therefore, what that part of the build is going to cost. A great and recent example of cost savings in mobile application development was the work done via the TopCoder Community for a start-up named Reward Summit. Their mobile application allows a consumer to quickly ascertain which credit card they should use for specific purchases to maximize credit card points and loyalty rewards. It’s an internally complex app – tons of paths, tied to disparate data sets – that required a seamless and intuitive user interface to succeed. They were able to develop this application via TopCoder at a cost of approximately 10% what a competitor of theirs recently reported spending on their build.
For more details on this complex build, click here to explore the Reward Summit Case Study
The era of mobile applications is nowhere near a close. Sure, the device may change from a smartphone, to a tablet, to Google Goggles and onward to a sheath of Graphene. But your need to create intuitive new interfaces and to bring these solutions to market faster and on less spend will not ebb. Crowdsourcing and Open Innovation has a major role to play in the applications of your future.