Mobile App Development – In-house or Outsource? Answering the Dilemma

Mobile App Development

When you decide to build an app, it’s a common dilemma between outsourcing app development or building it in-house. There are several startups that are faced with this very dilemma of in-house vs. outsourcing mobile app development when it comes to developing a mobile app. However, both in-house and outsourcing have their own pros and cons.

Businesses all over the world are facing high pressure to compete and grow to the next level. Therefore, making a choice between building in-house or outsourcing is a daunting task and should be done keeping your business requirements in mind.

Here, in this article, we’ll be looking into the pros and cons of both the approaches, which will help you pick the one that has the potential to build an enterprise mobile app that emerges as the best, with useful features and functionalities.

Statistics on Mobile Presence for Businesses


As per Statista, the above-given graph presents the expected mobile app revenue from 2015 to 2020. The figure shows that 188.9 billion U.S. dollars are too high to disregard. These numbers talk about the rising trend of mobile apps, and how easily it is accepted by users for varied purposes.

Be it banking, healthcare, insurance, or any other industry, all have turned to mobile apps in order to reach out to their target audience with easy access.

Mobile App Development: An Investment or Expense?

The rise in the use of mobile phones indicates that they are becoming an important marketing tool for every business. When the world is going digital, you have to adopt digital trends, using traditional means of marketing.

While starting a business, try not to think like a businessman. Always think like a user. For example, if you were a customer, looking for similar services or products that your company is offering, which company would you choose and why?

Firstly, nobody wants to experiment by trying new products. A good amount of experience is required in the industry to check the authenticity of the brand before availing products or services. Once the authenticity has been checked, you need to check whether the offering is as per the trend or outdated.

By understanding the mentality of the customers, you need to stay updated with the latest trends and technologies to maintain a seamless flow of sales. This helps in building connectivity and engagement with your customers.

So, before evaluating the pros and cons, and how to choose the right platform that meets the business needs, let’s go through the overview of both the methods.

In-house Mobile App Development

Many companies, which do their best to build in-house mobile apps believe that it is extremely savvy and controlled; that the in-house team is fully controlled by the parent company; and that they will be able to take care of the development operations as per their choice. This option is perfect for big companies, but they need to make it a long-term strategy to make it win.


Pros of In-house Mobile App Development

Big companies can establish the required resources for an in-house team as far as time and money are concerned.

The principle benefits of building an in-house app are:

  • Better Understanding of Business Needs None but your in-house team has the ability to understand the goal of your business, target audience, and market competition. Thus, an in-house team is able to develop a business-driven app.
  • No Communication Gap: As the mobile app development team would be working at your own office, you can communicate with them to check if everything is on track, the way you want. In this approach, business development managers and project managers can even give their inputs based on their experience, which could be beneficial for the app.
  • Easy Management of Resources: As a business owner, you are able to identify the expertise of your resources. In this way, you can allocate the tasks as per needs, driving the best results by utilizing their hidden talent, efforts, and investment. You get to know which team is working on which project. And if needed, you could even replace or swap the team members to make the team more efficient as per the requirement to create an engaging mobile app.
  • Approval: The entire development process of your app takes place in front of your eyes. This guarantees that the process is going on time as per the business prerequisites without compromising on quality. You can ensure that the app will be built at the specified time and cost. Also, the required changes can be done easily in the app development strategy as per the market demand.
  • Easy to Coordinate: It is easy to manage and execute the plans or changes because the whole team will be available under one roof. This will speed up the development process and improve the quality of the mobile app.

Cons of In-house Mobile App Development

If, as an entrepreneur, you are actually looking for in-house app development, you must be aware of the following disadvantages:

  • Time-Consuming and Expensive: If you already have a development team, make sure they are well-versed in their area of expertise. A good app development team consist of various professionals – designers, developers, analysts, quality assurance engineers, project managers, and team leads. However, in the other case, where you need to hire the right talent, you may need to invest time and money to interact with them and ensure that everyone is on the same track for building an engaging app.
  • Licenses and Certificates: You may need to buy new software licenses or certificates for web and mobile app development. Also, it is possible that your team might not be open to the challenges of mobile app development. In that case, you will need to hire experts.
  • Staffing and Other Issues: The higher the number of employees, the higher the demand for infrastructure and other resources. So, selecting the right blend of talent and mobile experience is a long process. It’s a kind of process that businesses should think of. This is important for businesses who want to deploy a mobile app in a short span of time.

Outsourcing Mobile App Development

Do you want to develop an app by saving time and money? If so, it is advisable to outsource to an app development company. It is a wise option for those companies, which don’t have much time and money to invest in developing an app with an in-house team.

outsourced company

Pros of Outsourcing Mobile App Development

Outsourcing mobile app development gives a better product without spending much time and money. Given below are a few of the advantages of outsourcing app development.

  • More extensive Options: Check any of the web portals like Clutch, you will come in contact with several mobile app development organizations with various skill sets, locations, experiences, and costs. You can monitor them as per business requirement. All you need to do is, find the right mobile app partner and communicate well with them. For this, you don’t need to compromise with what you have.
  • Less Investment: While looking at outsourcing app development, you don’t require to obtain any certificate or incur any expenses on software, office setup, or other infrastructure. You just need to pay for app development. Apart from this, it’s the responsibility of the outsourcing app development company to manage the challenges confronted and come up with the ideal solutions.
  • Time Management: As you have given over the responsibility of creating the app to the team who is going to develop your app, you can better use your time as well as energy in managing other aspects of your business. For example, you can create a marketing strategy and set it in practice simultaneously.
  • Fewer Risks: Outsourcing app development is completely different from in-house app development in terms of risk. It lowers down the risk of app failure because in this case, you hire the top app developers who are experienced and understand the market trends as well as their client’s requirements.

Cons of Outsourced Mobile App Development

The thriving mobile app development industry offers great potential to those companies who want to grow their business. App development firms offer end-to-end services in an ensured domain until they discover a niche that works for them. However, there are a few drawbacks to outsourcing app development.

  • Communication Barrier: If you and your development team are located in different time zones, you are very likely to face communication problems. Nevertheless, this disadvantage is less likely to occur in case of the top app development companies, which adjust their schedule as per the client’s convenience and stay in touch during the whole development process.
  • Quality Risk: The quality of the product can be one reason to make you feel stressed as the development isn’t done under your nose. Fortunately, a vast majority of mobile app development companies work with Agile methodology, where the entire project is divided into various modules which are freely coded, tested, and then, sent to the client. This certifies the quality as well as the time and cost of app development. The most evident advantage is that you can suggest changes in priority and get them easily executed as the project progresses.

Changing Phases in the Sphere of Mobile App

With the constant change in the mobile app world, developers and companies find it hard to decide on a particular development method. Many companies think that it’s an evolving journey, wherein they start with outsourcing and later take their mobile app development back to where it belongs – in-house. There are companies that try different things with the two methods and then, even agree to a combined package. Some try the do-it-yourself approach, but it doesn’t get them too far until and unless trained resources and advanced software tools are used.

Time to decide

The final decision of many companies depends on the time to market, cost factor, and their willingness to take the risk. In today’s digital world, businesses are always under pressure to compete with each other in order to stay ahead. What is appropriate for your company probably may not be ideal for other companies. It depends on an organization’s long-term strategy, easy access to resources, and several other factors. If in-house app development looks like the right decision for your company, make sure that the products you develop are of the highest quality.

Time to decide

Most companies, that plan to take up the mobile strategy for future business growth, will take the risks that are associated with such projects. Being an experienced mobile app development company, every entrepreneur or startup is encouraged to start their own mobile app development journey with the easiest possible version.

If your company holds a huge number of employees, you might not need to hire a mobile app development partner to plan and execute the whole project. All you need is a skilled team to assign tasks to as per their key roles; for example, product manager, app developer, app designer, quality assurance manager, user experience designer, user interface designer, API developer, and backend engineer to make your app scalable.

Nonetheless, if your company is a startup, that has yet to get to launching or financing a product, you might need to bring in a few new founders along to make the app. For example, for a startup business, the ideal startup team should have three types of people: ethical hackers who can crack the code, designers who can lead and execute the design, and hustlers who can manage as well as understand the business.

To conclude, while making a choice between the two in-house and outsourced app development  you must take care of the cost as well as factors like time to market, the budget, and the size of the company.

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Abhay Vohra

About the Author

Abhay Vohra has 15+ years of experience in the IT industry. Abhay started out with us as a Quality Analyst and moved onto the Business Analysis team, where he discovered his passion for Information Architecture, Wireframes, and User Experience. Now, he possesses an impressive experience in UX and has delved into User Research and Service Design. Abhay also happens to be a culture enthusiast and takes a keen interest in world cinema and literature.

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