Interview with Appus Studio CEO Dmitry Mikheev
Give us a quick overview on Appus Studio. When and how did you begin this journey and what were your motives to be successful in app development?
Appus Studio was founded in 2009. Then it was a small team of like-minded people who were in love with the code. To be honest, there were only two of us. Two developers inspired by the capabilities of progressive technology and seeing the great prospects of this industry. Gradually, our team grew and the company grew with it. Today it is a modern studio with a huge office in the center of Kharkov, with the staff on board of 47 inspired masters of their craft. Appus Studio provides its customers with a full range of mobile application development services. We are a full cycle company. In our state there are specialists who accompany the process of creating a product from its beginning to its completion. These are managers working with clients, designers, developers, and QA testers. We create applications for iOS and Android platforms. We work with projects for wearable devices and AppleTV. We never outsource the stages of work to a third party. That is why we are confident in the results of our work and are even ready to provide our customers with a guarantee of up to 1 year after the end of the project.
What is your role in the management and development of Appus Studio?
I am the founder and CEO of Appus Studio. And as you understand, I work at this company from the day of its birth.
Tell us about your biggest achievement in the industry
It is difficult to speak about our biggest achievements, because every project is the achievement of the company. Every project for us is our greatest achievement. Not because it is difficult for us, but because it is the most valuable for us. This is what we are proud of even more than with any awards, confessions, places conquered and on. And still, I think a huge achievement is our team. Maybe it sounds too loud, but it's true.
How do you schedule the development phases of the apps to promise the timeline to your clients?
We carefully approach this process. We have our own project management system. Therefore, the client is fully involved in the process, and we are open to communication. Speaking about the schedule of phases, there are many nuances here, and this depends on the client's requirements, on the model of cooperation chosen by him, etc. If we talk about this briefly, we can distinguish several steps: Determination of the needs, the creation of specifications (if necessary), the signing of a contract, development, demonstration, and warranty period. The time spent on this depends on the requirements of the client and the project itself. I have explained the process of cooperation more detailed in my recent Appus blog publication 'App Development Life Cycle'.
How do you help your clients in choosing the right yet profitable platform for app development?
I will repeat, but the answer for which platform to develop the application lies in the requirements of the client and the specifics of the application itself. We work with platforms iOS and Android. Which one to choose or create a project for both of them, it is the question for the client. If our consultation is necessary, then, taking into account the specifics of the project, we can recommend a specific platform for reference. For example, iOS applications themselves require less code, and therefore are built faster, they can be adapted more quickly for new OS, and are more secure. As for Android, there is a gain in a more extensive market and a segment of users, and in working with the application store. Although it is believed that iOS device owners are more solvent, practice shows that Android applications are more expensive, for example, statistics for August 2017 shows that the average price of the most downloaded applications for Android is almost 2 times higher than the average price of the similar applications for iOS. Again, the choice depends on who will be the users of the application and for what purposes it is created, for example, Android is more suitable for games.
Which would you suggest for a successful and profitable business progression, Native or hybrid apps? How do you define the factors that influenced you to make this choice?
This issue is quite controversial so far. But still there are some already established trends that are dictated by our experience. Both native and hybrid development have their pros and cons. Hybrid development shows itself well on small projects, which have only standard functions. Native development is good for medium and large size projects or projects where there are no standard functions. Also, hybrid development is dangerous because if an application that was small grows into a large and complex application - then development requires large capital investments. Although for certain projects it is used with success, for example, for the gaming sector and test projects. Our team has the technical capabilities and staff of specialists for both these types of development.
How do you scheme your pricing model? How do you fix your budget?
We use two pricing models: a fixed price and an hourly rate basis. Everything depends on the customer's desire and on the project. If there are clear requirements for the project, it is better to choose Fixed Price model. If there are no clear requirements for the project, or it is a long-term support for the project, then you need to select the Hourly Rate model. In any case, these issues are discussed even at the stage of developing the project documentation and at the time of signing the contract, the client can see what his budget will be and how long the development will take.
How helpful are the mobile apps developed by Appus Studio for your clients in enhancing their business?
I think this will be more eloquently told by our clients in their reviews. In addition, since we are an outsourcing company, we cannot always openly talk about the experience of using applications created by us, as the ownership remains with our customers, and we strictly observe confidentiality.
What according to you are the best practices to attain client satisfaction?
I can not single out any specific situation. Each client is individual in itself and its project is individual, therefore, to satisfy the customer, it is always necessary to follow his requirements. In addition, we communicate with our customers, we have built an interaction system that allows us to work more closely with our clients. This allows us to more sensitively understand what the client wants from us. I think this is the secret of successful service - in close interaction and understanding of each other.
How do you update your business system to be in pace with the technological advancements?
We constantly monitor what is happening around us, because if we stop doing this, our work will not be relevant. Today, customers are very demanding and we try to meet their needs. And this is impossible without adaptation to technological innovations.
What are your thoughts about AR, VR and Internet of Things (IoT)?
This is the future of the industry. Today, there are a lot of different devices, some of them surprising, for example, clever umbrellas or jewelries. While this is a kind of experiments, tests of user behavior. There are a lot of failures and errors, including a huge number of unsuccessful and bad applications for devices of the kind. But, I believe that this is the prospect and a huge field for innovations and improvements. In addition, this market is only beginning to grow and competition is still not high, for example, the interest of users to VR devices grew by 79% in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period of 2016. We also picked up this wave and now are working on our own application for a smart home using Z-Wave technology and the Apple Home Kit.
What do you think will be the future of Mobile technology?
The future of mobile technology is precisely dependent on technological progress including. I think it lies in the improvement of coding languages (the popularity of simpler languages such as Kotlin is already growing), optimization of phone resources, nativity, in development of OS versions and learning machines, in cloud technologies, in providing more data security, in simpler design, in increased usability and functionality. Also, recent trends indicate that the popularity of applications for business and micro-applications will grow.