Businesses are at the cusp of immense transformation facilitated by the rapid growth of mobile and the app ecosystem. Services via apps, payments via mobile are no longer modern, they are here and have become an integral part of culture and evolution.

Businesses who have been at the cutting-edge of technology and transformation could foresee the power of mobile and went on to quickly build a mobile strategy for both clients and employees. A mobile strategy today is an integral part of enterprise strategy and growth. In fact, businesses are now working towards improving app experience and keeping users hooked to the app.

Read: 4 Innovative Tactics to Drive User Engagement on Apps

So, how do you choose a vendor or a partner to facilitate implementing your mobile strategy? To this end, a systematic approach is required to decide on a mobile application development vendor. In fact, most failures with a mobile strategy implementation can be traced back to a sourcing process that was not managed well.

Following is a process opted by companies that wish to leave the least possible to chance while looking for mobile app development companies. You will not need any advanced software tools to implement the process elaborated below. In fact, you can get the whole thing done in an Excel spreadsheet. However, if you’d rather have a tool, you can look for one on Google (or you can try Website Vendor Selection Tool or SupplierSelect, for example.)

​Compile a list of criteria your vendor should meet

Before scouting for a vendor, know exactly what needs to be done. Divide the scope of the project, making it clear what needs to be delivered by the vendor and what can be done in-house. Once the service provider’s scope has been defined, you can compile a list of criteria that your vendor should meet. The list of criteria should align with the project the vendor is being selected for, including the tasks, responsibilities, and duties that the vendor is to perform.

A company’s overall portfolio might be sufficient to get the right picture about the company before you begin phase two of discussions. In case you recruit a team, you should rate the organization only if a criterion pertains to the company. Accordingly, while gathering information in later stages, be specific and ask for information on the team and the individuals to be involved when appropriate.

Create a list of vendors

Once you know what you are looking for, you should create a list of vendors who would meet most of the criteria you have chosen. As you cast your net widely, don’t feel bad about ignoring the vendors that fail to meet your criterion.

Some places where you can find vendors:

  • Recommendations of people in your network
  • Organic Google search
  • Technology-specific catalogues and listings
  • Forums where technology experts and enthusiasts frequent

Once your search is complete, you will have a list of potential vendors ready.​

A company’s overall portfolio might be sufficient to get the right picture about the company before you begin phase two of discussions. In case you recruit a team, you should rate the organization only if a criterion pertains to the company. Accordingly, while gathering information in later stages, be specific and ask for information on the team and the individuals to be involved when appropriate.

​Collect and verify information about the listed vendors

Now that you have a list of potential vendors, you need to check if they are who they say they are. Dig around and get as much information as you can on the shortlisted companies/candidates. A good place to start would be to ask the company for the information you need and to rate themselves against the criteria you feel are important. Turn the criteria into a list of questions and email it to them.

You can also augment your search with all the information available online. Check out what they say in marketing collaterals, their social media presence, and the like. You could also check them out with their clients and see what they say.

Once your research is done, you’ll have enough information at your fingertips to make an informed decision.

​Visit the shortlisted service providers

​If your project is extremely critical, it is advisable to visit the office of the vendors shortlisted. This is also crucial if you choose to collaborate with a company that is geographically closer to you.

You can use the information gathered during the visit to reevaluate those in the final list and select the one that is most promising. You can always keep in touch with the others on your list. This way, if the negotiations with the top candidate do not go through, you will have others to fall back upon.

Use a pilot project

​With all the information that you have collected, the finalized company/candidate might still fall through. This can cause significant damage to the project if it happens halfway through the process. Assign them a pilot project to test their ability to deliver on promises. This will give them an opportunity to prove most of the claims made in the earlier stages of negotiations. A pilot project can help figure out areas that need to be worked on before the actual project starts. If it does not work out, you still have the list of other candidates to work with plus, your investments are safe.

In conclusion

Selecting a mobile app development company is not a walk in the park. You can manage the process yourself or use an agent to support you. Either way, the process requires time and money.

That said, the whole process helps you significantly reduce the risks involved in outsourcing your project. You also get an opportunity to develop a long-term relationship with a vendor who can deliver good service. The money you put in is an investment that will pay off once your application is built.