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App Thrash is the prolific spending of money and resources on developing new business applications with little strategy and lack of success

App Thrash

Tyson Hartshorn, CEO — I have noticed App Thrash throughout my decades worth of experience consulting with businesses on their technology needs and have always asked about their past experiences during our initial meetings. A recurring theme that has always stood out is how many companies become enamored with the concept of cloud-based and smart device “mini” apps.

I understand their thinking. We, as a society, consume massive amounts of information through our mobile devices and many of us manage the majority of our work and life through them. As business owners, my clients felt like they MUST enhance the digital side of their business to reach the upcoming generations of digital customers who expect businesses to be modern and technology relevant. They were right, but the execution of developing quality apps has failed miserably.

As cloud-based computing, mobile device computing, and software infrastructure platforms mature, the ability to build and deploy powerful applications is far easier than it once was.  These same advancements have made it possible for businesses of every size to afford semi custom software projects that enhance their business image and capabilities.

Unfortunately, only around 70% of these application development endeavors actually achieve meaningful adoption or meet their business goals. Developing a long term strategy of application development that carries key core value propositions and a solid integration strategy is an overwhelming task for most businesses. During this process, a business will spend an average of $270k for EACH app they develop and the project will take an average 7 months to a year before it is ready to be deployed. Lots of time, money, and resources are being wasted by businesses trying to get a jump on the competition.  I refer to this phenomena as “App Thrash,” and thousands of companies are trying to figure out how to recover from it and/or avoid doing it in the future.

Scarce Development Resources

The first issue with App Thrash is that the businesses building applications are seldom technology companies.  I always advise that if your core business is not software, then you should not be internally building and owning it.  Software moves so fast and requires such specialized skills to maintain properly that most organizations internal teams quickly get left behind.

On first glance, some might think smart application development seems simple and custom app developers won’t tell you otherwise because they want your business. What organizations learn over the course of time is just the opposite. Software is a dynamic process and the first design iteration is never perfect. Companies we work with admit that they have woefully underestimated the challenges around user training, adoption, and ongoing support and maintenance.  Going back to the developers is a lost cause as they are either on to the next project or want to slap a hefty price tag on any kind of post-launch support.

End User Experience

The second issue is that the projects are not always thought through in terms of the value they bring to the users and the company.  I have about 50 apps on my smartphone, I seldom use any of them, and the only reason they stay is that they offer me some value I deem as important.  If not, they languish and eventually get deleted.  Once again, no custom application developer is going to care or help think through things like value proposition, adoption strategy, or phased value adoption plans.

Integration Strategy

Finally, I often see that there was no overarching strategy to the creation or development of these applications.  How will they integrate with other company systems or customer software?  How does the collective set of applications drive a cohesive strategy around value to both the company and users?  What overall channel, pricing, and adoption strategies will ensure the customer sees the value of your app?

Planning for Success

For this reason, we have taken a very different approach with the Innately platform.  We focus on the success of the application over time, not just meeting development milestones.  We act in a consultative fashion to define and recognize value, creating an overarching technology strategy supported by best practices for application adoption. And we have built our pricing to ensure we make your app successful.

We have saved many companies from App Thrash by taking a portfolio of failed applications and consolidating them on the Innately platform. The results have been amazing to see.  If you have felt or are feeling the pain of a failed or struggling application project, we can help.  Chances are, your original strategy and vision have merit, let’s explore how they can put you out in front of your competition.