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Mobile is moving in-house

As the mobile development industry matures there has been a significant change of tack towards bringing app development in-house. Similar to the web development industry a decade ago, brands are recognising the need establish long-term institutional expertise rather than relying on external agencies.

At the One More Thing conference in Melbourne, Emma Stabey from SEEK spoke about how their mobile app strategy has evolved from leveraging the expertise of 3rd party developers to being almost entirely in-house.

The move has primarily been driven by the need to keep knowledge in-house and to be able to quickly adapt to changing customer needs. It’s no longer ok just to have an app, mobile needs to be a strategic pillar of business. Online retail businesses such as Ideeli are now seeing mobile devices accounting for 20% of total revenue according to CTO, Mark Uhrmacher (source: Adweek).

Mobile experience is also at an all time premium with businesses in the financial services and publishing industries leading the way. With the rush to build internal teams there’s a genuine opportunity to build a mobile development centre of excellence that attracts the best talent.

Encouraging code quality through techniques such as test driven development and continuous integration helps developers take pride in creating awesome products rather than getting code shipped in time for the client. It also allows businesses to invest in journeyman coders rather than competing at the pointy end of the market with everyone else.

This doesn’t mean the end for mobile agencies. As the market continues to grow and mature, the number of companies building apps is also increasing. There will always be a niche for specialists providers that have expert domain knowledge to build long-term relationships with internal development teams. That relationship will be in the form of long-term, on-site engagements as development partners rather than external suppliers.