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While solution providers may be lured by the ring of
app-development’s many opportunities, there are several hurdles they must avoid
in order to ensure their new business venture is successful.

Through planning and attention to detail, solution providers and
consulting firms can be part of the application-development market. After all,
with mobile apps alone expected to generate between $15 billion and $18 billion
this year, many customer organizations are seeking third-party experts able to
quickly deliver reliable, cost-effective, and high-performing solutions.

Organizations were expected to increase both the dollar and
percentage allocated from their software budgets to new development this year,
according to Forrester Research. In fact, they planned to spend 26 percent of
their software budgets on custom-development projects, reported Redmond
Developer
.

"The overall picture is one of development shops in
transition, moving from new technologies and updated development frameworks to
meet evolving customer demands," said Forrester analysts.

Beating
the Budget Blues

As IT history can all-too-often attest, many software development
projects go over budget and schedule—and solution providers can also fall prey
to this problem, cautioned Leigh Williamson, Distinguished Engineer,
Software CTO Team, IBM
Rational
, in an interview. Frequently, this happens because there is no
clear understanding of a project’s status, whether it is meeting scheduled
dates, and whether the software is passing functionality metrics on time, he
said.

“That’s something that is very applicable for mobile
projects because of the very short duration of those projects, but it’s really
a very generic software problem we’re hearing from all sorts of software
development teams,” Williamson said.

To address this issue, IBM Rational created Jazz, an open
platform for development tool integration, as well as Jazz.net, a corresponding
community for the sharing of ideas, projects, problems, and solutions, he said.

Know Thy
Customer

Solution providers that have already achieved some measure of
success in software development may well attest to the allure of moving too
quickly or entering brand new verticals. However, channel executives recommend
focusing on specific areas of expertise. This way, solution providers continue
to deliver both the business and technical benefits they are known for.

When Resort Technology Partners (RTP)
began developing mobile apps, it had a very specific focus: To create applications
that would tie-in to its enterprise software that allows people to buy tickets
and resort passes.

“Our main enterprise solution is for ticketing and commerce.
Extending ticketing and commerce to mobile was a natural step,” Mary Anschutz,
director of marketing, told Channel
Insider
. “The apps tie to our enterprise software and allow resort guests
to purchase tickets from their phones, use their phones as tickets, renew
passes, and more. This gives consumers more flexibility and the resorts another
commerce/revenue-generating vehicle. The mobile apps allow resorts to speak to
customers via smart phones, which is what customers expect. This is another
revenue opportunity for our company, as well as another revenue vehicle for the
resorts and parks.”

DataArt offers
custom application-development for businesses in specific verticals such as
finance, travel and hospitality, media, and healthcare. It began offering
mobile app-development when customers began seeking this service from their
long-time custom-development provider.

“Most of our clients have been boosted by mobile
technology. We have seen clients come back and ask us for mobile application
products,” said Artyom Astafurov, senior vice president and partner at DataArt,
in an interview. “Mobile development is cheap. It doesn’t cost much to develop
a piece of iPhone software or a piece of iPad software. That’s a very good
thing. It’s a boost for the development community. Businesses can afford to experiment
and see if something catches on with their users or their clients. Gone are the
days of, ‘We’re planning 18 months ahead.’”