CEO of Onlinico, James Tharpe, gave an interview to GoodFirms in which he told about his company and the specifics of the software development business
Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
Onlinico is dedicated to developing software that is, especially, available at the point-of-need for our clients. The web and mobile apps we develop are virtually always with you and always available, ready to solve your needs and connect you with customers anywhere at any time. As CEO of Onlinico, this simple concept fascinates me; seeing the software we develop improve not only our clients’ businesses, but their day-to-day lives and their customers’ satisfaction.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and made a lot of great connections. It was only natural that I use my experience and access to talent to start a company that I know will succeed for its clients.
What is your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
We try to choose the best people for the job, wherever they may live. We currently have developers in the USA and Ukraine, all selected for their technical skills and tremendous curiosity.
How is your business model beneficial from a value-added perspective to the clients compared to other companies’ models?
Our business model is uniquely flexible to fit client needs. We can accommodate small and large projects, as well as short- and long-term engagements. For some clients, we augment existing software teams to give them more capacity; for other clients, we are the software team. We also accommodate fixed-bid as well as open-ended engagements with our clients.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
As a company, our experience in primarily marketing (agencies), in-home services, commercial services, and health care industries. However, our developers have a wide range of experience in other industries; the depth of knowledge they have surprises me almost daily!
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app.
The most critical component in determining a project timeframe for software development is how well needs are defined. Clients that know exactly what they want, receive the most accurate timelines. However, we enjoy the excitement of helping a client discover their needs as well and often assist with discovery.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile app?
An app can take anywhere from a few weeks to “forever”. Our most successful clients never stop improving the experience of their mobile applications, and we continue to support them and help innovate for as long as there is value in it. With each new generation of phone and each new idea shared, new opportunities to improve software become available.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
Platform selection boils down to the cost: benefit ratio. Some platforms are fast and inexpensive to implement, but are limited in the performance and features that can be delivered. Purely native applications are the most performant and fully featured, but working across platforms (Android, iOS) can be especially cumbersome and expensive. For the time being, we’ve found React Native to be the most popular and cost-effective solution, but the right platform ultimately depends on the client’s needs.
Which platform do you suggest your clients to begin with when they approach you with an idea (Android or iOS) and why?
If only one can be chosen, we recommend iOS. At a low-level, iOS holds applications to higher standards of operability and performance than Android. Therefore, by targeting iOS first, you’re ensuring overall better quality for the app.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
It depends! For single codebase, cross-platform applications we are presently recommending React Native. For separate code-bases per platform, or for targeting a single platform, native is usually the best choice. Who knows what the future holds, though? As technology rapidly evolves, our recommendations do too.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
The scope is the primary cost driver for initial development, whereas scale is often the cost driver for long-term development. Most of the mobile apps we develop also include back-ends: REST APIs, databases, and system integrations. As an app becomes adopted, it’s just as important to maintain the back-end to support growth as it is to continue innovating the features in the front-end.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions etc.)
We support all the mentioned cost models: Per feature, fixed cost, per milestone. We also support an open-ended model in which we are always available to begin implementing features immediately. The open-ended model costs less in the long-term because we’re able to provide more dedicated resources that work more efficiently over time, and cut down on overhead (estimation, negotiation, administration, etc) that goes into maintaining client accounts; we pass those savings onto the client.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
For new clients, we maintain a $5,000 minimum unless they have been referred from another client in which case there is no formal minimum. For existing clients, there is no formal minimum for new projects.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2016?
We were established in 2017.
Which business model do you suggest to your clients enabling them to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
That really depends on the type of application and the business model of the client. I’m particularly excited about an app we’re currently developing that, once launched, will be using a “freemium” model in which the app is free, but additional features can be unlocked with a monthly subscription.
Source: Good Firms