CEO and founder of Mobile and Web Engineering Company Mobindustry Corps, Max Itskovich has been an industry-guru for more than 11 years now. He has worn many hats during his vast career as a developer, manager, and client. He has spoken in +30 conferences and has published +70 articles. MobileAppDaily was in conversation with Max, where he shared his vision about the future and many other aspects of the mobile app industry. Here is the full interview.
1) Mobindustry is an award-winning company and an industry leader in terms of its app development services. What is the story behind its inception?
It all started back in 2010 when mobile devices didn’t have such a range of possibilities. We were a small outsourcing company that created apps for Windows Phones, Blackberry devices, and of course smartphones that ran Android and iOS. As mobile devices became more and more advanced, we decided that we wanted to provide value to our clients beyond our engineering expertise.
We started to teach our clients how their businesses could benefit from mobile apps, and eventually, this became our product department. With a product mindset, we turned from executors to business consultants who were able to help clients develop business expectations for mobile products.
These business goals then became the basis for all technical and UX requirements for the final product. Shifting to a business approach in development is what made us an industry leader.
2) As a business leader featured among MobAppDaily’s 40under40 list, what do you think are the major traits required to develop and lead a successful organisation?
The first and most important trait any leader needs is the ability to choose the right people for the team and help them grow along with the company. The people who are currently working at Mobinudstry are great engineers, product and project managers, QA specialists, and business analysts. Some people who came to work at Mobindustry were just beginning their journeys in IT, and we helped them gain expertise.
A company is its people and its values, so the most important thing for a leader is being able to choose professionals and help them grow and embrace the company’s values.
The second trait that’s more specific to our industry is constantly striving for growth. This is expressed in keeping up with the latest trends in the mobile market and understanding their influence on other markets. It’s important to not let yourself stagnate in a comfort zone but to strive to adopt new technologies and integrate them into clients’ business processes.
3) How important do you think marketing is for a business app?
Marketing is extremely important for any mobile software product, and often clients don’t consider the budget they’ll need for marketing after they release an app. You should think about marketing and sales way before you’ve started product development.
A lean launch is one of the best approaches to product development, in my opinion. However, if a client doesn’t have a way to sell the product before its launch, we offer to start with an MVP.
4) What makes a mobile application effective?
An effective mobile application is a product that solves a particular problem of either a client or a business so well that users come back to it again and again.
If the app’s goal is to increase revenue, it’s effective if it boosts sales and makes the purchase process easy: for example, if it offers one-click purchases or uses big data to make personalized offers.
Once you have an app, you need to be able to achieve goals within it as well. For example, if the goal is to increase user engagement, the app should allow you to iteratively improve the user experience based on analytics.
A business should treat an app like a channel for sales, revenue, brand awareness, and so on, and should count the return on investment in revenue or market share.
5) From Mobindustry’s inception to this day, how has your journey been? What were the biggest challenges on the way?
Currently, the biggest challenge for us is to demonstrate our expertise to potential clients. Because of the lockdown, we don’t have an opportunity to visit our clients in person in Europe, the US, and the UK.
We’ve found it challenging to develop our product and marketing strategy and shift from working according to a client-oriented business model to being a product-oriented company that prioritizes business goals.
6) What should customers’ expectations be in terms of app and web development in the near future?
Customer expectations are moving more and more towards a super simple user experience that makes daily tasks easy and effortless. Today, one of the best apps I can think of is Siri, as it requires minimal interaction with the interface and gets things done. Voice control, machine learning, and big data systems that predict users’ needs will soon become a standard in the mobile industry.
For our clients, the expectation is that a mobile app will solve business goals faster and provide a significant advantage over their competitors. The reality is that a mobile presence has already become a must for any business, and whoever makes the simplest interface with minimal friction and powers that with effective marketing wins.
7) Which app development technologies and platforms are set to rule the roost?
In my opinion, Google and Apple have already shared the mobile market, and in the future, the market share won’t change much. Currently, Apple is the technological driver of the market, and its audience is more solvent and demanding.
Android, on the other hand, is king in developing countries, especially in Asian countries. The selling point of Android is its popularity in terms of both devices and software products.
Both of these mobile technology leaders will remain trendsetters. In my opinion, Flutter as a cross-platform technology backed by Google has the most potential in terms of market share and growth, as it covers both the Android and iOS software development markets and offers enough performance and functionality for most apps.
8) How important are privacy and data protection today?
Data protection has always been important, but now businesses are putting more emphasis on it because of a few cases of data leaks from large industry players. Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and other market giants collect immense amounts of data on their users, as it’s easier to sell products when you know your customers well.
I think that in the next few years, the mobile market will focus on more customer awareness. Users will get more opportunities to find out what data is being collected and how much it’s worth.
We’re already seeing these changes with every new version of Android and iOS, with the cookies revolution and laws like GDPR being enforced. In the future, users will become more and more aware of how exactly their data is being used by businesses.
9) Mobindustry is a name to reckon with in the mobile app development industry. What traits do you look for in a business or a client to partner with?
As professionals, we enjoy working with professionals — people who know what they want to achieve with their mobile app, who know their customer and their business model. We look for clients that we can help get the most effective app that will realize their full potential.
From our experience, the best clients are product managers. We think that product management expertise is something our clients need to have in-house. In this case, the product will grow fast, and for us, it’s a win-win situation.
10) As Mobindustry’s CEO, you head an agile team of app developers, product managers, QA specialists, and business analysts, among others. How do you manage to make them all work together like a well-oiled machine?
Our company’s culture is the glue that helps us work as one organism. Our company culture is all about mutual respect and is eager to develop both individual and collective expertise in hard and soft skills.
Communication between team members is vital. Because all our experts respect their work and their peers’ work, they’re able to solve issues fast and move towards a common goal.
11) What is a truly smart solution in terms of digital deliverables, be it for the web, mobile apps, wearables, or other devices?
The ecosystem is what makes a solution truly smart. This means each device or piece of software or hardware can work within a single system, exchange data, interact, and so on.
Apple nailed it perfectly: their omnichannel approach allows users to use Apple products seamlessly, no matter what device or app they’re using. This is something that many companies are now trying to achieve.
Android is also striving for this smart approach, and its presence on all kinds of smart devices makes its ecosystem rich with software and devices. What Android still needs to work on is 360-degree compatibility between devices from different manufacturers.
12) Is outsourcing a viable option for mobile app development? What are the trends and requirements a client should factor in before making this decision?
Outsourcing is a good option for mobile development. To outsource a project successfully, a client should be able to carefully vet a service provider and identify them as a skilful vendor.
Currently, there are lots of engineering studios on the market, and the quality of their work varies greatly. Sometimes, clients come to us after they’ve worked with another studio, and a code audit shows that the approach they chose wasn’t the best.
Outsourcing is a great option when the time to market is a priority, as clients can save both time and money on hiring engineers or educating existing ones. It’s much easier to find engineers offshore, as you get a much wider pool of talent.
13) What are the biggest challenges in developing a mobile app platform like a ridesharing or food order and delivery app?
From a technical point of view, these types of apps are rather simple. They don’t require complex algorithms and math. The only two things you should consider from a technical perspective when developing a ridesharing or food delivery app are handling a large number of users and requests to the back end. Such apps should be able to work smoothly under high load without sacrificing the user experience.
When it comes to their non-technical qualities, ridesharing and food delivery apps should be integrated with a particular company’s business model. Finding a niche and building an effective marketing strategy is a challenge for owners of such apps.
Another challenge is always being ready to make changes according to the market needs and be flexible. App owners should remember that releasing an app to the App Store or Google Play is the beginning of a journey, not its end. It’s vital to integrate analytics and start tracking traffic as soon as the app is live so you can improve the app according to market demands.
14) As an industry leader, where do you think the mobile app development industry is headed? What does its future look like?
The mobile app development industry is entering all areas of people’s lives, and this is driven by the biggest market players. The mobile app development industry is no longer centralized, and most companies benefit from building international teams with the best talents that aren’t constrained by their location.
Talented product managers and user experience designers are people who drive the market forward by making products convenient and useful. These professionals can be located anywhere in the world, from the US to Ukraine. I think globalization and building international teams are the biggest trends for modern mobile development.
15) How important are client-developer partnerships in getting an app developed?
An application’s success depends directly on the right expectations, and they’re formulated between a client and a development team. A client needs to have a clear understanding of their business goals, or a developer should play the role of a product manager and help the client manage expectations.
Communication between the client and the vendor is key here, and I’m talking not only about language and cultural understanding but about communication skills like using project management tools, regular reporting, and daily meetings. This includes the ability to talk not only about goals but also about problems that can arise during development. Each project can have its ups and downs, and it’s important to be able to overcome issues in time and focus on the final result.
16) As an industry and business leader soliciting individuals and organisations, what is your strategy to read between the lines?
Honesty and transparency is always my strategy when it comes to communication. This helps me build trustworthy relationships with both my colleagues and clients. Asking the right questions and demonstrating an eagerness to reach common goals helps me find out what my clients and employees truly want, then build our communication to find common ground.
This wasn’t a skill I was born with, as I used to be an engineer before founding Mobindustry. After 10 years of constantly getting experience in management, I feel like I’ve become better at reading between the lines.
- Ability to chose the right people for your team and enable them to grow with time is one of the key traits of a leader.
- Every leader should be constantly striving for growth.
- One should think about marketing and sales way before product development.
- An effective mobile application is a product that solves a particular problem of either a client or a business so well that users come back to it again and again.
- Mobile applications have already become a must for any business, and whoever makes the simplest interface with minimal friction and powers that with effective marketing wins.
- Off-shore outsourcing is great as you get a much wider pool of talent.
- The mobile app development industry is no longer centralized, and most companies benefit from building international teams with the best talents around the world.
- Asking the right questions and demonstrating an eagerness to reach common goals helps to find out what clients and employees truly want.
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