Billion Dollar Apps

Billion Dollar Apps℠: CIOs Share Tips for Selecting a Mobile Apps Partner

January 7, 2013

  • Alex Bratton
Alex Bratton

Alex Bratton

As part of the research for my upcoming book, Billion Dollar Apps℠, I’ve spoken with many CIOs, technology leaders and executives about what they’re seeing in the enterprise.

One common thread from nearly every technology leader I talk with is a desire for a partner who thinks and works on a broader scale than just ‘apps’. They want a team who can think at a systems level and really understand the end to end architecture and existing enterprise technology ecosystem that mobile apps need to be a part of. Building an isolated ‘brochure-ware’ app that lives only on the mobile device was the first step for many organizations, but we’re past that now. Apps are now connected, living entities that need to be addressed with a full systems approach.

In addition to systems capabilities, here are a number of other criteria to consider when selecting a partner.

 What should you look for in a mobile apps partner?

Tony Dillon

Tony Dillon – Look for solid design & capacity

What I look for in a mobile partner is someone who understands the space, someone who is capable of telling good interface design from bad interface design, and someone who can get me to the market as quickly as possible. These days especially, how long it takes me from concept to be able to deliver to the marketplace is increasingly important.

Not every IT organization is staffed with the right level of expertise to pursue mobile, so I look for a partner with sufficient resources to step on the gas when you’re ready to step on the gas. I also take a look at their other applications and their design sense. Even though they might’ve been the byproduct of collaboration with other clients, that’s still intellectual property that resides inside your partner’s organization. Take a look at the other applications carefully, and if they look like you want your application to look, you’ve found the right partner.

Robert Sarkis

Robert Sarkis – Find a real partner

The most important thing in selecting a partner to help you develop mobile is really to know that you have a partnership with that vendor. A partnership defined by somebody that can actually be able to accommodate your needs, your challenges and can advise you best on the right approach.

That is not necessarily because they can generate more money or less money themselves, but more about what is best for your organization. I’ve been lucky to have worked with some vendors that basically have come up and say, “You don’t wanna spend any money there. We don’t feel this idea is gonna help you,” and I think that’s a true example of partnerships that we’re looking for with a vendor.

Kevin Glynn

Kevin Glynn – Go for smaller, local experts

When we’re looking for technology partners for – specifically around mobile or in general, we have a number of criteria. First, we actually want local people. We want local folks that we can work with that we can return to. We prefer a smaller firm and think we get more attention. They also tend to listen better.

Then, we want people who are experts in their field. We really want to go after people for whom this is their passion – this is what they wanna do – and in the mobile space Lextech fit that perfectly.

And then, the last one, as with any vendor selection, is you’ve got to have a fair price for the work.

Matt Hartzman

Matt Hartzman – Make sure the culture fits

When I’ve selected partners in the past to help me with any technology service, I’ve looked at organizations with experience that match our culture of the organization. So, I think when organizations today are looking at mobile apps, they need to look for organizations that have experience doing very similar things with very similar processes that match your culture.


The right mobile technology partner is a passionate team that can handle both systems level thinking and focus on the end user with compelling usability and design. They should build a deep relationship with your organization so they can guide you on your path to Billion Dollar Apps and help you avoid putting money and resources where they won’t be as effective.