Mobility and the three bears—Which one do you choose?


Image by Bekathwia

Once upon a time, there was a company executive. He lived in a large organisation and loved coming to work every day.

One day, he went out into the world to look for a mobility solution provider. Off he went, happy as can be, wide-eyed and eager to please. “This should be easy!” he thought to himself, “Mobility is all the rage and is cheap!”

Soon, he became lost. Although the path looked familiar, there were false paths and traps everywhere. He took refuge in a small coffee shop and ordered a flat white to calm down.

Looking over he noticed there were only 3 tables, each with people already sitting there. So he approached the first table and asked to sit down, to which the young kids replied “sure thing bro, have a seat”.

After chatting for a while, the company executive discovered the 2 young kids were Mobile App Developers! Wow. What luck, so he started talking about his company needs to see if they would fit the bill.

The discussion went well at first, the kids were very engaged, and were young and enthusiastic. But as time went on he discovered they wouldn’t suit his needs. Yes they were cheap, but he was currently meeting with the entire company, both of the staff. How could he rely on this organisation to get the outcomes he needed? Would they be able to finish the job? They had only been around for a year; they were too small, too cheap, too risky and too distracted. They kept taking phone calls from new prospects and from clients, while trying to drink their coffee, talk to him and answer emails. When they started talking about augmented reality and didn’t know what an ERP or CRM was (is that a game?) his face dropped.

So the executive excused himself, grabbed his coffee and shuffled dejected to the next table.

There he saw three refined older gentlemen, each wearing a well tailored suit and drinking their macchiatos. They stood up as he approached, extended warm greetings and business cards. Wow, he thought, and upon reading the cards he discovered they were executives of one of the largest system integration firms in the hemisphere, what luck!

As he went through discussing his needs, they were all over it, they were talking his language, they understood complex installations and talked about the companies 1000’s of staff, 1000’s of clients and 1000’s of skills. This company could certainly handle it. Couldn’t they?

Then he started asking more questions around pricing and delivery. “Sure, we certainly have the resources to take on your job, we regularly run at 70% utilisation and can ramp up very quickly, first we bring in our requirements and motion study teams, they should take around 3 months going over your systems and processes with numerous workshops to ensure we design the right solution, then we can start architecting the solution either on site or on our premises. Once we sign off the use cases, requirements definitions and high and low level designs, then we can engage the delivery teams to program the project into our schedule. We think around 100 people at 12 months should be doable at $2,000 a day.”

The executive then picked himself up off the floor and thought “OK, so there is less risk, but they are way too expensive, not very agile, and too big!”

So he dusted off his pants, went to order a replacement flat white (a big one) and went to try and unwind at the last table.

As he sat down, the mid thirties gentleman extended a warm greeting and identified himself as being from a specialist mobility organisation of four years standing, with 40 staff in 3 countries. As they spoke, the executive began to feel better and better. This organisation was not too big, not too small, but just right. It was not too risky, not too slow, but just right. They didn’t have 1000s of past clients, but they certainly had a good track record and could show an impressive range of clients with complex systems integration experience focused on mobility.

However, the best part was that despite seeming the best choice, they fell nicely between the $10,000 quote of the small two-man company and the millions quoted by the large company. To tell you the truth, it was a little more than he originally had in mind, but through the ongoing discussions he came to understand that a mobile application that delivers a real return on investment is not somehow a magical software solution that doesn’t have the cost of traditional software development, but rather is pretty much in line with any other style of software development on any other platform. Which in hindsight was actually pretty obvious.

He walked out into the sunshine and back to the office, all the while wondering why he went out thinking mobility solutions would be vastly cheaper than other enterprise software application project in the first place, but happy he didn’t have to spend millions and wait a year or more to get it done.