So you’re the IT Director of a large organisation looking to unleash business efficiency with a new internal mobile app, but you’re all too aware of the multiple hurdles ahead. Or you’re a business or product owner wanting to build your digital presence and drive sales with a new consumer mobile app that acts as an extension of your website.
Whatever enterprise mobile app you’re hoping to create, there are a number of key issues to look into from the outset to avoid headaches and expense, as well as making sure your final product is the best it can be.
Having worked with a wide variety of top enterprises over the years, we’ve put our heads together and condensed our advice into these five initial tips. Hopefully they’ll help you avoid the pitfalls that the enterprise mobile app development experience could throw your way.
1) Know your audience
Whether you’re developing an app for your customers or for your workforce, users know best. So understanding their needs and behaviours is at the core of developing a great digital product. Right from the start, you need to fully research and explore what problems you will be solving for your users, and avoid making assumptions about how they will interact with your app.
By listening carefully to your customers or employees and understanding their pain points, you’ll really be able create an app that actually solves a problem and does so brilliantly. In particular, rigorous user testing will help bring the app analytics and metrics to life so that you can refine and improve UX.
2) Context is king
This follows on swiftly from point one. Where will users actually be using your mobile app? Will they be on a shop floor, in a warehouse or on the move? Will they have reliable connections - 3G or 4G?
In the case of the Ziffit, a barcode scanning app that we developed, users could be anywhere from inside a grandparents’ loft to a dusty old garage to scan their old books, CDs and DVDs. We needed to design our iOS and Android apps accordingly to take into account different issues associated with these varied locations and scenarios.
3) Stick to your core features
It’s sometimes possible to get a bit carried away when developing a new app. You’re so excited by all the technological bells and whistles that you try to cram in too much and the end user experience is a mess.
At this point you need to stop, take a deep breath and remember that you’re not creating a Swiss army knife. You want to stick to core features and perfect those.
Apps work best when they do one repeated function very well, such as a calculator app or a weather app. Users would rather have several apps from the same company that work brilliantly (e.g. Google Mail, Google Drive etc) rather than one mobile app that tries to do too much and doesn’t work.
4) Think about the long-term
Enterprise mobile app development really is a marathon not a sprint (no Agile pun intended). You need to consider the ongoing time and resources needed to ensure your mobile app is kept up-to-date.
Ultimately, huge amounts of time are saved when you work with one provider over many years. They will understand key concepts and elements of your business - algorithms, the implementation of technology and the future product roadmap.
By building a long-term digital budget and strategy, and continually refining your app, you’ll ensure that it continues to be useful. A dead app is a wasted investment, so you need to be realistic about the ongoing maintenance costs.
5) Find a strong partnership
Finding the right partner is fundamental to building great mobile apps. Ideally, you want to work with a team with such compatible working methods that they feel like an extension of your in-house team, rather than an external service provider.
CIOs are increasingly aware of the need to develop these long term partnerships. In fact, you can listen to our recent Horizon CIO podcast on this very subject here.
Look for a mobile app development team that are not only aligned in terms of technological expertise and pricing, but also in terms of their values and culture, which are ultimately much more important.
Ask yourself - can I work with these people on projects over many years? Do they offer trust and transparency? Can we have honest conversations and will they take joint responsibility for the outcome of projects? If the answer to those questions is yes, then your mobile app will be on the right road to success.
Get in touch with us here to find out more.