It is a common refrain among corporate executives to discuss enterprise mobility, and to take action towards making mobile applications available at an enterprise level. While mobile apps provide a wealth of opportunities and tangible benefits, a number of companies seem to be hurrying in this direction. Before investing in mobile apps, it helps to spend time deliberating on the dos and don’ts, and ensuring that everything in this checklist is cleared. This will help companies to balance both short and long term objectives, while optimizing the investment that is about to be made.
A list of 5 dos
Find your purpose
To develop an app without an objective is all too common today. Investing in app development should have clear objectives such as improving consumer experience, enhancing marketability, boosting analytics, or even mitigating security hazards. There could be various other objectives too, to develop an enterprise mobile app. Your first priority should be to list those objectives after careful deliberations with your vendor, and your C-level executives. Rather than focusing on how everyone is developing an app, it helps to list why you wish to get an app developed and how it is going to help your organization’s top and bottom lines.
Find your user’s motivation
While it certainly helps to have an organization’s objectives for releasing an app in place, finding user’s motivation to install and use the app consistently should be on the priority list too. Most people use mobile apps in order to ensure mobility and immediacy. Secondly, mobile apps are known to be popular when there is a certain level of gamification. Thirdly, identifying what motivates your users to use an app regularly should be high on the agenda.
Choose the right platform
Choosing the right platform to build enterprise level applications is very important. The most popular platforms today are iOS and Android, but developing apps separately for both the platforms can be quite expensive and also difficult to manage. Instead of releasing regular updates for native platforms, choosing a hybrid platform where a single code is written for both the platforms could be a better choice. Another option is also to develop a mobile web app, which functions on mobile browsers efficiently.
Focus on usability
While objectives, motivations and the right platform can help in enhancing app usage, nothing is more important than usability. A mobile app needs to have superior UI/UX, in order to be used repeatedly. Keeping an app light weight and not loading it with features helps to enhance speed and usability of an app. For instance, a mobile app needs to be more stripped down yet more effective and personal than a website. Interactivity and usability should take centre stage
Bring in analytics
Mobile app usage data provides valuable insights about users and their behavior. Market research shows that organizations that use app analytics fare significantly better in monetization than those who do not. Strong app analytics tools help organizations to understand usage patterns and form policies based on that. Forward-looking insights help in making changes to existing policies and bring in new ones.
A list of 5 don’ts
Don’t squeeze in functionalities
Often, organizations look at mobile apps as a mini-version of their web portals. Unfortunately, this thinking paradigm needs to change if one were to make app development and implementation successful. Mobile apps are not just stripped down versions of websites nor are they entire websites packed into a tiny app icon. On the other hand, apps bring usability, interactivity and communication to users, while keeping things portable. Trying to squeeze in all the desktop functionalities into an app will defeat this purpose.
Don’t measure success based on app downloads
It is tempting to look at an app’s download figures and feel good or bad about that. Measuring an app’s success based on its download rate is a misguiding metric. The real success metric of an app is its usage. Analytics help you to understand how people are using an app, how often they are using it, and how consistently it is being used. These are the metrics that point toward an app’s success.
Don’t ignore security
All too often, organizations focus on usability, user interface and other features that make apps successful. However, they often ignore data security. To solve this, one can explore Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solutions. MDM tackles even the trickiest scenarios and helps to wipe devices when they are compromised, either by the employee or by an external threat. BYOD helps to reduce costs and streamline mobile devices that are used by employees.
Don’t forget to account for maintenance costs
Do not assume that your initial investment towards app development is all that it takes to keep an app up and running. There will be maintenance and app upgradation expenses, which might often go unnoticed. Take these into account before drawing up a budget. In fact, forgetting to account for cost of maintenance and upgradation is one of the biggest financial mistakes that organizations make.
Don’t ignore usage environment
Apps should be designed for the environment in which they will be used. Some of the factors that you should take into account are the platforms on which your users shall use the app, their available bandwidth and the availability of battery. Ignoring user environment results in applications, which might alienate users, resulting in reduced usage.
Remember your dos and don’ts well
While developing an app is one of the high priorities of any enterprise today, it is important to list an organization’s objectives for developing the app and the users’ motivation to use the app. Next, one must choose the right platform and make a decision between native and hybrid apps. Focusing on usability, US/UI and interactive should be next on the agenda. Lastly, app development should always take analytics into account, as app usage data provides valuable insights.
Some of the things that organizations should avoid are squeezing in too many functionalities, measuring success based on the number of downloads, and ignoring data security. It is also important not to forget maintenance costs, as there will always be expenses related to app updates. Finally, one shouldn’t ignore the environment in which the app is going to be used.
Authored by by Abhishek Rungta, Founder & CEO, Indus Net Technologies