Five Must Haves for Mobile App Success in the Enterprise
|Renu Upadhyay in Enterprise Tuesday, August 2, 2016|
From Facebook Messenger’s bots to the recent Pokémon Go craze, mobile apps are becoming the vehicles for some of the most disruptive consumer technologies today. Yet, enterprise mobile innovation continues to lag behind. As Gartner reported in June, the average mobile enterprise application development budget is actually shrinking.
The enterprise mobile apps market is ever-changing and ever-confusing for IT buyers. Gartner found that while mobile accounts for only one tenth of organizational development budgets, the demand for mobile apps in the enterprise is actually quite high. However, with limited in-house resources and an overwhelming amount of development options, developers face much pressure to produce effective apps quickly and efficiently. As a result, the most common action can be inaction.
To help guide developers and IT buyers through the process, here are the five requirements for implementing successful mobile apps in the enterprise.
1. Mobile Native
While it may seem obvious, start simple and ensure your app is native for mobile, allowing for improved performance and scalability. Despite traditional thinking that a web app can be seamlessly converted into an effective mobile experience, hybrid apps lack the full control of mobile device features.
As mobile device use cases continue to evolve, it’s increasingly important that mobile apps have access to the phone’s camera, GPS, sensors and more to truly drive innovative and valuable mobile solutions within the enterprise.
2. Implement Conversational Features To Drive Adoption
People are already immersed in a world of real-time messaging, in-app chat and contextual channels – as consumers we can initiate two-way conversations with businesses or peers via popular apps such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
This easy and addictive messaging paradigm must also make its way into enterprise apps if they are to be successful. Whether an employee is looking to reach out to a colleague or close out a sales transaction using their mobile device, the ability to engage in rich, meaningful interactions is essential to make the app a daily habit.
Furthermore, offering a corporate-sanctioned conversational app helps retain all information and control the privacy of data, rather than relegating it to a third-party messaging app.
Research shows message-based apps also spur increased loyalty and brand affinity. In a recent report by Localytics, simply adding in-app messaging to a mobile app resulted in 3.5x higher retention than their counterparts without in-app messaging.
3. Enable Agile App Delivery
With the speed of change in the technology industry, it’s important to ensure your enterprise has an agile development framework in place to allow for frequent, painless app updates. Whether the app is internal-only or customer-facing, it needs to be treated as a product with its own lifecycle so that updates can be made in rapid response to security issues, OS updates or changes in business requirements.
Agile development also promises re-use of services accelerating the development lifecycle and enforces a “design-by-contract” methodology, ensuring there is alignment between the business owners and developers working collaboratively.
4. Allow For Backend Connectivity - If And When It Makes Sense
Too many enterprises attempt to mobilize all backend systems without recognizing the costly and time-consuming consequences. When integrating with a backend component, ask yourself, “What value does this add to the app?” and “Does it make sense on a mobile device form factor?”
All too often the tendency is to invest resources into mobilizing the entire backend without first giving thought to the end user experience, usage and value proposition. It’s not surprising then that most of these projects fail due to too many complex, conflicting requirements or a lack of adoption.
The key is to plan your project from a user-in perspective instead of backend-out, and only choose to mobilize those functions that make sense for the mobile use case. For example, you may not need to integrate all payroll functions for mobile, but perhaps specific tools are more vital than others when considering on-the-go transactions.
5. Leverage Analytics and Reporting Tools
Analytics and reporting are valuable for any business. Specifically for IT, tracking app and feature usage and making appropriate adjustments can help ensure the success of a mobile app or justify IT’s investment.
However, apps that take reporting a step further can benefit other parts of the organization as well. By implementing in-app surveys to gauge customer or employee satisfaction, or utilizing message boards and polls for internal brainstorms, you can leverage mobile apps to glean real-time feedback from users in one place, without a costly human resource.
By incorporating these five components, developers and IT buyers will be better equipped to meet both internal demand for mobile apps and expectations of effective enterprise mobility. The resulting goal is that soon mobile will no longer be an overwhelming thought or something pushed to the someday list, but rather an integral component of every organization’s technology stack.
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