Matt Hunt, business development manager at enterprise app developer Apadmi, provides advice as to how to develop a successful enterprise app.
Research suggests that 25 per cent of businesses will have an enterprise app store within the next three years and enterprise apps are expected to generate around $40 billion of revenue by 2016.
We have seen steady growth in the demand for enterprise apps over the last three years but not hitting the mark can be costly with apps that aren’t fit for purpose, or that employees just don’t want to use. Here are my top ten tips for developing successful enterprise apps.
Define the purpose
An app should be developed with a specific purpose in mind. Jumping on the app bandwagon just for the sake of it means your app will fail to gain adoption, fail to add value and is unlikely to be used, resulting in wasted company budget. Define what the purpose of the app is, how it will improve the business and how it will support the systems you already have in place.
Employees are people too
The ‘rise of the app’ within the consumer space has massively increased user expectations, setting the benchmark that enterprise solutions must reach if they are to become an essential business tool. Employees bring their experience of using apps in their personal life to their workplace. Businesses should pay careful consideration to both user interface and user experience. Having employees involved in design and testing brings a greater chance of acceptance and success.
Not all users are the same
The chances are that you will have to target different user groups spanning different departments and different levels of functionality – which in turn can probably be split down into further sub groups.
Gain a clear view of the different roles, the functionality needed and what data should be accessed by each set of users to develop an app that caters for varied user requirements.
Consider device support
Devices are different –and even small differences can create big headaches when developing and supporting an app. It is likely that you will have to support multiple combinations of hardware, software and operating system variants. To help with this ensure your app developer provides a device support matrix that achieves maximum coverage and uses efficient testing.
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- The rise of mobile
Select the right technology
The choice of technology is subjective and can provoke passionate debate. Time should be set aside at the beginning of a project to establish an agreed technology strategy. The choice of technology may seem be obvious but review the options to make sure that you are building your app on the best foundations.
Security and IT policy
Mobile phones are inherently insecure devices – they fall out of pockets, get left in taxis and are sometimes stolen. This means that the device is an insecure part of your security chain and any mobile app dealing with sensitive information must take IT and security policies into account. You may also need to revise these policies so that they are fit for mobile working.
The app is only half the picture
The likelihood is that your app is going to have to integrate with an existing IT infrastructure. For the app to be a success it is essential that you ensure your existing systems are prepared for mobile integration.
Use a capable partner
You may have a compelling idea and a detailed brief but, if you are new to application development, making it real can seem daunting. One of the questions you need to answer is, do you have the capability and expertise in house to design and create the app, or do you need to bring in a partner to undertake some or all of the project? If you reach the conclusion that you need to outsource, make sure you work with a reputable and capable partner with experience in enterprise app development.
Test test test
Involve the test team early in the development process. It allows them to understand the scope of the project, highlight any issues, provide input, and start to define test plans. This can massively reduce problems when the application is nearing completion and ensure it can be launched without a hitch.
Completing the app is just the start
There’s a common misconception that once the app has been completed then most of the work is done. This is where you can fall at the final hurdle. Plan for how the app will be adopted internally, staff training, maintaining and updating and you’ll have a tool that will be an attribute to your business in the long term.