5 Fatal Enterprise App Development Blunders And How To Avoid Them
Enterprise mobility is the biggest area of focus for Australian CIOs in 2016.
Businesses are finally grasping that mobile applications are a profit centre for improved productivity, customer engagement and risk mitigation.
And yet, the adoption of any new technology comes with unknown territory for businesses, and we are seeing enterprises experience the same shortcomings again and again.
This post will shed light on the 5 most common mistakes enterprises are making with app development.
Good news: All of them are avoidable.
For a thorough analysis of the tactics being used by Australian businesses to see positive ROI on mobile initiatives within 2 years, read this guide.
Mistake #1: Building an app without a specific problem in mind
Now that mobile is making waves across every industry, it’s inevitable that every business wants a piece of the action.
But this has sadly led to a lot of businesses building ‘me too’ products because they feel like they SHOULD have a mobile or web application.
These (expensive) failures reflect the wider trend of Australian businesses investing in mobile initiatives with little or no clear vision for what they expect mobility will enable them to do differently and better in the future.
What they end up doing is just rebuilding their website for mobile. You don’t need an app for this — you need a mobile responsive website!
Without a specific function or business problem that the app is uniquely tailored to, these apps are doomed to become unused by their target audience.
80% of enterprise applications that fail to engage the users they were built for!
How to avoid
Validate your idea by asking yourself if your business has any problems that would be BEST solved using functionalities that are uniquely mobile, including:
- GPS location services for use by remote workers or asset tracking
- Portable cameras and voice recording
- Real-time updates
Evaluate which smartphone feature(s) would have the most impact on the enterprise.
What data does your business have that could be repackaged and mobilised for easy access by employees or customers?
Mistake #2: Adding too many features
Enterprise applications often require hosting a large amount of data as well as integration with existing backend systems.
Where many enterprises fail is by trying to cram too many features into an app.
What inevitably happens is the app is cluttered, clunky, slow to load and difficult for the user to navigate.
User experience is just as critical to an enterprise application’s success as it is to a consumer application like Uber or Facebook.
According to a 2014 mobile enterprise study, 97% of respondents cite ‘ease of use’ as the main deciding factor in choosing an enterprise application.
Tacking on extra features throughout the app development process also inevitably delays the launch date and makes the project go over budget.
How to avoid
The most cost-effective way to deliver an app that is guaranteed to engage users is by first releasing a Minimum Viable Product.
This is a core-features-only product that is released into the market, and then user behaviour is monitored and feedback gained for valuable insights when developing version 2 of the application.
If you are thinking of implementing an extra feature into your enterprise application, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why will this update/feature make the application more useful and beneficial to the user?
- Can the effect of the feature be easily measured?
- What are the time-frames involved in building this feature?
- Does the feature over complicate the application and risk users leaving?
- What are the risks involved in this new feature?
- Is this feature unnecessary?
- Have you collected enough data from your users to say that this is what they collectively want and need? In other words, is the data statistically significant?
3. Not setting formal metrics to measure the impact on overall business goals
Accenture found that only 12% of enterprises using mobile as a strategy currently have formal metrics and reporting mechanisms in place to assess the effectiveness of these initiatives.
Without KPIs and regular analysis of your app’s data (user engagement, quality of app performance, etc) departments struggle to prove the ROI of mobile applications.
Without this proof, mobile is unable to get a seat at the leadership table, and goes ignored by higher level leadership when it comes to allocating budgets needed to maintain and improve the application.
Lack of allocated resources is one of the most reported obstacles to mobile implementation in enterprises.
How to avoid
Commit to reporting on at least a quarterly basis in order to maintain recognition of the value your mobile application is adding to the business.
The rigorous and ongoing use of analytics is crucial for determining priorities in this area.
Of course, every enterprise application serves a different purpose, so it is difficult to suggest specific metrics that will be relevant to all businesses.
Ultimately, the best metrics for measuring an enterprise applications success will stem from the overall performance goals of the company.
Check out this detailed Framework For Measuring The Cost And ROI Of Enterprise Applications, and then consult with your app development company and wider organisation to decide which metrics will form the backbone of your analysis and reporting.
See also: Metrics To Measure Your App’s Success
4. Forgetting about deployment and integration strategies
Application development is highly future-oriented, yet many enterprises don’t reflect that in their organisational structures and processes!
Especially if the application you’re developing poses a significant change to existing processes, businesses that don’t support its introduction with change management andintegration with existing data and back-end infrastructure find that mobile apps become siloed and don’t add value to the entire business as a whole.
How to avoid
Simple — Think about deployment strategies before you need to!
A clear decision needs to be made as to whether the application will require integration with existing digital systems, or whether a standalone solution may be more suitable.
For example, BlueScope’s initiative for the steel industry, the SteelDrive mobile application, is a standalone solution for every stakeholder in the steel transport industry. It is supported by a web admin portal that allows managers to monitor users’ app inputs, send real time notifications and quickly update the resources available on the app.
If the intended user of your application is an employee, you need to consider:
- The app’s distribution source
- Management tool
- Usage policies
- Training and support (if applicable)
If the intended user of your application is a consumer, you need to consider:
- App store publishing requirements
- Marketing and acquisition strategies
This will ensure the smooth release of your application.
5. Thinking of mobile as a bolt on
Mobile strategies that see a positive ROI within 2 years of launch are enterprise-wide.
That is, there aren’t separate strategies for individual business units or functions.
Businesses that see mobile devices as just “another screen” to deliver their current desktop applications and processes never make waves.
They might get used occasionally, but they don’t make a significant or lasting impact.
How to avoid
Stop thinking small about mobile strategy.
Mobile isn’t just a small extension on existing projects or applications, but an opportunity to directly improve structural inefficiencies or increase sales.
If your business is considering developing an enterprise application, be sure to consider how widespread this adoption can be made.
- Is your application easily localised for use in different cities or countries down the line? This will make market expansion less resource intensive in the future.
- Is your application scalable for use by millions of users?
- Is there an opportunity to ‘whitelabel’ the application for use by other companies in other industries? This effectively removes any self-branding from the application, creating the opportunity for a totally new profit centre!
With the rush by enterprises in the last 5 years to develop applications that will engage customers and employees alike, we’re constantly hearing the same mistakes.
To truly capitalise on the mobile revolution, enterprises need to thinking strategically about how applications can add long term value to business goals.
For more information on how a mobile strategy may benefit your business, please click this link to organise an initial consultation.