An organisation has decided it wants to invest in a mobile app for its employees – so what next? This decision is becoming increasingly common in the modern business landscape, as mobility continues to drive productivity, efficiency, and cost savings.
With a growing global workforce of ‘deskless’ employees, apps are actually fast-becoming more of a necessity than something businesses can choose to have or not have. With up to 37% of office-based workers now spending an average of eight working days in a typical month away from their desks, that additional rising demand will also be pushing businesses to invest in mobile.
So, the next decision the business will typically look to make is how to deliver the app it wants. However, there are a number of crucial factors which must be carefully considered, and fully understood, before investing in a technology solution to build an enterprise mobile app. When it comes to Salesforce, these considerations are even more important, thanks to the vast number of partner technologies and platform capabilities within the ecosystem.
Unfortunately, many businesses launch into their efforts to mobilise internal systems without taking the necessary steps in determining the class of technology solution their apps will require – a mistake which inevitably results in the app failing in some capacity.
Start with the business processes which will be mobilised
It’s correct to say that the business will need to evaluate which solution to use, but that’s the end goal of this initial stage. To be able to do this effectively, the business must first evaluate the processes which need to be mobilised. It’s easy to jump ahead and look for exciting buzzwords such as ‘custom UI’ or ‘full offline’ without really considering what that means. But the true value of technology will be achieved by enhancing processes workers carry out every day, the mobile app’s job is simply to enable this.
Once the business is certain what existing or new processes will benefit from being mobilised, and why, the next step should be to look at the criteria of those processes from a use case point of view. This will surface the specific app requirements which will eventually be used to evaluate the technology choices against.
A solution must be chosen based on (meeting) the app requirements
Once the appropriate business processes have been identified, a specific, detailed list of application requirements will be drawn up, and these will be the fundamental demands which will need to be delivered in order for the app to be able to do its job.
The business should cross examine the app requirements with features of solutions that will be needed to build a sufficient mobile app. For example:
- If the app will need to be flexible and updated often, the solution will most likely need an inbuilt versioning engine.
- If network resilience and performance in areas of poor connectivity is a requirement, the solution will need an offline-first architecture.
- If the app will have to perform complex tasks in short periods of time for the user, a custom UI will almost certainly be necessary.
- If the app will need to deliver a high level of value to the business, which it should, then a more complex, sophisticated solution than the typical Salesforce offerings will be most suitable.
Once this analysis has been carried out, it will begin to become very clear what calibre of technology solutions will be capable (and, more importantly, incapable) of delivering the class of app the business needs.
The chosen technology must be able to deliver app success
This is when the thorough evaluation of available technologies should take place. The business will begin by asking if a basic solution such as Salesforce1 will be acceptable, then beyond that look to pre-packaged or point-and-click alternatives. However, organisations should be looking to achieve business outcomes which can have a truly valuable impact, and that will lead them to a much higher class of mobile application. With that will come challenges and risks, but also much more potential for rewards, and so a solution such as an advanced Application Delivery Framework will almost always be the correct option to ensure success.
Businesses must work hard to overcome short-term thinking towards mobility, not accepting a lack of research or planning, because those will often lead down the path to app failure. Of course, there are solutions available which can deliver the required class of app, as long as the business outcomes and requirements are allowed to drive the decision making process.
Approach and understanding cannot be underestimated
Therein lies the key to a successful evaluation. Don’t start with exciting features, start with the processes which, when mobilised effectively, will deliver the most value to the business. This approach must guide the choices made in selecting the most suitable solution.
MobileCaddy delivers sophisticated apps for sophisticated business processes, while removing the cost, reducing the length of time spent on development, and allows the majority of focus to remain on the user experience, providing maximum value to the users. To learn more about how this can be achieved in your organisation, get in touch here.