And what is the first thought on how to go about this? We need a Mobile App.
I mean it’s obvious, right?
And of course the answer is yes. And no.
Yes, if we think of an App as a container. A container to deliver our processes, data and functionality to our employees, our customers, our partners etc.
However we need to think about value. And value is a moving and sometimes unknown target. Opportunities, markets, technology, products, services, everything is on the move for better or for worse, and at what a pace. An App, a single purpose non changing app, is not going to cut it here.
Get Started Already!
But we do need to start and the best way is often to start with an App. No doubt this single app will bring value, but really its purpose is to educate the organisation on the differences that mobile IT has to its desk bound brethren. As well as start to open up eyes and kick off the excitement and ideas that are suddenly possible and achievable (in cost and technology) once process, data and logic can be put in the pocket of everyone who needs it, whenever they need it.
The journey, even if it’s not thought about in that way to begin with, often starts with a paper based processed being digitised and mobilised. Think of this as version one. And then we deploy. And sit back and wait for the praise. But instead we get told what is missing, how frustrating it is to use, how slow it has made the process. Do not be down beaten. This is excellent news and, even better, this is our first feedback loop.
Just think, if the app did all these things that are being suggested, how good it could be. The org gets the data, the speed, the integrity, the consistency – and the user, once these suggestions are incorporated, gets a tool that makes them, and by extension the organisation more successful.
So now our ‘we need an App’ has turned into ‘we need an App and then we quickly need a second version’. Wow, that one app decision went out the window quickly. And if we are not prepared, so did our budget or our ability to make good on these new requirements.
Of course what happens next is that after 6 months of version two of the app, especially if we have incorporated a feedback process into the actual app, we will have a stack of new features and time saving/value creating amendments to make. Build another App? Well that would be costly. Version the app because we chose to build continuous integration in at the outset….no debating needed on this.
We do not have the time, resources or finance to get this wrong if we are to really tap into the rich rewards that mobilizing our organisation can produce. This story will repeat out, the only difference is if it was expected and embraced.
As Marc Andreessen stated a few years back and Forbes recently re-iterated every company is either a software company or is powering their strategy through IT innovation. And Mobile is notching the game up again. If you are not an always on, always ready, truly mobile organisation then you can bet you are going to be ignored by the people that matter most or beaten by a company who is.
So I’d like to finish with the following points:
Do start with an App
Be prepared for, but better still embrace, the fact that you will need to change, update and enhance your App on a regular, but value creating, basis.
Think about the delivery of the app. This must work offline. Be able to work on multiple devices (that you have today and may have tomorrow) and must be simple to deploy and monitor. App delivery is like a switch. When it is turned off so is the value it delivers.
Ask the difficult questions. What about tomorrow. What if we changes devices. What if we want to make a small change in a few weeks. What if we really don’t know what we want but we’ve got to start somewhere. What will be the true cost of the path we are about to set down.
And then let your mind go wild. What if you could deliver all the power of your organisation’s knowledge to every single person that needed it, whenever they needed it. What then could be achieved!
To learn more about the App Building process, why versioning is so important, what continuous integration means and why you should monitor every transaction and interaction made by your mobile users please contact Justin directly for a discussion firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively sign up for a demo below.
If you are a developer and want to start building offline apps today please visit our dedicated developer site at http://developer.mobilecaddy.net
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