Though application development for the mobile market has traditionally been in the gaming and entertainment fields, today’s fast-paced business world is also embracing mobile apps. In December 2016, business apps were the second-most popular category in the Apple app store and nearly half of small businesses plan to have a mobile app by 2017.
As the B2B mobile application market continues to expand, many businesses are now facing the question of whether or not a mobile app should be a part of their business model. With such a robust app market, the need for quality, well-managed apps is paramount.
But before companies embark on the mobile app journey, they must first make important decisions regarding the design, development and maintenance of an app. Having a well-thought-out application from conception to execution will result in a more successful end product. Some critical questions to consider include:
1 – What is the end goal of this app? What are you trying to accomplish?
Are you trying to lure in new customers? Launch a new product? Streamline work for your employees? Answering these questions will help guide your decision making in regards to a stand-alone mobile app. Having a clear, thought out answer to this question will set the tone for your mobile app strategy and help guide important decisions on your journey.
2 – Is the app business critical that employees will depend on?
Will this app help employees streamline communications and workflow? How will this app integrate into the existing business and help improve current processes? Taking the time to thoughtfully answer these questions will help you decide what kind of mobile app you can build. Mobile apps have a place in a wide variety of industries, but figuring out exactly the purpose you’ll want yours to serve will influence how you go about the mobile app developing process.
3- What is the current problem(s) it will solve?
It doesn’t make sense to have an app simply for the sake of having it. Mobile is an incredibly powerful platform that can catapult businesses into new heights, but it must be done right. In a competitive market, your mobile app must serve a strong purpose that will resonate with users. What problem will this app solve? Communication among employees? Tracking of materials and shipments? Answering these types of questions is one of the single most important things to do when deciding whether or not a mobile app is a right choice for your business.
4- How will it streamline or improve the current process or expedite a new process?
Building a stronger brand, connecting better with customers, standing out from the competition are all ways a mobile app can streamline or improve current processes for your business. Will having an app help make these things happen for your business? Knowing the answer to this question can help guide your decision making regarding a mobile app.
5- What should the app be able to do (i.e. functionality)?
This is a big one. Functionality is key for mobile app success, what functions would your app have? Will it provide a way for workers to communicate clearly with one another with no need for a long paper trail? Will it allow managers to track employee hours and projects? Is a mobile app the best way to streamline this functionality for your business? Think hard about how a mobile app can make a positive change in your business to help you decide whether it’s the right strategy.
6- What features will it need?
Maybe an app would be great for your business but you’re not sure what features you want. A good UI design, simple and easy to maneuver interface and navigation, analytics and offline capabilities are just some features you might consider for your mobile app. Thinking critically about the features that will be needed for your app to perform well can influence your mobile app strategy.
7- Is the complexity of creating and managing a mobile application worth the specific benefits an app can provide?
Creating a mobile app is no small task. One that comes with a cost and a calculated risk, but also with great potential for your business. Carefully considering your reasons for creating your app can help guide your plans for app maintenance as well. Apps are living, breathing pieces of technology that need proper mobile application support to thrive and having a well-thought plan can help make that a success.
8- Will budget allow for ongoing mobile app maintenance and support?
Creating an app and moving on isn’t an option if you want to ensure that your financial investment in the development isn’t lost. Apps must be constantly and consistently monitored and managed to ensure a positive user experience. Application performance is an issue for 76% of organizations, will your business be able to afford mobile app maintenance costs?
You must determine if the budget is expansive enough to account for ongoing maintenance of your mobile app. Maybe a mobile app monitoring service can be the right option for your company. Once you’ve taken these costs into account and determined whether or not you can move forward, you can make an informed decision regarding the direction your company will take with its mobile app.
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In the end, there is a myriad of reasons for why having a mobile application can serve your business well. A well-designed, well-functioning, easy-to-use app can truly take your business to the next level. But to get there, thinking critically about your mobile application approach is a must. This will help determine ongoing design and development requirements and assist in planning for the full scope of the desired project.
Knowing the exact goals of the application will help determine which maintenance plan is right for you. If this app will be business critical that employees will depend on, for example, a comprehensive ongoing mobile app monitoring will ensure that it works correctly. An external mobile app maintenance partner can help companies find success with its mobile apps by eliminating incidents through a proactive approach.