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Insider Tips: Build an app, change the business

If you’re like many professionals today, you’re striving to make a mark. Be the champion. Change the company. One way to do it is to launch an enterprise app that solves a troublesome business problem. After all, according to Citrix, 63% of enterprises today believe mobility will be the biggest factor in gaining competitive advantage.

So what’s stopping you? Maybe you’ve seen the daunting statistics…

  • 1 in 4 apps downloaded are used just once and then never used again (Source: MobiThinking)
  • Nearly 80% of the apps in Apple’s App Store are basically lifeless (Source: Adjust)
  • Of the $10 billion spent on mobile applications roughly 70% - $7 billion – has been wasted. (Source: MGI Research)

Yes, the risk of developing a mobile app for your company is great, but so is the potential positive impact it could make on your company. Think of the increased productivity you could achieve if you were able to create and launch the right app for your team.

Lucky for you, we’ve got a few insider tips to help you mitigate risk and increase your chances of launching a successful, business-changing app. Follow along to learn how to rise above the common pitfalls encountered in enterprise mobile app projects.

Tip #1: Start at the beginning.

It may seem simple enough, but all too often, app projects begin with a wish list of features or a vision for the interface design. Unfortunately, this isn’t where a project should begin. It’s like picking out paint colors and window treatments before you’ve even designed the house. It focuses on the wrong priorities and sets the project up to fail.

Instead of beginning with the bells and whistles or design details, the most successful app projects start instead by asking the right questions, such as:

  • Why are you going to create an app?
  • What problem does the app solve?
  • Who has the problem that needs to be solved?

These questions are of critical importance because they help you get to the root of the business challenge. They keep you focused on the issues that need to be addressed before diving into the features and functions of the app.

Tip #2: Count your blessings

When you set off to build an app, it’s smart to take stock of the technology, content, IT infrastructure and other resources available to you. What assets like hardware, software, devices, and materials do you already have? The odds are good that you already have access to some pieces that you can use in your mobile app project.

Don’t overlook this tip - it will help you keep your time, dollars and resources in check. Perhaps there are unused resources that you could bring back to life. Maybe there are assets that are a bit outdated that just need to be modified. Or it’s possible that there are items already in use that you could leverage or even optimize through your project.

By identifying assets you already have, you can save yourself from costly purchases that could cause roadblocks, overexert your budget or even derail your project down the road.

Tip #3: Get to know your users

You could design and develop the best app ever known to man, but it will surely fail if your users don’t use it. To ensure this doesn’t happen, get to know your users before you begin developing an app for them.

Now, you may feel like you already know your users quite well. Perhaps you spend a lot of time with them or even used to hold the same position. Maybe you’re part of their team or even their leader. No matter how well you may know your users, this is the time to get to know them even better. Build a stronger relationship through the development of this app.

Ask your users what they really need, spend time discussing their frustrations and thoroughly understanding their challenges. This will help ensure that you build the app on the right foundation. You’ll be better prepared to meet your users’ needs and overcome their challenges.

Additionally, this extra effort will generate buy-in and excitement for the app among your users. They will appreciate what you’re doing to try to help make them more successful and they will be eager to see the app when it’s finished.

Tip #4: Be realistic about roadblocks

As you get ready to start building your app, it’s incredibly important to stop and make sure you think about all the potential roadblocks that could arise. Try to think through every possible hurdle you might encounter as you design and develop your app. What issues could pop up when you launch the app or shortly thereafter? This may feel like a negative exercise, but it helps ensure a positive outcome. It’s better to plan now than be surprised later, right?

Soon you’ll have a long list of possible threats to your project. Don’t stop here! Many people would take a look at that list, become overwhelmed and look for other ways to make a mark on their company. But not you. This is part of what will make you the champion. You’ll use this list to help ensure the success of your project.

Once you have your list of possible hurdles, start thinking through how you will leap over them. Don’t get bogged down in the details, just keep it simple. Keep your eyes focused on primary tactics, resources and goals for overcoming each obstacle. This activity is worth the time and effort (and anxiety), as it will help you stay the path toward creating a winning app for your company.

Tip #5: Prioritize purpose

When approaching an enterprise app project, it’s incredibly important to keep your priorities in order. If you don’t, you are in danger of creating an app that lacks purpose. To be the champion, you’ve got to solve the big business problems that are holding your users back.

Go back to the discussions you had with your users and be sure to incorporate their greatest needs and help overcome their challenges before you add any other items to your wish list of features. Address the issues that will have greatest immediate impact first. This will help ensure your app has purpose, which will, in turn, ensure its success.

Tip #6: Iterate

A masterpiece is never finished, at least not when it comes to apps. Your job is not over when you rollout your app. Once you make it available to your users, it’s time to shift from product development to product improvement.

Gather feedback and use it to make the app better. Talk to your users about the app. Does it work for them? How do they like it? How could it be better? Have they found any flaws? Is it easy to use?

Going back to what we learned in Tip #3, it’s incredibly important to know your users and how they’re using the app (or if they’re even using it at all). Be sure your users are aware of your commitment to serving them through the app. Show them how important their feedback is to you by applying it to better, stronger and smarter iterations of the app.

Taking on an enterprise app project is quite the challenge. If you do it right, though, you could champion an effort that makes a positive and lasting impression on your company. Manage the project strategically and carefully. Keep your users in mind and your priorities in check. Leverage existing resources and look ahead to possible roadblocks. Commit to applying feedback to continuous improvement. Work carefully and purposefully and you will develop a tool that could change the way your team members work. You could increase productivity, improve efficiencies and even achieve greater revenue. It’s all possible and you could be the one to make it happen. 

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