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5 Recommendations for Delivering Mobile Applications with True Value

“Enterprises have realised that to deliver true value from their mobility initiatives they must mobilize their internal operations and customer interactions” (http://www.anz.idc.asia/)

The mobility market is maturing and it is no longer enough to simply have a mobile app to be ahead of your competitors. To create significant advantage, you need to develop mobile solutions that make it easier for your employees to do their job – whether that be giving them the information they need to service customers better, reducing paperwork or enabling them to complete internal tasks on the run.

In this blog I’m going to share with you my top five recommendations to ensure your mobile application delivers true value for your business.

1. Determine the business needs, then rank them

A mobile application won’t solve all your business problems on its own so it’s important to manage your stakeholders’ expectations from the outset. Take some time early on to identify the problems you are looking to solve, rank them in order of importance and then agree on what are the key objectives of the solution. This will help you to scope the project and plan a development timeline around the objectives that will deliver value quickly.

2. Have an integration strategy

To mobilise business processes your mobile application will have to connect to one or more downstream systems. Determining the data you need and how you’re going to get it will be critical to the success of your solution.

Where you need to integrate with multiple systems, I recommend using middleware (Enterprise Service Bus or API Gateway). This will put a layer between your application and downstream systems that will provide the following benefits:

  • Standardised communication between systems
  • Being able to change business processes outside of the application
  • Data caching mechanisms that will optimise application performance

With singular or simple integrations it’s ok to utilise web services, provided you’ve had a think about the longer-term implications. This may be a temporary step as part of an agile approach to integration.

3. Keep the User Interface simple

Not all users are created equal. Making the user interface as intuitive and easy-to-use as possible is the best way to ensure all of your users will embrace your mobile application.

There are a number of design elements you should prioritise to optimise the usability of your solution including:

  • Consistency of page layout and colour use
  • Attractiveness
  • Responsiveness

You can also apply human interface guidelines for different operating systems, such as iOS, to ensure your application is consistent with other applications your users are already familiar with.

4. Find your internal champions

Seek out at the individuals in your business who get excited about change and make them your application champions. A limited soft launch with your champions is a great way to pick up any issues that may be a barrier to adoption before it’s too late. It also has the added benefit of creating super users in the field who can help and encourage other team members during the early days of implementation.

Your internal champions can also provide with you invaluable feedback and ideas for your product roadmap that will further the use and benefits of your application.

5. Embrace ‘relevant’ innovation

You don’t have to jump on every new tech trend, but it is worth considering adding features that will bring a bit of ‘cool’ to your application. We’ve recently incorporated Touch ID into some client applications, this small addition allows them to meet stringent security requirements whilst making it super easy for their users to login.

To create a mobile application that is truly valuable to your business, you have to create a solution that your users simply don’t want to work without. By applying these five principles to our applications we’ve been able to develop solutions that our users love to use and as a result, are driving real results for our clients.

Author Details
Brett Parslow
Principal Consultant - Applications
Brett is a solution architect with over 18 years’ IT experience across a range of industries including aviation, government and fleet. Brett specialises in the design and implementation of service-oriented architecture and mobile-enabled solutions. Brett has led multiple enterprise mobility projects for our clients and led the design and development of Intelligent Pathways' proprietary mobile applications, Jetstream and ClipForms.
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