Every organisation seems to have mobile apps these days, from your health insurance provider, to your superannuation fund to your favourite retail outfit — which makes the idea of developing one for your own organisation sound pretty easy. The truth is, getting productivity-boosting, user-friendly, secure mobile apps is not guaranteed unless you outline the right requirements for your developer. These tips will help you get mobile apps that keep your workforce churning out the business results instead of calling up the help desk for support.
1. Can you develop with reusable code?
If you can’t decide on one platform for your mobile apps, having them developed with reusable code allows them to work across devices, whether they be iPhone or Android. This option isn’t for every organisation — reusable code can be more expensive —, but if you have a lot of platforms to support, it will likely cost you less in the long-run than it would to develop different mobile apps for different platforms.
2. Can you enable data integration?
Data integration supplies organisations with a unified view of all data across devices and sources. The ability for different business units to view information from other units, such as customer data sitting in the marketing and sales departments, especially when on the go, can help boost the speed of decision-making and business processes. Mobile apps that can be easily integrated with other data sources will continue to show their ROI.
3. How do you secure mobile apps?
Security of mobile apps and devices falls into the realm of your organisation’s IT department, but you’ll have an easier time preventing data loss if your mobile apps are secure to begin with. Areas to cover with your developer include whether passwords are saved, how the mobile apps store data and whether that corporate information is kept in a container away from personal data.
4. Can you help me integrate mobile apps into my organisation?
Integrating mobile apps into your enterprise is not as easy as it seems. You must take into account response times, bandwidth and security. A good developer can provide device integration, connectivity and field service support so your mobile app goes from being a piece of inactive software to an orgnanisation-wide productivity powerhouse. Give them bonus points if they can integrate your mobile app with your back-end systems and software.
5. Where’s the value-add?
What happens after your mobile app’s developed? Can your developer support other mobility functions, such as helping you select and manage a mobile device management or mobile application management tool to secure software and devices?
6. How will you ensure my app is user-friendly?
It might sound like a no-brainer, but we’ve seen many organisations go through the process of developing a mobile app internally only to receive grumbles of usability issues from end users. The concept of an app and its actual functionality are two different things. A good mobile app developer will address concerns such as the ideal screen resolution for your app and features that might detract from your app’s performance.
7. Will you provide lifecycle support and roadmap planning for my mobile app?
Your mobile app is a living, breathing thing that will need to be modernised, maintained, secured and eventually retired. You’ll also want to identify the key business drivers you want your app to align with and the metrics for measuring its performance. An experienced mobile app developer will be able to offer these services in addition to designing and provisioning your app.