Mobile app development includes more than just reaching customers through entertaining, useful, or informative apps. For many B2B companies, it also means keeping people connected to the services and products they need to perform their professional tasks efficiently.
Increasingly, we are seeing more and more apps that relate to business. Whether it’s a mobile version of marketing automation platforms like HubSpot or the convenience of communication services such as Trello or Slack, the interconnected business world has needs that extend beyond candy-themed games and social media apps. Many professionals are on the go, so having useful services available in a mobile capacity is invaluable.
But what about an app specific to your business? It’s possible that the existing apps and services available cannot be bent enough to fit the needs of you and your employees. And that’s where a custom mobile app comes in handy.
So how are work-related apps developed, and why are they so important?
Building An Enterprise App
Enterprise applications are a means for employees to securely access data through a variety of mobile devices. Apps are connected to all of the power of the cloud with speed and convenience that desktops don't allow. Without an adequately developed app, operational efficiency slows.
Why is this important? Operational efficiency gives companies an edge, especially companies in highly competitive industries.
TechCrunch reports that only 20 percent of employees "have access to technology to help them perform their jobs more effectively." They go on to add that industries such as construction, manufacturing, and healthcare are the ones that could benefit the most from workers having easy access to the data and documents they need to perform efficiently.
For example, construction companies can use camera-ready apps that allow workers to upload photos of work sites. Shippers make use of apps that integrate tracking, mapping, and GPS.
With the increased use of SaaS and cloud storage, providing employees with access to data in real-time, using devices that they are already familiar with and have on hand, means that inventory is updated, documents undergo collaboration, and e-commerce shipping status updates are available anywhere and everywhere.
All of this leads to quicker response time for customers and a streamlined workflow.
With so many possibilities, it may seem difficult to know where to start. That's why meeting with a development and design team is the first step in the development process.
The Development Process
Custom enterprise mobile apps are the way to go when it comes to creating efficiency. Employees want to use apps that function in ways they understand and in ways designed to make their jobs easier. This is why we always recommend that you meet with developers during a discovery period.
During this phase of the process, your team and your developers can discuss business workflow and applications. Site editor and developer Eddie Lockhart writes in TechTarget: “...developers should establish a clear purpose for the app and integrate it into users' existing workflows. Don't make users change the way they get work done; just help them be more efficient.”
Efficiency, and not confusion, is a mobile app's optimal goal.
Market analysts predict steep increases in enterprise mobile app development, with Forester analysts quoted saying, "leaders will enable more employees with mobile apps that improve operational tasks."
Even companies with existing IT departments are looking outside their organization for experienced app developers, in part because the app building process requires small-team agility.
Some of the challenges faced by companies when it comes to developing operationally efficient mobile apps include an increased need for:
- agile developers, capable of meeting ever-changing business scenarios
- developers fluent in light-weight scripting to make quick adaptations as needed
- communication between IT departments, developers and business leaders
Though some imply that large companies alone face these challenges, smaller businesses face similar challenges when developing apps that are compatible with legacy and web-based data systems.
Your business is unlike any other. Your needs are unique. Your legacy systems and desktop interface have evolved as your company has evolved. You may be looking to stay competitive in an ever-shifting industry.
If adding an enterprise mobile application seems daunting, find a creative team of developers who are willing to work with you. Knowledgeable specialists with extensive design and development experience integrate their knowledge with your business experience to build mobile applications that are unique and relevant to your business needs.