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10 enterprise mobile app development best practices

Ben Obear
September 17, 2015

As the world of technology continues to expand, businesses of all kinds are finding new and unique ways to take advantage of the tools at their disposal. It is no secret that the PC revolutionized the business world, followed shortly after by the internet and all of the necessary advantages that it provides today. In 2016, the most recent and useful technology making its appearance in the business world are enterprise mobile apps, which are leaving a big footprint all across the globe.

Enterprise mobile apps are user-focused software, created by companies to be used by their own employees within the field, with uses for everyone from sales, to maintenance, to delivery personnel. Unlike the vast majority of mobile apps created today, enterprise apps are not created for customer use, but are used internally to streamline processes, manage data, and organize tasks. By putting mobile technology at its center, it improves long-distance communication, digital connectivity, access to information, and anything else a business could want.

However, overloading your workforce with unnecessary software isn’t a good plan for any business, and so understanding how to best take advantage of this technology within your company is crucial. Here are a few best practice tips that will help you get from start to finish in developing your own enterprise mobile apps.

1. Understand what's important

Get a clear picture of what kinds of apps your employees will use on a daily basis. The whole point is responding to their needs, and this means getting an in-depth insight into what kinds of struggles and challenges they face regularly. For smaller businesses, this might be a relatively straightforward task, but for larger companies it might mean investing time connecting with your workforce.

2. Focus on user experience

Enterprise apps should be easy to use so that they can become part of a workforce’s everyday routine. Apps that are cumbersome or confusing will be left to the wayside, representing a wasted investment. Consider the more common apps you use in your personal or professional life on a daily basis, and what makes them so appealing. Chances are, they have a simple and attractive interface that makes them easy and fun to use.

3. Minimize app sizes

Keep app sizes small, so that they don’t take up precious hard drive space on the user’s device. Especially if your work force makes use of multiple different apps for their job, you don’t want to force them to eat all of their device’s memory on a few pieces of software. In any case, useful apps are streamlined and nimble, offering the core functions that are necessary and nothing else.

4. Incorporate smart sensors

As IoT tech continues to take off, think about how you can incorporate some of the more common sensors imbedded in mobile devices today, such as compass, gyro, and GPS which can augment your apps information spread in useful ways. Of course, it depends on the specifics of your business, but it always pays to think outside of the box when app development.

5. Use adaptive design

Use versatile layouts that are compatible with mobile devices, tablets, and laptops alike. It is hard to know when and where your workers will need to take their new digital tools, and so making an adaptable layout allows them to use it exactly when they need to.

6. Don’t forget branding

Keeping your enterprise app consistent with the rest of your brand is just as important as it is for any other product. It might be tempting for some to offer a bare-bones app experience, but a little extra flair can be incorporated without taking up too much extra space or other resources.

7. Offer focused content

If the purpose of your app is to provide on the spot information to the user, sometimes overloading them with too much data can be counterproductive. Maybe a time display, map, calendar, and twitter feed sound nice in theory, but when it comes time to fit them all onto a single display, you might rethink your choices. Find what pieces of information are most important and focus on those, leaving other aspects out.

8. Plan a detailed training program

All employees will have different levels of technology literacy, and so expecting all of them to “get it” right away may be asking too much. It is crucial that all employees fully understand your app so that they can take full advantage of it when it matters most. Keep in touch with employees during the training process to ensure that they are absorbing all of the necessary information.

9. Consider iterative development

This means developing apps and creating updates in cyclical patterns, which allows for user feedback and a more effective product overall. It is often difficult to get a design right the first time, and while an experienced developer can go a long way in this respect, iterative development means you can respond to the inevitable criticisms and concerns as needed.

10. Use an enterprise app store

Take advantage of enterprise authentication, data encryption, management sensitive information, and other security protocols which will keep your data protected, even when in use in multiple remote locations. It is an increasingly important concern as the web becomes larger and more diversified, and keeping your assets protected is a must.

Prioritizing app development is important, for the companies that have the resources to do so. As the push toward high-tech advancements continues forward, IT teams are getting stretched thin, meaning lower quality apps, or else app needs that go unmet completely. Catalyzing business growth by prioritizing these areas is a good way to get on track, and start a trend that will carry through to the future. For smaller operations, outsourcing app development is often a good option that can save major stress on your staff resources, as well as ensure a high quality product. In truth, businesses of all sizes can benefit from the experience and skill of top app designers, allowing them to focus on the business they know best, while leaving the professionals to their work.

Now that you are armed with all the necessary knowledge to get started on your own enterprise app, taking advantage is just a matter of implementation!

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Ben Obear
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