Building an enterprise app: tips for success and the pitfalls for getting it wrong

GUEST OPINION: Throughout the pandemic, apps became an essential tool for organizations to conduct their business, for both internal employees and with customer interactions.

Such was the popularity of app usage over this time that installations increased 17.3% year-on-year in 2020, and downloads of business apps such as Teams and Zoom shot up by 62 million in just the first week of March 2020 alone.

Just as businesses are developing more apps to connect with customers and employees remotely, the general public is also becoming more aware and accepting of using apps as part of their day-to-day lives. Usage rates of food delivery apps (like Uber or Deliveroo) rose to all-time highs over the past 18 months, and people have incorporated QR code check-in apps into their daily lives when shopping or eating out.

The demand and necessity for app development has created the perfect storm, with the fast development of apps becoming important, while the stakes for getting it right are ever higher. Within enterprises, many businesses now rely on mobile technology to drive the success of their company, and mobile apps are playing a leading role. Companies are creating mobile versions of enterprise solutions to customise their workflows and respond to market demands; However, they are getting bogged down by rising development costs and productivity interruptions.

Developing a custom application for a business can take as long as five months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet in the end, businesses can end up with a clunky, slow and possibly non-functioning app that will cause workforce inefficiencies across the entire organisation. Getting it wrong clearly costs companies more than just the time and money invested; They risk a frustrated workforce and customers, productivity loss and falling behind their competitors.

Because of these reasons, today’s businesses only have a few apps and are starved for custom line-of-business (LOB) applications to streamline their important workflows. This discrepancy, the difference between how many apps a business wants, and what they are able to deliver, is often referred to as the ‘the app gap’.

To avoid such a scenario, businesses need to find a way to develop apps quickly while ensuring they will meet the requirements for the desired functionalities, have a user-friendly design, adequate data security and the possibility for future updates. Building apps in-house can cause strain on IT departments as they are tasked with a complex objective, often without having experience in building a robust workable application that is critical for the running of the company. On the other hand, freelance app developers will not have the necessary understanding of the business requirements.

An organisation’s app is now a flagship touchpoint that heavily influences the perception that both employees and customers have towards a business. An app isn’t just a tool; it’s integral to the success of a company.

The solution is for companies to focus on their core competencies and empower their IT departments to build the apps their colleagues need by using a reliable cross-platform, such as a rapid app development solution. This eliminates the need for coding and provides a quick, simple and affordable way of meeting the demand for new apps within the organisation. With the ability to drag and drop key app components onto a blank canvas, virtually any employee can become an app designer.

With the right tool, businesses can prototype, iterate and deploy apps in minutes or hours — not days or weeks. In addition, a well-engineered app maker will simplify operations by enabling easy app distribution to the company’s iOS and Android devices and support data exports to a wide variety of backend systems.

Organizations that achieve business mobility and integrate operations with their IoT infrastructure will inevitably overtake those that spend months and hundreds of thousands of dollars developing a custom application that’s difficult to modify, or one which is only partially integrated to the IoT architecture. To keep up with today’s mobility demands, speed, flexibility and adaptability are key. And for those who are yet to build an app strategy into their business plan, there’s still time, but not much of it.


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