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5 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Planning Mobility Development

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With Mobility becoming the center of focus for the CIOs and CTOs of top organisation, the technology uptake is moving on in leaps and bounds. Mobility focused enterprises are disrupting the way business is done, in a traditional sense, and are better placed to capture mind share of consumers with seamless experience, and market share with enhanced productivity of sales force. This has led to a clutter of developmental processes, which is becoming a challenge to keep up with.

Following list of tips and tricks, and dos and don’ts will help you breakdown the seemingly complex process into fundamentals so that you can pitch the next great mobility-driven business process to your management, while oozing with confidence.

Setting up your Mobile App for success (or failure)

There are a few areas where business analyts and product managers falter alike. Some of the most common mistakes are –

  • Ignoring backend development/infrastructure needs
  • Misunderstanding the differences between apps and websites
  • Failing to consider the cross-department involvement required for delivery and ongoing success
  • Not having enough marketing budget to promote content and educate customers about the mobile app
  • Not having a plan for updates to meet customer demands after the initial app launch

Let’s dive a bit further in each of the above points –

Ignoring backend development/infrastructure and integration needs

This is perhaps the most common mobility app budgeting mistake people make. Its easy to assume that the application in question consists only of the screens which a user will interface with on their devices. But it cannot be farther way from reality. User Interface is a small subset of a larger system which makes the app work.

There are a number of parts which work behind the scene, and which are easy to overlook: the content management system (CMS); the backend infrastructure APIs to interact with core systems of the business and third-party integrations (push messaging, data analytics, social integrations, chat and messaging functions). Let’s deep dive a bit in each.

CMS: Content Management System is a platform which allows you to push content from a controlled environment to your consumer-facing application, in real-time. It sits in between the user engagement layer and the core systems. Most of the CMS’ today offer an array of automated workflows which makes the life easy for the content moderator, the go-to-market timelines seldom lead to an eye-roll.

For mobility development, mobile-specific CMS will ensure that you delivered right mobile experience to your end-users. Also, you want to avoid republishing the app as an update, and because of a parameter change in the API settings, but ensure that such changes are managed over-the-fly, without becoming a hassle for the end user.

Backend Infrastructure: Your mobile application will need to communicate with a server to handle actions that cannot be managed on-device. Some examples of these services includes authentication, business integrations like booking appointments or requesting updates on status, business processes, notifications and messages, and much more.

While, we’re sure that you would have considered these core services during project scoping, you should really think of them from a mobile context. The way information flows from a server to a mobile application is different from a desktop application. Unless these services are developed for a true-mobility use case, end-user experience will suffer.

Third-party Integrations: Your organisation would want to avoid reinventing the wheel, when it comes to point-specific problems, and if there are good solutions already available in the market. Push notifications, Analytics, Authorization and Authentication are just a few items that should be considered.

Many make the mistake of considering only the front-end when determining a mobile app budget. By doing this, they are ignoring the largest cost factors, which typically lie within the backend infrastructure and integrations that aren’t immediately visible.

Thinking Mobile Apps and Websites Aren’t Much Different

Mobility-based Applications are inherently a complex undertaking, more so than websites. Not only do apps require the backend infrastructure, many smaller components need work together in order to provide an expected result. Ensuring that all of the moving parts – the front-end, CMS, third party services, the backend – work together seamlessly requires a lot of time and effort; much more so than a website. To top it off, mobile applications are expected to deliver useful information even in absence of an active internet connection. Mobile apps are a different breed of technology than websites. This may seem like a no-brainer, but in order to understand the technical complexity involved in a mobile application, its important to delve deep when breaking down the technical complexity behind mobile applications and to understand how they communicate with services and networks. Many times, the infrastructure required to support true mobility experience will have to built grounds-up. Existing and legacy systems would have to be enhanced or recreated to deliver a proper mobile solution. And it will require both time and effort.

Ignoring Cross-Department Involvement

Every function of business is likely to be impacted, hopefully for the better, with drive towards mobility. The way teams work and add value to the business need to be understood with empathy to ensure cohesion across different channels in order to make the app successful.

IT, Engineering, Marketing, Sales, Finance, Customer Service and any other team in a typical organisation draws from an ongoing information flow. Introducing a new methodology will mean a disruption in the existing flow. Surely, many will champion this new wave but some may resist this new learning curve. It becomes imperative that teams are consulted, brought on the same page, and are kept informed about the development and what it entails for their respective functions.

Lack of Marketing Budget

Marketing and sales are drivers of adoption of new initiatives; more so when the initiative is a consumer-facing one, or pertaining to the sales process. User acquisition and growth in a highly competitive market, will depend on the efforts put in to promote the application and make it successful. Sadly, during the hoo-hah of the development process, this important cog in the wheel is often parked aside for later.

Defining the metrics, and the growth curve your organisation wants to achieve for your upcoming mobile application should be done at a an early stage of engagement. The amount of investment required to see healthy levels of adoption will determine the overall outlay of the project. Many times organisations miss out on performing this exercise, which gives way to dissonance resulting from all the hard work teams and partners put in creating a robust mobile solution, and not seeing a proper uptake by end-users.

Goals like amount of revenue generated or a number of app downloads in the first 6 months of launch, are essential, but the wherewithal in terms of marketing budgets needs to be commensurate with these goals. A goal to achieve 30,000 users in the first quarter may be unlikely, if there is no promotion plan in place. It could be difficult to put hard numbers in the beginning of the development process, but without a plan in place, your organisation could get stuck with a good mobile application but without people actually using it, or worse, even knowing about it.

No proper evolution roadmap

The mobility solution you working on for months with rigor, just went live, and its time to uncork the champagne. Great, you deserve it. But what next? Do you have a plan to ensure that your hardwork in form of a mobile application will keep up with rapidly evolving needs to modern consumer?

Just like any other product, Its important to have a well-written vision document ready for any mobility solution. Understanding the changing trends in the market, and keeping an eye on evolving user behavior is a very important part of sustained success.

A written vision map, with broken-down in achievable release plans will keep you ahead of the curve, and also help you in avoiding the ‘fit-it-forget-it” pitfall. In order to stay competitive in the rapidly evolving market, the future developments should be accounted for when planning an annual budget. Again, the numbers may not be exact at the outset, but developing a longer-term strategy with a product roadmap will give you a good idea of the effort and resources required.

#MobileApplication #MobilityDevelopment #InformationTechnology #DigitalMarketing

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