Technology is advancing at a breakneck pace.
Industries from healthcare to insurance are being disrupted by digital technologies, with many companies using new innovations to enhance their competitiveness and drive growth.
Unable to sit still, established organizations are recognizing digital transformation as the answer to surviving and thriving in the digital era. Enterprise mobile apps are a key piece of the jigsaw and have become popular as a way to improve internal processes and reduce costs, as well as to enhance external customer experience and increase revenue.
Not every app is a success though, and the consequences of getting it wrong can be tough on the business. Here, we take a look at eight common pitfalls that enterprises face when developing mobile apps, and show you how to avoid them.
What is enterprise digital transformation and why is it important?
Digital transformation is the use of technology to fundamentally change the way a business operates. It is a chance to reimagine business processes, customer experiences, and organizational culture to meet changing market requirements and deliver value.
As technology has evolved, so have the mindsets of customers and employees who now expect digital solutions as standard. By integrating these across your company, you can allow customers and employees to access data and processes through the digital realm, driving the business forward and protecting your competitive position.
Despite widespread acceptance among executives that digital transformation is necessary, shockingly, around 84% of companies fail in their efforts. This is not only costly, but can also be a source of embarrassment for the organization, leading to bad PR and the loss of existing and potential customers. Rebuilding your public image in a digital world can be difficult, so getting it right is essential.
Pitfalls of enterprise mobile application development
When building your enterprise mobile app, certain key factors will increase your chances of success. Listen to users about their needs, test your solutions, listen to feedback, focus on delivering strong UX and UI, and get buy-in from your management team on the importance of successful digital transformation.
Having said that, some common pitfalls seem to crop up time and again. Since knowing what they are can go a long way towards helping you avoid them, let’s take a look:
1. Feature overload
An important rule when creating enterprise mobile apps is to keep things simple. The application should have one main purpose, so avoid the temptation to load it with features that are beyond what is required.
A poorly designed app will not only be difficult to maintain, but may suffer from issues with initial demand, such as long load times and backend crashes. Overloading the application with features also leads to unnecessarily long development times, which in turn increases costs. In addition, large apps are harder to use which could impact on how it is adopted within the organization.
Before starting development, set aside at least a week for your team to talk through and agree on the app’s architecture.
2. Poor UX or UI
Don’t try to convert your website to fit a mobile environment. Doing so will only result in an application that is not intuitive and doesn’t provide users with good UX or UI.
Building a mobile app without first developing your mobile strategy, means that you will quickly lose the interest of your audience who will continue to favour older tools and not make the switch to the new app.
To avoid this, focus on creating a simple interface that is intuitive and easy to use on mobile. Also, consider bringing in the expertise of an external design team that has experience in mobile app design, as well as strong UX and UI skills.
3. Developing an unwanted app
Creating a mobile app that nobody wants or uses is simply a waste of time and valuable resources.
Understanding your audience and their pain points is crucial in order to develop an app that fills a gap and meets their needs. Conduct market research, map out user journeys, and ask people about their struggles or needs. To be absolutely sure, create a proof of concept and test it on a small group of target users.
4. Bad marketing, or no marketing at all
A lack of effective marketing for a new mobile app could at best mean that users won’t know how to use it or get the most out of it, and at worst, could mean that nobody knows about it and the app has zero downloads.
Not only is this a waste of the organization’s time and resources, but if the app was created for an external audience, it will fail to generate enough revenue to recoup the development costs.
The best solution is to spend time raising awareness of the app. Hold meetings with your employees, sell the advantages of using the new tools, explain how they work, and even organize workshops if necessary. For external customers, invest in marketing on social media and through the App Store or Google Play Store.
5. Not narrowing the scope of the application
Failing to narrow and agree on the scope of the application is likely to lead to an over-engineered product, or the need for constant development.
In either case, the impact is unnecessary additional costs brought about by continual changes or postponing the release of the app.
A simple solution is to create an MVP and focus only on the most valuable features in your future app. Release the app, and then add the remaining features.
6. Not creating a style guide
Lack of a style guide could lead to future issues with the quality of the app’s codebase, as well as making it difficult to introduce new developers to the project.
Both of these issues will be a drain on time, and the codebase will eventually need to be refactored at additional expense to the organization.
Ensure that each project has clear guidelines and that best practices are implemented from the beginning, with a high degree of focus on reviewing code quality. It also pays to decide on your desired architecture before starting development.
7. No clear vision of the features
Starting a project with no defined vision of the features that are to be included is likely to result in features being reimplemented over and over again. Not only will this delay the app’s release, but it will also generate additional costs that could have been avoided.
The key here is to hold meetings about the features and not start development until a vision is agreed upon.
8. Not testing your app
Releasing your app without proper testing could lead to a product that is unable to handle the required number of users and crashes in a production environment.
For employees, this could result in frustration caused by being forced to use a poorly developed application, and for external customers the consequences could be negative reviews, a loss of users, and damage to the brand’s image.
An easy one to avoid – be sure to stress-test the backend of the application prior to release. It may be worth hiring a quality assurance team to do this for you if you lack the necessary expertise.
Bringing everything together
Digital transformation presents a huge opportunity for organizations looking to radically improve internal processes, reduce costs, and create better experiences for their customers. Enterprise mobile apps are a key component of this strategy, but without careful consideration, they can actually cause problems for the business.
To avoid the common pitfalls, keep these best practices in mind as you embark on your development journey:
- Invest time in defining the scope of the application, decide on the app architecture, research usability, and work on creating great UX and UI.
- Do not overload your app with features.
- Select a product owner to take ownership of the application.
- Introduce your employees to the world of digital transformation and ensure that they understand why it is important for the company.
- Only focus on transforming one process at the time.
- Test your solution with a quality assurance team and real users.
- Start marketing, do not wait until after development has been completed.
- Make sure your application can handle the required amount of new users.
- Focus on getting the initial features right before adding new features. It is always better to have a few things done well than a lot of poorly implemented features.
- Listen to your audience.
- Conduct A/B tests for feature releases.