No app is an island: six strategies for winning the enterprise app wars

With the explosion of mobile devices, many enterprises developed a broad stable of mobile apps to keep up with demand and to test what worked and what didn’t. The emphasis was on rapid development of many small mobile enterprise apps to improve isolated business processes.

However, as enterprises and organisations of all sizes, tackle digital transformation at full throttle speeds, they are now realising that mobile enterprise apps should be considered as extensions of larger processes, not isolated islands in and of themselves.

Here are six tips to keeping your enterprise app strategies on track in the digital transformation era:

Less is more

An endless portfolio of mobile apps is not a sustainable strategy. Focus on apps that bring value. Not only are many apps difficult and costly to maintain, they create a fragmented and confusing user experience. Identify the app’s place in your organisation’s digital transformation strategy.

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Make sure any new app supports this strategy with tangible benefits and value.

Think comprehensive

When transforming a business process, it is important to take a cross-functional approach that breaks down “stovepiped” divisions and focuses on enabling end-to-end processes within an organisation.

The process for taking and fulfilling an order, for example, may flow across your sales, production, shipping, and accounting departments.

Make sure your app integrates needed data and processes across all business systems involved, whether that of the organisation or a partner, on-premise or cloud-based. Mobilise the specific functionalities that make sense, even incorporating different functionalities for different users.

Go for features that delight users

Include extra functionality and productivity tools that makes users’ lives easier, like Google Maps integration that lets mobile CRM users find the shortest route to their destinations or see what other clients are in their local area. Where possible and relevant, managers should be able to see graphical dashboard views of important KPIs.

Integration Is key

Most of the important features of the enterprise app lie below the surface, including security, data accuracy, the ability to update, transform and synchronise data across multiple systems, along with the ability to automatically trigger processes according to specific changes, thresholds or actions.

Your integration tool must be able to connect the systems you want, the way you want, reliably and in real-time.

Monitor usage and feedback

Whenever possible, make decisions based on usage data and user experience research. Avoid making assumptions about what you think works best. Talk to your users. Gather hard data.

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Prove the business case by calculating man-hours saved and improved productivity and innovation through new capabilities provided, reduced errors and improved speed of processes.

Use a 'fail fast' philosophy

Act like a successful start-up company, and don’t have reservations about pivoting your strategy. If you observe several months of low/no usage or results, don’t be afraid to abandon an app. Invest time reviewing and realigning business processes as well as the user interface and experience.

As enterprise mobility evolves under the greater digital transformation umbrella, it’s natural that there is a need to revamp apps and to retire those that are no longer useful or relevant. Remember to look at the big picture, mobile enterprise apps can no longer be isolated functions, they must be facilitators of larger end-to-end processes.

With this vision in mind, it is easier to choose the right tools and solutions to support your enterprise app needs for speed, agility, and robust and reliable connectivity.  

Sourced from Stephan Romeder, General Manager Europe, Magic Software

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...