Mobile app features: Aligning your app with your business

By Jonathan Hassell

Most organizations would agree that a mobile app is a strong asset. The evidence is fairly overwhelming that mobile apps can be utilized to increase efficiency, profit and customer engagement. However, businesses can fall into the trap of treating mobile app development as one more box to check on the company’s to-do list.

Tap into the full potential of mobile app features by using apps to mitigate pain points and enhance the overall business cycle. There is no one-size-fits-all mobile app solution. It all depends on the space your business occupies and the specific services that differentiate it from competitors.

So, how can CIOs understand which mobile app functions and features are important to have in your business’s unique app and the best ways to get that information in front of you?

1. Planning

In the planning stages, the slate is clear and the drawing board is blank. This is the time to solicit input from outside consultants, business analysts both internal and external to your organization, a focus group of customers and employees, and other voices that will help you discern the vision and overall objective of your mobile app. This is also the time to test the waters on potential mobile app features and any issues or concerns that arise from adding them.

Asking questions up front is by far the least expensive and least risky way of developing an app that will eventually meet the needs of users.

Here are key points to consider in the planning phase:

  • Are there inefficient processes within your business cycle that could be made better with an app? For a public-facing company, one example of an improved process might be a user’s ability to check in online and avoid the inefficiencies of waiting in line on premises. For a service-oriented company, it might be the ability to use an app to provide documentation for a claim, request or delivery.
  • What are the weak points in the path between lead and cash in your enterprise? Are there delays that a mobile app could shorten or eliminate?

This is also the time to think about where you can instrument your app with sensors and metrics to track its most popular features, the best and worst performing areas and other useful data.

2. Analytics

Once your business has planned and developed an app, the CIO’s focus should shift to analytics. Once your app has been in use long enough to collect a useful body of data, your app team should analyze those data sets to determine which features are hitting the mark and which need to be reworked or removed entirely. Usage data, instrument readings and other telemetry baked into the app during the development stage will be supremely helpful in guiding future iterations of your app.

Data should be reviewed and discussed regularly. After you get a read on the data, go back to your employees and ask why the numbers might tell the story they do. Listen to the feedback they have, which may not be reflected in a quantitative way through the data. Then, incorporate solutions to their concerns to ensure the future success of the app.

Written By

Jonathan Hassell

President, 82 Ventures

Jonathan Hassell runs 82 Ventures, a technical writing and consulting firm based in Charlotte, NC. He centers his focus around network administrator, security, the cloud, and mobile technologies.

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