If your reason for developing an app is that everyone else is doing it, perhaps you should pause and think again. If you’re going to go to the effort of hiring app developers and creating a mobile app, you need to take steps to ensure it offers your user base definable value.
Whether end-users are your employees or customers, your app should deliver value.
For customer-facing apps, you should make a task easier or solve a problem for the customer. For an enterprise app, you should define a process you want to simplify and how an app could simplify it. That way you’re far more likely to achieve a good return on your investment.
Where Does One Start?
Before contacting app developers, research proven cases of apps delivering measurable value that could translate well to your organisation. Your first app should probably be a limited, tactical project that will not only solve a problem, but give you a feel for how the app development process goes. If it performs as expected, then it may be time to talk to app developers about taking on a bigger project.
Define How You Want the App to Pay Off
There are two main ways an app can deliver value. It might produce ROI as measured in either increased revenue or reduced costs. Or, it can produce non-financial returns such as greater brand value or stronger market position. With traditional increased revenue / decreased cost ROI, you could, for example, create a mobile app that allows employees to enter inventory data on location rather than using spreadsheets. Driving brand value depends on what your business does, but as an example, a DIY retailer could offer a “how-to” app or a room makeover app.
Pick the Low-Hanging Fruit First
When you first talk to app developers, try to build a use case based on an existing process that would immediately be better were it mobilised. Maybe your company has a cumbersome, error-prone approval process for expense reports, for example. Your mobile app could allow expense reporting from the road and notify relevant stakeholders once a mobile expense report is submitted. If you need ideas, you can shadow someone for a day and observe how his or her daily processes could be improved with an app.
Consider “Soft Value” as Well
App developers will tell you that “payoff” doesn’t necessarily have to involve monetary metrics. In some cases, a “nice, but not necessary” app can increase good will and morale and pay off in happier employees or customers. One company did this by having app developers create a solution to a chronic problem of booking conference rooms. The real value wasn’t obviously measurable, but it solved an employee problem and helped them be more efficient.
Some “value” aspects are very real, yet harder to measure.
Determine How to Measure Success
Talk to app developers about how you will measure the success of your app. Defining key performance indicators helps you evaluate how well your app performs and helps app developers lay the groundwork for delivering in-app analytics. These analytical tools can look at factors like how users interact with the app and how much time they spend using it – factors that can be critical when calculating efficiency gains.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of User Interface
User experience is absolutely essential to success with mobile apps, and the best app developers understand this thoroughly. Mobilising a use case doesn’t necessarily increase productivity, for example, if the interface is clunky or slow. Defined workflows combined with an intuitive, engaging user interface lay the path to actual business value for your app. The last thing you want to do is create an app that only frustrates end-users.
Whether your goal is financial or non-financial ROI, defining expectations and how to measure outcomes is essential when working with app developers. An app can’t add to your organisation’s bottom line if you don’t take steps up front to ensure your apps solve problems in definable, measurable ways.
Glance is a leading UK developer of native apps, and our app developers always put client needs first. From idea through post-deployment, we communicate closely with each client to ensure we deliver the value they want and exceed expectations at every step. If you would like to know more, we invite you to send us an enquiry. We’ll be happy to get in touch and start talking about how we can help you add business value with the right mobile app.
Simon has worked in the software industry for over 20 years; intent on always producing work of the highest standard and creating software products that genuinely makes things better for people. Simon has previously held positions ranging from Developer, Technical Consultant, Head of Development through to CTO and more recently founder and CEO of several high profile technology companies.