As I mentioned in my most recent post, we are going to publish a series of articles (10 in all) that focus on the question “How do I build an app for my business?” This question is the genesis of almost all of the discussions I have with companies about mobility. Mobile technology itself, and the use of that technology by an ever growing number of people, has convinced most people the technology holds promise for businesses just as it does for our personal lives.
People intuitively understand the power of mobility, and with good reason. Consider just three pieces of information regarding how pervasive mobile technology is in our lives:
- A Finnish study showed smartphone users check their phone every 10 minutes or so, up to 34 times per day.
- A UK study that showed 88% of smartphone owners make checking their phone the first thing they do in the morning. A similar study by Ericsson showed 35% of US iPhone and Android users open up an app before they even get out of bed.
- A statistic released by Morgan Stanley states 91% of people have their cell phone within reach 24 hours a day.
While most of us don’t have these and similar statistics at our fingertips, most people do understand instinctively that smartphones have changed the way our society communicates by making us all “reachable” almost anytime and anyplace. Taking advantage of this expansion in the reach and range of our communications to customers, prospects, employees and/or business partners can be a powerful tool for businesses if they can do it well. While most of us realize mobile technology has great potential for our businesses, most of us also have little to no firsthand experience with mobility from a business perspective.
This conundrum leads to the initial discussion I have with most companies who want to get started with a mobile app. It goes something like this. “Mike, we would like to develop a mobile app for our company. Is that something you can help us with?” When we get into the discussion, very early on I will counter with the question “What type of app did you have in mind?” Here’s where things get interesting. Almost universally the answer will be something to the effect of “Well, we aren’t quite sure what we want it to do yet.”
The fact that I bring up this confusion is not an indictment against people who are new to mobile apps for businesses. On the contrary, to me it is impressive they know at a sort of gut level that mobility can help their businesses, but they don’t yet have the experience to know where to start. This is exactly why we are publishing this set of posts. People want to know how to get started having mobility make a difference in their business, and I think we can help them. We are going to share 10 steps that will help companies have a successful launch of their app whether it is the first or hundredth attempt. Notice I didn’t say it was “10 EASY steps”…just that it was “10 steps”.
So, before we dive into the specifics, I want to include all 10 steps here. I won’t attempt to explain them all here, but I do want to list them out. While order of the steps won’t guarantee or prevent success, I do think in most cases the order of the steps are helpful, so I am going to number them in the order I think they should be executed. Without further adieu, here they are:
- What is the purpose of the app?
- Who is the audience for the app and what are their characteristics and needs?
- What are the app requirements, both functional and non-functional?
- What platform should you choose?
- How should the app be architected?
- What is the design of the app?
- What should be included in your first version?
- How should you prioritize your enhancements and new development?
- How will people find out about your app?
- Do you have the right support mechanism in place for your users?
These are the questions we will help you answer in this 10-part series. The next post begins our journey with the question regarding the purpose of your app.
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