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The Zen of Mobile Apps: 6 Tips to Increase App Shelf Life

As enterprise mobility evolves under the greater digital transformation umbrella, there is a natural need to revamp apps and 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 for 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 reliability.

The explosion in mobile apps has created less than harmonious mobile experiences for many enterprise users.

Glenn Johnson is an award winning blogger and has been featured on NBC Today Shote, E! News, Discovery and more, and he has written a great list of six things to keep in mind to ensure harmonious mobile apps that stand the test of time:

1. Avoid “I have an app for that”

It’s important to prioritize apps based on the value that they bring rather than churn out one app after the other. Too many apps, especially when some of them have limited value, can result in a disconnected set of solutions that is difficult and costly to maintain, and also create a fragmented and confusing user experience.

Organizations need to identify the app’s place in their organization’s digital transformation strategy. All new apps should support this strategy with tangible benefits and value. Avoid creating apps that are either too expansive or too limited in scope. Find just the right balance between capability and usability. In general, if two actions always occur in the same process by the same user in the same setting, then they belong in the same app.

2. Be Holistic

When transforming a business process, it is important to take across-functional approach that breaks down “stove piped” divisions and focuses on enabling end-to-end processes within an organization. The process for taking and fulfilling an order, for example, may flow across sales, production, shipping, and accounting departments. Make sure apps integrate needed data and processes across all business processes, both internal and external, on-premise or cloud-based. Mobilize the specific functionalities that make sense, even incorporating different functionalities for different users.

3. Wow Your Users

Be aware of the users’ device, context and reason for using the app. Include extra functionality and productivity tools that makes users’ lives easier, like Google Maps integration that lets employees in the field find the shortest route to their destinations or see what other clients are in their vicinity.

Carefully consider the differences between smartphone and tablet uses. Where possible and relevant, managers should be able to see graphical dashboard views of important KPIs. Whenever possible, the context should be used to intelligently present wizard-like options and next steps rather than forcing the user to navigate from screen to screen as in traditional desktop applications.

4. Look Below the Surface

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

Your integration platform must be able to connect the systems you want, the way you want, reliably and in real-time. And your mobile app and server must be able to work in disconnected mode and then synchronize when back online.

5. 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 based on usage patterns and behavior. 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. Update the app based on all feedback and allow the app to reface itself based on context and behavior.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Abandon an App

Act like a nimble 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, merge apps or break them apart. Invest time reviewing and realigning business processes as well as the user interface and experience.

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Originally posted by Magic Software –

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