Who actually enjoys spring cleaning? (Actually, I’m a weirdo and I do in fact enjoy it, but that’s another story.) I guess Apple is somewhat like me in that respect.
As I’m sure you heard a few weeks ago, Apple announced that it would clean up its App Store by removing old, outdated and “non-compliant” apps as they no longer function according to Apple guidelines and have not been updated for a long time. However, it did not specify the exact timeframe within which non-updated apps would be removed.
Apple has about 2.1 million apps (can you believe that???) in the App Store worldwide, but as you probably saw in the announcement, about 50% of the apps have been abandoned by developers since May 2015; about 25% apps have not been updated since November 2013; and only 20% apps have been updated in the last three months. Apple is reviewing all this data and will now give developers 30 days to submit an update or the app will be removed.
This could potentially result in tens of thousands of apps getting booted out of the App Store.
This got me thinking about how this could affect enterprises and enterprise apps. One of the core issues enterprises face in developing apps is managing the Mobile App Lifecycle management (MALM). The cycle consisting of:
- Design & Build
- Distribution; and then
- Monitoring & Measurement for improvement
It’s very crucial for an effective, well-received app. Sure, it’s a fairly obvious process, but we still hear so many stories of how organizations don’t follow this basic approach. (I won’t get into the reasons in this post.)
Anyhow … leading enterprises now recognize the need for a structured MALM approach and are moving toward a more organized set up to manage and update the mobile apps they are building and distributing to their employees. So, much like Apple is going through its own Spring cleaning (can you smell the Pinesol?), I think it’s critical for organizations to go through their app stores using this approach and see which apps needs to be retained and which should (need to?) be purged.
In that vein, I think it’s absolutely crucial to get feedback from end users to make sure the app you have spent so much time, effort and money on is being used regularly and is well regarded by its users: your employees. And that’s all about getting that A-Ha moment when your users (your customers) realize that the app you created for them becomes an invaluable part of their day-to-day lives. Isn’t that what every organization wants to achieve with the fruits of their labor?
So how do you figure that out? How do you evolve your app(s) to get your users to love them and have that A-Ha moment?
Personally, I believe organizations need to explore tools for mobile app analytics that tell them the usage and usage patterns of the apps they have created. This data is a crucial component of the MALM process. Organizations need to track usage data from the very first day an app is posted on their app store to religiously make sure they are delivering a consumer-grade user experience. Don’t forget…most people who delete an app do so within the first day (minutes?) of downloading it.
There’s another side to this equation. End users like frequently updated apps. It makes them feel like the developers care about their product. Long-term retention is all about turning your app’s core actions into a habit for end users. The key to forming those habits is to use triggers that remind users they want to use your app … and that comes with frequent updates.
Let’s face it: Spring cleaning is a pain in the neck, but we all know the end result is well worth it. However, the thing with Spring cleaning is that you’re doing it because you haven’t touched a bunch of things in your house for a REALLY long time.
You’ll always have to do Spring cleaning, but you can minimize that process and delight your users year round by making sure you provide them regular and frequent updates to apps you have developed. Just make sure you do that in a structured way.
Philippe Winthrop is CSC’s Global Mobility Evangelist. In that capacity, Philippe speaks to clients and industry influencers on industry best practices and CSC’s mobility services and vision.
Philippe is recognized as one of the first true enterprise mobility thought leaders. He has spent the past 10 years working with the some of the largest companies in the world to formulate and execute mobile strategies that have transformed the way people work when they are in and out of the office. He has helped vendors generate millions of dollars in incremental revenue through successful B2B and B2C mobile platforms and has saved end-users millions of dollars by streamlining how untethered workers interact with corporate data. He is a frequent speaker at industry events and quoted in numerous publications on enterprise mobility. Philippe received his BA in Economics and Romance Languages from Boston College and his MA in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis University.