Enterprises today are under tremendous pressure to leverage the power of mobile technology to help their businesses stay competitive. While mobile devices allow employees to do their jobs anywhere and at any time, the real value of mobile technology is in applications that help workers be more productive and efficient.
Though off-the-shelf mobile apps may work well for some enterprises, other companies are eager to develop customized productivity apps and get them into the hands of employees as quickly as possible. Indeed, rapid apps development and deployment is becoming a top priority for enterprises (as I wrote recently), fueling (and fueled by) the DevOps movement.
But hold on there! Before your developers get down to writing code, a critical step must be addressed, or the enterprise could waste a lot of time and money building an app that fails to do what it’s intended to do — benefit the business.
In a recent Forbes column, contributor Peter Ward stresses that for “a developer to develop an app there needs to be real business proposition, first and foremost.”
So how should developers determine the business value of an app before building it? By guessing, of course. Just kidding! What they really need to do, as Ward explains, is meet with the business units and employees who will use the app to understand their needs and expectations.
Referencing his own experiences, Ward writes, “This means talking to the business units, observe how employees really use devices and apps they already have installed vs. what they tell me and notice any differences, and ask tons of questions to ensure I had captured the users’ preferences, pain points, etc.”
In other words, you have to meet with the people who are going to use the tool you’re building and find out what kind of features and functionality they need. And don’t worry, they’ll know.
From there it’s a matter of figuring out what platforms and devices the app should be built to run on. Then, development and testing can begin.
Corralling workers to discuss a new app may seem like a hassle to busy developers, but the risks of skipping this step simply are too high. By nailing down user requirements at the beginning of the process, developers can vastly increase their chances of producing a mobile app that boosts worker productivity — and the business.