The enterprise software market is growing thanks in great part to the rise in digital transformation projects. IT spending in South Africa is expected to reach $26.6 billion in 2016, an increase of 5.1 percent from 2015, according to Gartner, Inc. IDC also believes that South African organizations will invest more in digital transformation initiatives in 2016 to streamline costs and bolster flexibility.
Before modernizing and extending the capabilities of core business applications, organizations need to analyze their business processes to determine what should be changed, mobilized and integrated. System integration and process orchestration can eliminate busywork and put the precise information needed in front of the user for added efficiency gains.
Here are six things to keep in mind to make the most of enterprise app development.
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. Avoid cluttering desktops and screens with a multitude of apps with too limited scopes. 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, creates a fragmented and confusing user experience and can have a negative impact on productivity.
2. Be Holistic – When transforming a business process, it is important to take a cross-functional approach that breaks down “stovepiped” 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. Delight 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 Under the Rug – 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 App Value – Nothing provides validation for an app like facts and figures. 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. Choosing a low coding platform provides the freedom to scrap a project and start again. 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. Embrace agility. If you need a sudden strategic change, take it and breathe new life into your apps.
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 of 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.
By Lindsay Britz, Marketing Manager |Magic Software SA