There's a view that building mobile apps is a quick-and-easy process
-- design and code an idea, get it approved in an app store, and wait
for the cut of revenues to roll in.
Photo: Joe McKendrick
However, for enterprises, designing, building and deploying apps
requires all the care and resources that any other type of software
product requires. Unlike Flappy Bird, an enterprise mobile app not
something that can be thrown out there, then withdrawn on a whim. The
requirements need to be worked out up-front with the business, the right
vendors need to be selected (if an outside vendor is involved), and the
app will need constant review and updating to stay current and of
interest to end users or customers.
A few months back, I had a chat with the VP of marketing of a major
west coast property developer and mall owner, who recounted the process
she and her IT team engaged in to design and build an app for customers
of one of its shopping centers. The process took well over a year and a
half, starting out with multiple interviews with outside design teams.
"We met with dozens of different companies, who came in and showed us
what they thought our app should look like, but frankly it was all very
boring. and definitely not what our brand stands for," she said.
With mobile apps, end-users only spend a few seconds on the phone, so
the app really needed to reach out and grab them, and serve a purpose.
Once the design of the app was approved, they needed to decide whether
to deploy to iOS or Android. (They decided to start with iPhone.) Once
the app was finally tested and released, there was a constant need to
keep it fresh and updated....