As more and more of the world moves away from desktops and laptops toward mobile devices, the demand for mobile application development has increased significantly in recent years. According to Gartner, employee’s today use an average of three devices in their normal routine. This is expected to increase to five or six as wearable technology becomes more popular.

Now, enterprise mobile application development and app development companies are trying their best to meet the needs of so many users. At this point, it seems that there really is an app for everything. But what does this say about the future of enterprise mobile application development or app development in general?

The question becomes, “How do we keep up with increasing demand?” According to Adrian Leow, we need to start being more strategic. “We’re seeing demand for mobile apps outstrip available development capacity,” says Leow. “Mobile strategists must use tools and techniques that match the increase in mobile app needs within their organizations.”

In this article we are going to cover what the future of enterprise mobile application development looks like, along with a few tricks and techniques to make sure that your company isn’t falling behind in our mobile world. Let’s get started.

What is Enterprise Mobile Application Development?

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Let’s begin with some definitions. What exactly is enterprise mobile application development? Enterprise mobile application development is creating an app for a company’s workers to carry out functions required to run the business. Whether it be managing inventory levels or tracking the sales process, enterprise mobile apps have become a valuable part of many organizations.

“Enterprise mobile application development is creating an app for a company’s workers to carry out functions required to run the business.”

However, unless your company already has developers on staff, the process of developing these apps can be very expensive. So much so that companies are often behind in their processes due to waiting for the developers to finish. For many, the answer is simply prioritizing.

Prioritize app development

Mobile development teams, whether outsourced or in-house, are often stretched thin by increased demand. A common problem that arises is applications being built on a first come first serve basis instead of by what actual needs to be designed.

This lack of value-driven prioritization leads to inefficient use of IT resources and a degradation in the quality of apps delivered. Mobile development teams need to formulate a process that involves the business stakeholders or utilize agile development processes like Scrum to work quickly and with higher efficiency.

A popular way to do this is something called MoSCow, which helps to organize the backlog. MoSCoW stands for:

Must have this.

Should have this if at all possible.

Could have this if it won’t affect anything else.

Won’t have this this time, but would like in the future.

By matching each of the tasks in the backlog with their level of importance, you are able to cut out any unnecessary tasks and save time that could be better used elsewhere.

Outsourcing

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Another way to cut down on costs for app development is through outsourcing. Over the years, outsourcing application development has become a popular practice for companies that need enterprise mobile applications but don’t have the resources to support their own developers.

The expertise and research that mobile app development companies possess alone are worth outsourcing. But, when you add in that it is often less expensive to pay a company hourly than hire your own team, the benefits multiply.

If you are struggling to keep up with the demand of your companies’ enterprise mobile app development, consider outsourcing to gain a competitive advantage.

Software as a Service

Whether or not you provide your employee’s with a mobile app or not, they will be using one. Software as a service or SaaS is becoming a popular tool for many companies. Apps like Dropbox have seen huge success by filling in as the enterprise mobile application for companies unable to afford their own application.

While SaaS is definitely a good resource to take advantage of, often the applications available don’t meet the specific needs of your company. When you are deciding on what type of application to use for your own business, take this into considering when weighing your options and costs.

Best practices

Now that you have decided exactly how you are going to create your enterprise mobile app, let’s talk about some best practices to consider. Whether you will be creating it yourself or outsourcing, these are things to remember that sometimes fall through the cracks.

Focus on security

A common mistake in enterprise mobile application development is forgetting security. Since the application is only used by people within your company, why waste time with security checks?

A study revealed over the last few years close to 86% of the mobile applications have experienced serious issues regarding authentication, confidentiality, and access control. This is something that can be easily avoided, but only if it is kept in mind.

Manage your data

Data data data. It seems everywhere you turn, everyone is talking about data, and for good reason! Managing your data in 2017 is vital to your company and application’s success. However, this is another area that enterprise mobile application developers sometimes miss.

“Better to track everything first and have too much data than find yourself incapable of understand where a problem is coming from with no obvious solution available.”

When you first begin tracking data, you might not see the benefits. This is why developers often ignore it and devote their time somewhere else. Instead, build in from the ground up processes to track and store data from your mobile app.

By tracking everything within your app, analyzing and improving it will only be easier. Even data points that you don’t find interesting at the beginning might give key insights later. Better to track everything first and have too much data than find yourself incapable of understand where a problem is coming from with no obvious solution available.

Design with users in mind

Another fairly obvious, often ignored practice, designing for your end users will cut out a lot of extra nonsense. For enterprise mobile application development, your end users are the employees of your company. Since your app won’t be sold or spread wide, spending less time on additional features is advised.

For example, while your app should be easily used, not much work needs to go into the actual design. It is an added bonus if things look nice, but for an application used for business purposes, functionality is most important. Other design areas to improve include:

  •      Clear-focused content – the purpose should be obvious to first time users of the app.
  •      Simple menu navigation – the menus need to be simple. Keep everything of importance and cut out all flak to reduce information overload.
  •      Fluid layouts – since you won’t know for sure what device your employees will be using, keep your layouts and UX fluid and adaptable across platforms.

Your employees will thank you for keeping these few ideas in mind as you work on your enterprise mobile application.

Train and then train again

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In 2017 it is sometimes hard to remember that many of the people in your workforce did not grow up in the digital age. This is why it is so important to offer training for any application your company uses.

Conducting trainings for not only how to use mobile applications, but how to incorporate them throughout the daily work being done is vital to the success of your enterprise mobile application. Take this very seriously. Don’t just do one training when introducing the application. Hold additional trainings to answer questions and walk your employee’s through it’s uses.

Otherwise, you might find that you spent all this money on an application that no one knows how to use.

The “Why”

Some organizations have seen the trend towards enterprise mobile application development and still don’t fully understand why they need to make this shift, opting instead for more traditional means of working with their employees. However, as the old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding.

“80% of employees surveyed by CCS in February of 2015 said mobile technology was critical to getting their job done and 41% of employees said mobile apps had changed how they work.” Even with these statistics showing how employees actually work, there is still a lack of suitable apps available to them for them to get their work done. This often leads them to use SAAS apps instead that might not have all the functionality they need.

Your employees are using mobile technology to run your business regardless of if you provide it or not. You should take this hint and start working towards making your own enterprise development app for their specific purposes. Not only will this lead to a more efficient workforce, but better business practices overall.