The digital age has made running a company easier than ever in a lot of ways. At the same time, though, you can also become overwhelmed by all there is you could do to keep your organization ahead of the competition. While there are plenty of products out there that amount to little more than bells and whistles, enterprise mobility platforms aren’t one of those. Instead, they give you the power to create a custom app for your business. The following is how to find the best one for your goals.
The one thing that keeps people from taking advantage of all the software out there is that so many of them come with convoluted designs. You have software that’s capable of so much, but it’s been created by people with seemingly no understanding of who their end user is. As a result, these programs usually become what we refer to as shelfware, because that’s where this software ends up: on the shelf.
What you want instead is an enterprise mobility platform that will be easy to take out of the box (or download), install and start using. Otherwise, you’re just making more work for yourself. You could also end up like millions of other people and companies all over the planet who pay for software and then never end up realizing what all it can do.
Fortunately, this is hardly a rare demand. No one wants to be in this type of position. No one wants to sit in front of their new software, dumbfounded, unable to figure out how to best use it.
That’s why there are so many enterprise mobility titles out there these days that run on a click-and-drag formula, for the most part. You can pretty much build an app from scratch with little more than your mouse. Furthermore, a lot of these programs come with a real-time window that shows you what the finished product of your design currently looks like while you’re creating it.
Flawless Integration Abilities
Building a good enterprise mobility app “on paper” is one thing. That will only get you so far though. You can’t just take that app and bring it to life, expecting all to go well. In most scenarios, you need that program you just built to work with the systems you already rely on.
For example, if you built an app to help customers order from your company wherever they are, you’ll obviously want that program to speak to your internal system that monitors inventory. Otherwise, you’re likely just creating more work for yourself.
In order to do this, you need to choose an app developing platform with a super-flexible API. This will allow you to map a connection between the app and your company’s inner logic. There may be some “manual” work involved, but it will be negligible.
The alternative is to accept a crude workaround that you or someone with coding chops will have to create. You may also find that your users simply stop using your app because of how poorly this works.
If you have concerns about whether or not your app will work with your company’s current systems, just ask the manufacturer. Usually, they’ll probably just tell you that the API in their software should handle the problem. However, if you’re running popular systems, you may have zero mapping to do because the software already comes ready for this.
Security Measures You Can Rely On
Obviously, you don’t want to go to all the trouble of purchasing an enterprise mobility platform and using it to build an app only to have it be of no use because someone hacked it. The best case scenario in a situation like this would literally be someone hacking it for the sake of mischief and then leaving it alone.
The worst case scenario is on the other end of the spectrum. In that case, a hacker could take advantage of messages going between your app and your company’s inner system. Many of those communications may be especially valuable to them, meaning they’ll be especially careful about keeping themselves hidden. It could be weeks or even months before you realize you’ve been compromised.
For this reason, insist on only using app development software that clearly makes security a priority. You want all of your communications to be encrypted so no one is able to read them without authorization.
Speaking of authorization, it’s not a bad idea to look for role-based access with your software. This just means that you can decide who gets to use your mobile app and what level of access they’ll get based on their level in your company’s hierarchy.
A manager, for example, may have no issues using the full extent of your app based solely on their credentials. A sales rep below them, though, may only get a very basic version of the app to use.
Another important feature to have at your disposal is app maintenance. Just like any digital creation in your company’s repertoire, you’re going to need to maintain your app. This means many things, of course, but there are some particularly important ways you may have to look after your app once it’s developed.
Before you actually release it to the public and/or your employees, you will most likely take plenty of time to test your app to ensure it works properly. Usually, everyone does this and most still stumble upon some problems early on. It’s just the nature of building this kind of software. No matter how many people take it for a test run, once you expose it to so many more people, some type of problem is bound to show up.
Now, if your development platform came with sufficient maintenance features, this doesn’t have to be the end of the world. You’ll get feedback that your app is lacking and you can update it and then re-release the new version. This version will get sent to all the devices that originally downloaded your app, so the entire situation is resolved in no time.
If you don’t have this kind of capability, trying to successfully debut your app is going to be a real headache. Once word does come back that there is a problem, you’ll most likely want to wait a while before addressing it just to be sure there aren’t any others you’ll need to knock out at the same time. Then you’ll re-release your new app and hope everyone downloads it again.
That’s not the only way app maintenance matters though. The other thing you need your enterprise mobility software to do is allow you to revoke access to the app whenever you please. In a lot of cases, you’re building the app strictly for your employees, for example. Just like with any of their software access, though, you’ll want to be able to revoke it the moment they get terminated. Otherwise, you’re leaving the inner logic of your company wide open to someone who is no longer with the organization and may not be too happy to boot.
This brings up another important form of functionality. Managing an app means knowing who’s trying to access it and how. At the very least, you want a sign-in book of sorts so you know who’s using it and what they’ve been doing. Still, for the sake of greater security, some of you may want to look into being able to see who tries to access your app once their clearance has been revoked. It’s a sign that someone you’ve fired is holding a grudge and trying to act on it.
Finally, sometimes your company’s biggest problem isn’t a hacker or even a terminated staff member with a bone to pick. A lot of times, the real threat will come from an employee who means well but does something wrong. You’ll only be able to catch on to this kind of issue if you used an enterprise mobility platform that allows the kind of management functions we’re talking about right now. The last thing you want is to miss out on a training opportunity because you can’t properly manage your app.
Look into the Actual Company Behind It
To be fair, this advice seems fairly obvious. However, if you’ve gone through all the above and are pretty sure you’ve covered all your bases, it can be easy to forget this one.
App development is a type of software that’s fairly new, meaning you have a lot of newcomers to the market. That’s why it’s especially important you research a company before buying from them. It’s always nice to see they have a track record that goes back a few years and includes some impressive clients.
One especially important type of client is the kind that closely resembles your own business. If a competitor or a company likes yours in a related field has used a certain kind of app development software and have been happy with the results, then you most likely will be too. Obviously, you want to look into the kind of app they created to ensure it’s similar to what you had in mind.
Take your time going through all of the above so you’re able to pick the best possible platform for creating your company’s new app. As long as you do, you’ll be plenty happy with the results.