In an increasingly crowded, competitive mobile app market, it has never been more important for businesses to have a mobile application strategy that will make them stand out from the pack.
For most businesses, one-size-fits-all generic applications or slightly modified websites will no longer cut it. The future of mobile applications lies in products that are custom-made for individual companies to create efficiencies and grow the company, rather than just ticking the box of having a mobile app because the market demands it.
These enterprise mobile apps will be able to do everything from increasing productivity and improving information flow to staff and clients, allowing greater collaboration and knowledge management. To that end the real future of mobile apps lies in every business developing a mobile application strategy. But first you need a clear idea of what the mobile app needs to achieve. Where do you start?
Ask the experts
You wouldn’t necessarily ask a specialist operator of one machine to suddenly be an expert in a new piece of equipment in much the same way you can’t necessarily expect your in-house IT team to automatically know how best to deliver mobile apps. A specialist app developer can work with you to decide what type of service will best deliver the results you need. Should it be tablet only or smartphone compatible? Should it work on only Apple iOS or Android, or across all platforms? They can help you determine who your target audience is, what to offer them and how to offer it.
Content is king
For a mobile app to be successful it must be of value to its users. That means businesses must give proper thought to why customers would download the app, use it and keep it and high quality relevant content is obviously key to that.
The key to a successful mobile app strategy in the future will be thinking of it as another tool or channel to communicate with staff and clients. It is one part of a business’ entire strategic “eco-system” To that end a successful app will need to feature content consistent across all other platforms. The start of a successful app will be deciding exactly what content you need, how it should be organised, and how your staff and clients use mobile devices.
But don’t forget design and interaction
User interface and design have always been drivers of digital technology, but particularly since the dominance of Apple in the market. Successful mobile apps must continue to balance the importance of high-impact user interface with ease of use, and high interaction standards. Good design will always be the shop window of a successful app, selling content to the users.
Keep it secure
As mobile device usage soars one of the biggest challenges facing the apps in the immediate future is security. The balance between keeping access and information secure, and maintaining ease of use has always been fragile.
To maintain that balance there is a shift away from device security to application embedded security focusing on four areas: authentication and authorisation, communication security, encrypting data at rest, and data self-destruction. Securing the application rather than just the device enables securing data and functionality even if the device is compromised. Read more on securing applications here.
The future’s so bright …
With ever-increasing use of mobile devices (mobile internet users predicted to overtake PC web users in 2013), particularly the explosion of tablet use, successful applications must maximise device hardware such as cameras, GPS, sound and video recording and editing, touch based animation combined with frictionless social media access and seamless backend integration – to create products that add value to businesses. As technology moves forward at lightning speed, the future for mobile apps is wide open. The trick is planning now so your business is positioned to take advantage.
Sulabh Sharma is managing director of Sush Global Solutions Ltd, specialists in mobile application development