From an enterprise perspective, mobile apps can add value to the company and contribute to its growth by automating workflow, increasing staff efficiency, and reducing costs.
Furthermore, it is essential to understand that enterprise mobile app development differs from the consumer (personal) mobile app development process.
So what exactly is enterprise mobile app development, and how can enterprises benefit from it?
What is an enterprise mobile app?
Enterprise mobile applications are mobile app types purposely built for individual enterprises. The goal is to enable enterprise employees to fulfill their roles more productively so an enterprise can operate more efficiently.
Therefore, unlike consumer mobile apps, which are intended for the B2C personal market, enterprise mobile apps are tailored specifically for a given enterprise.
Enterprise mobile apps usually combine several software components into one app, simplifying companies’ everyday workflows and offering another level of convenience and even time efficiency to employees working either on-site, in-field or remotely.
Types of enterprise mobile apps
There are as numerous different enterprise mobile apps as employees and companies have their individual needs. However, they can be classified by who will use them within the company and the roles they would perform.
On the employee level, apps are designed to support employees in fulfilling specific tasks or completing daily workflows. For instance, applications specialising in data analytics and business intelligence help managers achieve important KPIs and measure the success of their initiatives.
The entire organisation uses company-level apps to foster collaboration by keeping employees connected. Company-level apps also enable workers to participate in internal training or boost productivity through activities planning and tracking.
Team-level enterprise apps have a much wider scope. They are designed for employees who work in a particular department, as their goal is to enable whole departments to collaborate better.
For instance, a department-level enterprise mobile app could allow accountants to keep track of finances and all finance-related issues that are not open to other departments due to the sensitivity of the information they manage.
The point is that the function of an individual enterprise mobile app depends on the organisation’s structure and the industries they operate.
What is enterprise mobile application development?
As discussed above, enterprise apps differ from consumer mobile applications, and thus, so does the development process.
First, like other corporate ecosystems, enterprise mobile apps primarily focus on databases and data transfers. Any error, like application downtime, security breach, or data loss, could severely damage an enterprise. For this reason alone, enterprise mobile apps must be secure and consistent across all devices and platforms.
Secondly, enterprise mobile apps must fit into the existing organisation’s technical infrastructure and comply with the organisation’s compliance requirements. Those compliance requirements could include data privacy (access, collection, sharing, storage, and uses) and the necessary permissions (e.g., department, location, access to the speaker or camera).
How enterprise mobile application development is different
Enterprise mobile app development is building a mobile application for an enterprise’s needs. An enterprise app’s users are mainly the organisation’s employees, and its purpose is to streamline business operations.
Thus, since enterprise apps differ from B2C consumer mobile apps, so does their development.
Like any other corporate system, enterprise apps deal with corporate databases and frequent data transfers. That is why they must be designed with high security and scalability. Furthermore, enterprise mobile apps must be consistent across all devices and platforms because any error can cost the enterprise, not only in cost but productivity and even reputation as an employer.
In addition, integrating an app into the enterprise’s existing infrastructure is more challenging. Plus, developing an enterprise application differs in app distribution and legal considerations because it must comply with app markets’ policies, like the App Store guidelines.
Advantages of enterprise mobile app development
The advantages of implementing an enterprise application integrated with the company’s existing ecosystem are numerous and depend on the app type and its function. Enterprise application mainly aims to boost a company’s revenues and employee productivity, but there are others.
The specific benefits of deploying enterprise apps are as follows.
1. Increases productivity
Achieving high productivity levels is a goal for every business or enterprise, regardless of size. Mobile apps can help enterprises solve the productivity problem by significantly streaming communication across several company departments and between the business and its customers if relevant.
For internal use, mobile apps can keep employees updated through in-app notifications for project deadlines, meetings or even the latest company news.
2. Better communication
Most enterprises still rely on emails and other traditional forms of communication. However, today, most younger generation employees relish faster communication methods like chat apps to ping messages that quicken communication between colleagues.
With an enterprise app, communication becomes effective and fast because most employees nowadays have smartphones, and interaction becomes effortless.
3. More opportunities
An enterprise mobile app will lead to neer opportunities arising from improving workflows that otherwise would not be considered. An internal app can help an organisation become aware of sudden market changes, updates about the company and its employees, and manage employee reviews and feedback, not to mention other business requirements that arise.
4. Decreases operational costs
Every organisation wants to save money, regardless of size. For instance, incorporating cutting-edge technologies in your business app, whether AI or blockchain, can add immense value by assisting in better security by pinpointing frequently asked questions within a company. Enterprise business apps foster automation and cut operational costs long-term.
5. Organises data better
Most organisations’ data is poorly structured or organised, resulting in confusion and poor productivity. However, with enterprise apps, this area becomes easy. Enterprise apps allow easy and quick access to databases and perform routine activities.
Enterprise data management stores and governs the enterprise data. On the other hand, data management means ensuring the employees have the correct, accurate and real-time data they need that meet company standards for storing quality data in a standardised, secure, and governed place.
Moreover, since data is stored in one place, an app can help improve data processing, analysis, verification, and adjustment operations.
6. Automates workflows
An enterprise mobile app fosters collaboration by bringing all the employees to a single communication platform. Forget about lost emails, missed calls, or printed paperwork. All these can be part of one robust mobile application that will connect on-site and remote employees without installing and checking a set of individual apps daily.
Working on repetitive tasks will lower employee efficiency, resulting in lower productivity and causing employees to feel their work is monotonous and thus leave your enterprise altogether.
Enterprise apps automate more work, thus freeing employees from performing monotonous and mundane tasks, shifting their focus to more productive areas of business.
Enterprise mobile application development challenges
There are several challenges to a successful enterprise mobile app implementation. Some are listed below:
Integration with legacy back-end
Integrating a brand-new mobile app with an existing back-end can be challenging, particularly concerning companies with outdated legacy systems. In some cases, integrating a mobile app may require legacy software modernisation first.
Mobile apps communicate to enterprise servers using APIs, so getting the API strategy right is essential. Unfortunately, API design that balances both excellent user experience and security can be challenging; nevertheless, it is vital for an enterprise mobile app; because the APIs are integrated with business functions, they must meet high-security standards.
The project could be long-term if an enterprise starts developing a mobile app from scratch. During the mobile app development phase, a portion of colleagues will be able to use components in a low-code development phase until the final product is ready. Most enterprises outsource their development to a dedicated development team to boost their development capacity, thus quickening the process altogether.
Mobile app distribution differs from standard software distribution. There is no master copy of the app, and the entire process is conducted through the app markets, thus leading to additional legal work required to distribute the mobile app.
What should you consider before building a mobile application?
Before starting with an enterprise app, businesses should consider the following.
Knowing the company’s business objectives is paramount before proceeding with an enterprise mobile app. For instance, what does the company plan to achieve with a mobile application? Who will be using it, and how?
Undoubtedly, the application’s functionality and success partially depend on how well a company defines its goals in enterprise app development.
Enterprise mobile application development is complex. Not only does it require development by specialists, but it must also comply with departmental administration and legal standards. Thus, deciding who will be in charge of those before looking for software developers is better. Also, do not forget that the employees need to be trained to use the enterprise app.
using enterprise apps can increase the risk exposure for sensitive company data, particularly if they use their own smartphone devices. App builders will be aware of this and ensure that the security system is watertight and that staff using the app can securely transfer any data without endangering corporate information.
Integrations with other applications
Will the protected app need to integrate with other applications? Likely so, meaning that app developers must factor this in before designing the app. Most employees and staff already use a plethora of applications, and these must be considered before the app design phase begins.
Choosing the platform
You must decide which platforms your enterprise application will run on and plan the development accordingly. For example, if employees use the enterprise mobile app on their own devices, the app must be ready for cross-platform mobile development to work on various devices and platforms.
Helmes – A modern approach to enterprise mobile application development
In the fast-paced digital era, companies do not want to lose significance to the more innovative competition that has embraced modernisation. This is also true for mobile application development.
Enterprise mobile app development and integration processes differ from consumer-facing mobile apps. Because of that, building enterprise-grade mobile apps is challenging, time-consuming, and expensive.
However, the investment and effort can outweigh the drawbacks, especially if considering mobile app development outsourcing a job to a dedicated development team.
In today’s world, every enterprise has to keep up with innovation to succeed. Creating enterprise mobile apps is a step towards digitalisation. Moreover, it is an investment in the organisation’s competitiveness. Furthermore, developing an enterprise mobile app allows companies to streamline the workflow and decrease costs.
Even though enterprise mobile application development has challenges, its benefits outweigh the problems.
Thus, if your company does not have an enterprise mobile application, you should invest in one and consider mobile app development outsourcing to build an enterprise app.
Mobile app development outsourcing – why it is better
Some consider mobile app development outsourcing, especially abroad, high risk. For others, it is business as usual that produces excellent results.
There are a whole host of fears when it comes to outsourcing. Clients fear losing control or losing proprietary knowledge.
These are solvable problems.
In a professional kick-off meeting, the client should see the entire team of people who will build their app. Furthermore, we will insist they bring more than a manager, too. Companies like Helmes cannot understand business mobile app requirements without all the relevant stakeholders present for us to pick their brains.
Once our teams understand a business’s needs, we get to work. We will present sketches, make adjustments, re-sketch — wash, rinse, and repeat as many times as necessary. To control budget and scope, we will use agile methods to minimise advanced planning and work in two-week iterations, with decisions needed by our clients after each iteration.
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