11 Steps for Successfully Developing an Enterprise Mobile App
Developing an enterprise mobile app can significantly increase productivity levels and customer satisfaction and lead to overall improved business operations by streamlining tasks and communications. However, building custom mobile applications requires a degree of experience and up-to-date technical aptitude that can be challenging to meet, even for companies with full-time in-house developers.
Many businesses find that after developing a mobile app in-house, it still needs professional enterprise application development services to improve the usability and functionality of the app. While mobile app development is a costly process, it’s usually more cost-effective and time-efficient to outsource the project to experts who can ensure your app’s success.
A custom mobile app development company like High Seas has expert crew members to guide the course of your mobile app development process with skill and experience you can trust.
This guide will familiarize you with the steps that enterprise mobile app development should entail. By informing yourself of these steps, you’ll be prepared to take the leap into your custom app development when the time comes to shove off from shore and get your app development expedition underway.
Three Types of Enterprise Mobile App Use Cases: Who Will Use It?
The first step in your enterprise mobile app development is identifying who will use the app. Will it be employees, departments, or company-wide?
We have learned how an enterprise mobile app can greatly benefit a large organization by improving communication, business operations, and data management. The benefits are many, but the key to a successful enterprise mobile app development project is defining clear use cases that address a specific business need.
Employee-level enterprise mobile app development is intended only for internal employee communication and tasking functions. These mobile apps are designed to ensure a smooth workflow and may include, for example, a short list of features that help managers track the status of a project and identify any potential problems that could cause operational delays.
Recently, we created a mobile application designed for streamlining the prescription-writing process, and it set MediScripts firmly above the competition. While MediScripts works with a single prescriber in an independent clinic, the app can also be used by a large group of clinics operating under a central administrator or a group of multiple physicians and administrators.
Department-level enterprise mobile app development is a bit more complex than employee-level apps. By working with an external enterprise application development service, your organization can develop an app that not only helps with communication and tasking but also streamlines the processes of different departments and their varying responsibilities.
Departmental mobile applications focus on integrating requirements or processes within a particular department. These are often some of the more time-consuming operations that could benefit from simplified department-wide mobile tools.
For example, the marketing department in a large organization is directly related to sales, which affects the finance department. A mobile application could organize and simplify the data-sharing between these departments to help with various tasks and keep each department running smoothly.
Previously, our enterprise mobile app development company built a fully customized mobile app that allows Paragon, a Bay Area real estate firm, to become the go-to for high-end real estate in the area. The app includes a marketing center with an unparalleled design and UX that allows Paragon to fully control their brand presentation while giving autonomy to their agents by making day-to-day processes and tasks a breeze. Paragon’s departmental mobile app includes different access levels for different company roles. For example, agents have different functions and features available than administrators.
Company-level enterprise mobile app development optimizes internal processes and operations for employees and their departments and typically includes database access and real-time updates that keep employees and executives on the same page at all times. By integrating all employee and company processes, organizations can achieve optimized operations that are streamlined and quick to access.
Our enterprise application development company built an app for Health Science Interactive that offers their clients a tool that fixes communication breakdowns in the patient transfer process from hospitals through post-acute care. The app was designed to reduce hospital readmittance rates and provides an integrated digital communication landscape that includes multiple providers, treatment locations, and administrators.
How to Develop a Robust Enterprise Mobile Application
Developing a custom enterprise mobile application requires not only a thorough understanding of your goals for the app, it also requires an awareness of what your users need and want from the mobile app. These steps will familiarize you with the development process an app goes through when a custom mobile app development company takes your vision and turns it into reality.
1. Get to Know Your Company’s Goals and Objectives
Before hiring your chosen enterprise app development company, it’s crucial that you first identify and understand the intricacies of your business and the problems you’d like your mobile application to solve.
Take the time to assess the specific needs your new iOS or enterprise Android app needs to address and improve to ensure you’re building an app that aligns with your overall company strategy.
Collecting data from users to augment your company’s goals and objectives for your mobile application is a particularly helpful strategy, because in the end, they are the ones that will be using the application. Direct input from the people using the finished app will help guide its creation and ensure it meets the needs of the end users.
2. Pick Your Development Team
When choosing who will handle your enterprise mobile app development, many large companies with dedicated in-house developers choose to use their existing teams since they have an understanding of company culture and relationships with other departments that can quicken the development process.
You may be tempted to utilize your existing in-house developer team rather than outsourcing the project to an enterprise mobile app development company. While that may be feasible if your company retains software developers on staff, you should keep in mind there are some risks associated with in-house enterprise development.
Some of the largest hurdles with developing mobile applications in-house is a lack of resources and expertise that allows the project to move quickly, as well as difficulties with project management. There’s also the risk of potential holdups to the project’s timeline due to departmental silos and lengthy approval processes.
Mobile app development can be a complex, timely, and costly process, so it’s often the best solution to hire a reliable and experienced enterprise mobile app development company that can help ensure your mobile app project is a success. Professional app developers will have the expertise and resources necessary to create the high-quality app your business needs without the potential hiccups that may arise from using an in-house team.
In addition, the enterprise application development company should be able to work closely with your organization to understand your specific needs and project requirements and ensure you understand the process they’ll use for development.
3. Request a Cost Estimate
Once you’ve selected your enterprise app development company, it’s important to discuss the budget and timelines for the project. This will help ensure that both parties are on the same page from the beginning and avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunications down the line.
Be sure to ask for a comprehensive cost estimate that includes all fees associated with enterprise app development, such as tech stack, design, user experience, quality assurance testing, and post-launch maintenance. You should also inquire about what features and functionalities are included in their estimate to get a clear understanding of what you will be paying for. The most impactful factor influencing your enterprise mobile app development price is the complexity of your custom app.
A professional enterprise application development company will be able to assess the scope of the project and give you an accurate idea of the overall development cost of your mobile app.
4. Choose the Tech Stack
After you’ve spent time getting to know your company’s goals and objectives for enterprise mobile app development, the next step is determining which tech stack you or your enterprise mobile app development company will use to create your app.
The tech stack includes the programming languages that will be used to build your app, the frameworks, tools, platform, how it integrates with third-party apps, the server, and the type of security protocols. Another important distinction when choosing the tech stack is whether it will be a custom iOS app development or simultaneously built for Android phones.
Deciding which tech stack is best suited for your company’s custom mobile application is based on many factors, including the app’s purpose, target audience, your budget, and timeline.
There are many options available for mobile app development tech stacks. With so many options, doing your research and consulting an enterprise mobile app development company can help you decide on the tech stack for your enterprise mobile app development project.
5. Define Your Enterprise Mobile App Specifications
There are some key specifications to keep in mind when planning an enterprise mobile app that will be used by employees on a daily basis to ensure consistent accessibility. There are also some features or specifications that are nice to have but not strictly necessary for every business’s needs.
You’ll definitely want to ensure your enterprise app development company creates your mobile app with scalability in mind, meaning as your business grows, the app should be capable of supporting an increasing number of users.
It’s also important that your app is secure, with login credentials for each user and data encryption in place that protects company information. The next necessary specification is that the app has an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that allows all users regardless of technical prowess to navigate the app to perform their job functions.
Other specifications to consider when developing an enterprise mobile app:
- Push Notifications: Essential tools for keeping employees connected and engaged, push notifications help ensure important information reaches recipients in real time whenever necessary.
- Real-time Updates: Going hand in hand with push notifications, real-time updates keep employees informed with new data and insights as soon as they become available. These updates could be designed to provide personnel with new information related to their field or be company-specific updates that help employees with decision-making, responding to customer inquiries, and collaborating with colleagues.
- Online/Offline Sync: A mobile enterprise application platform that can only be accessed when users have a strong mobile data connection can severely impact worker productivity. A mobile app that requires an online connection will also be unusable if the server goes down or if there are other network issues, leaving workers without a way to perform essential job functions. Adding online/offline sync to your mobile application’s specifications will ensure employees can continue working when they don’t have a strong signal or there are network connectivity issues. Once they’re back online, all changes will be synced and no productivity will be lost.
- Cloud Storage: Cloud storage is becoming the norm for many businesses when planning the specifications they’d like included in enterprise application development services. Cloud storage keeps data accessible and secure from wherever your company personnel are in the world. Another benefit of cloud storage is it removes the need for employees to carry around devices filled with sensitive data that could easily be lost or stolen. Beyond the accessibility and security standpoints, cloud storage also provides an easy way for businesses to back up data in case of an emergency or failure event. Even if the on-site server is compromised, your company data is still available in the cloud so business can continue without loss of productivity.
- Bluetooth Connectivity: Another helpful feature is Bluetooth connectivity, which allows the discovery and pairing of devices. Using Bluetooth, devices can share information and resources without being physically connected.
High Seas partnered with Willow, a visionary Bay Area mobile healthcare company to transform the lives of moms with a Bluetooth connected Wearable Breast Pump controlled by a mobile app. The app contains all of the tools, information, metrics, and data for the Wearable Breast Pump to help women achieve their breastfeeding goals without the hindrances of wires, external tubes, and dangling bottles.
At High Seas, we handle your app’s necessary firmware updates on user devices to ensure there’s no lost connection during device pairing.
6. Start Your Enterprise Mobile App Wireframe and Prototyping
After you’ve gathered all your enterprise mobile app development requirements and put together a project team, it’s time to start wireframing your app. The purpose of wireframing is to establish a guide for designers and developer teams to create prototypes of your enterprise mobile app that will meet users’ needs. The following tips will have you well on your way to creating an effective enterprise mobile app wireframe.
Here are the important components of creating a wireframe for mobile applications:
- Identifying base-level users’ roles and functions
- Identifying intent and the underlying system
- Establishing content, relationships, and pathways
- User testing
Sometimes a high-fidelity wireframe is necessary when the wireframe requires comprehensive user testing. This may be the case if the wireframe or mobile app prototype needs to be presented to all users and stakeholders, or if investors want to get a thorough understanding of what an app offers before investing.
Other times, a high-fidelity wireframe isn’t necessary if the goal is to show the UI/UX teams what the current design and functionalities are.
The most important information on your wireframe and prototype should be visible above the fold, meaning visible without scrolling down. Don’t overcrowd the screen, though. Too much information and content can be overwhelming on a small screen.
7. Design Your Enterprise Mobile App UI/UX
After the wireframe is completed, it’s time to start designing your enterprise mobile app UI/UX. The focus here is on how your enterprise mobile app will look and feel for users when they download and use it. Creating a visually appealing and user-friendly interface is essential to engaging your users.
Solid UI/UX designs have several features in common, all of which contribute to a mobile app’s functional and operational success. When designing the UI/UX for enterprise mobile applications, consider the following:
- Keep it simple: Enterprise mobile apps need to be easy for anyone to use and understand. Complex interfaces only frustrate users who may already have reservations regarding switching their job functions to a mobile app.
- Intuitive interface: Users should be able to quickly learn how to use and understand the app without reading a lot of documentation or watching a tutorial.
- Compatibility: It’s imperative that your custom Android or iOS app development project is accessible on a variety of devices, operating systems, and screen sizes. This is an essential part of the design process since many users don’t use the same type of device to access a mobile application.
- Attention to detail: Small details make a big difference in the effectual design of user interface and user experience. This attention to detail includes everything from the size, shape, design, and color combination of icons to the way information is laid out within the application. Carefully designed user interfaces lead to a well-crafted user experience, both of which are key to a successful mobile application.
8. Begin the Coding Process
During the coding stage, your custom mobile app development company creates all the app functions and specifications, implements integrations, and considers the design feasibility of the app’s functionalities.
The first step in the coding process is the selection of the mobile app development platform, most commonly Android and iOS. Depending on whether the app will be built for one platform or cross-platform determines which programming language will be most appropriate for your custom app project. Languages that could be used include Java, Objective-C, C++, Swift, Kotlin, C#, and React.
After choosing the app development platform and coding language, the next step is to write the code. Besides writing it according to the selected development platform and coding language, the code must be integrated with data sources, databases, data storage, and APIs.
Source control is a crucial element of the coding process and allows the developer team to follow a parallel path, manage their codebase, track all changes, and collaborate with other members of the developer team. Source control acts as a “checkpoint” for code. If anything goes wrong during the coding process, developers can easily revert to a previous version of the app.
Compiling is the final step of the coding process. Compiling converts written code into a form that can be executed by the mobile enterprise application platform.
9. Run Multiple Tests and Perform Quality Control
Before deploying a custom enterprise mobile application, the application code needs to go through a variety of tests to ensure it is up to standard and will function as intended without error.
Some of the tests used as a component of enterprise application development services are:
- Usability Testing: Developers observe users attempting to perform tasks with the mobile application to assess the functionality and usability of the app. With these observations, the developer team forms hypotheses that guide subsequent iterations of the application to improve features and functionalities.
- Simple A/B Testing: A/B testing is a simple experiment where users are shown two or more variants of a page at random. Using statistical analysis, developers are able to determine which variation performs better for a given conversion goal. This goal will vary depending on what developers are hoping to achieve.
For example, if the goal is to get users to sign up for a mailing list, and one variation produces more new sign-ups, that variant has performed better.
- Multivariate Testing: Multivariate testing is a technique for testing which combination of modifiable variables performs the best for a given goal out of all possible combinations. This can include everything from user interface aesthetics to functionalities, layouts, and more.
- Code Quality: Developers perform deep analysis on code to find and eliminate any bugs to ensure the finished software has clean, well-documented code free of errors that might hinder the functionality of your custom mobile application.
- Unit Testing: The smallest executable components of a mobile application are individually and independently validated to ensure they are operating and functioning as intended.
- Combination Testing: Because mobile applications consist of many coordinated units working together to produce the UI/UX intended result, it’s necessary to test these individual combinations to uncover any issues between coordinated units.
- Functional Testing: The objective of functional testing is to test each function of the mobile app by providing the appropriate input to verify the output conforms to the functional requirements of the mobile app’s specifications.
- Integration Testing: When developing a mobile app that relies on data from multiple sources and third-party integrations, it’s crucial to ensure the various integrated components of the app work together correctly.
- Security Testing: It’s paramount that your custom enterprise mobile application is protected against potential security threats. Security testing comprises different strategies including penetration testing to evaluate whether the application is susceptible to potential security risks so they can be mitigated or eliminated.
- User Testing: User testing evaluates how users navigate the mobile app, which features they are drawn to and use, and what tasks they are trying to accomplish with the app. Developers can identify potential problems by observing how users interact with the app.
10. Deploy Your Enterprise Mobile App
Your enterprise app development company’s deployment strategy will vary depending on the mobile app platform being used. Generally, deploying an app on iOS requires going through the App Store, while Android mobile apps are deployed through the Google Play store.
Before deploying an app to the App Store or Google Play Store, developers may deploy directly to devices for the purposes of beta testing and enterprise deployments. If your custom mobile app is intended only for internal employees, developers can deploy directly through iOS Enterprise for Apple devices or Play Console for Android devices.
If your custom mobile app is intended for a wider user base through the App Store or Google Play Store, the developer team must wait to deploy until the app submission has been reviewed and accepted. After it’s accepted by the App Store and Google Play Store, the app is ready for deployment and can be downloaded by users.
11. Request for Support and Maintenance
Enterprise mobile app development is not a one-time investment that results in an app that will continue working as effectively as it did initially. It’s an ongoing process requiring regular maintenance and support to maintain secure, effective functioning.
While this may seem like an additional expense, it’s crucial for the success of your mobile application. As your business grows, it’s likely you’ll discover new requirements for both your business and the way you need your custom application to function. Support and maintenance services help to ensure that your custom enterprise application is always up to date with the latest security patches, features, and functionalities.
It’s important to partner with an enterprise mobile app development company that offers reliable support and maintenance services to ensure the success of your mobile application in the long term.
Build Your Custom Enterprise Mobile App with High Seas
Now that you’re familiar with the steps a custom enterprise mobile app undergoes during development, you’ll see why we tell people they’re likely to save time, money, and headaches by outsourcing the project to a professional app developer.
Our crew at High Seas are experienced app developers with a history of successful projects that have revolutionized the way companies do business. With our mobile app development services, you’ll be able to streamline operations, increase productivity and customer satisfaction, and boost your bottom line. Contact us to get your enterprise mobile app development project started.