How we Developed our First Enterprise Mobile Application
Originally published January 18, 2018, updated September 27, 2019
It was the winter of 2015, when we got a call from the Director of a B2B IT Products company.
He said that he needed help with developing a mobile enterprise application that would enable having all sales related conversations among the in-office and on-site sales team, on one platform. It had to be deployed in his team in the time span of a year. The issues that he wanted us to touch upon were –
Brand Compliance – Most often than not their on-site sales team had a month old sales template while the in-office team had the one with the changed logo and newer font style. This was creating an issue in keeping the same brand identity.
Poor Linking with the Sales Admin team – the next issue that he was facing was that for some reason or the other, there was a continuous 2-3 days delay in passing of the sales order details to the office admin. Even when the order detail used to reach the administration, it used to take them time to record it and carry the process forward.
It was going to be our first time developing a mobile enterprise application platform.
We knew that the only way we could have carried this project off as a one of many to come, if we could give them more than what they asked for in the same or less time frame and if we could save them some money, it would have been a plus.
This is the story of how we went about developing an app for company A (for the sake of confidentiality, we are going to call them Company A) that would make their sales processes smoother for the future to come.
We first started with a bit of digging in on the company’s present enterprise tools to get a clearer understanding of how they were using the tools. This entailed talking to the different business units, observing how their employees really used their corporate devices and the tools that they were installed with.
We had to pay special attention to the difference in what the company’s CEO told us about the challenges and the story that the individual domain heads had to narrate. One of the most important parts of the task was to ask a zillion questions, sometimes the same question in different contexts to make sure that the users’ exact pain points and preferences were captured.
Next step was to see how many of these tools were present with the A employees in mobile form. Because if a company doesn’t have a mobile component even in a time when the corporate culture has changed from 9 to 6 office premise restrictive to 24 hours virtual workplace life, it means that the whole architecture has to be changed and the mindset also needs to be worked upon.
Which we found, was not the case with A. They had mobile component in their enterprise tools.
With our pain point sheet, made after having many one-on-ones with different domain heads, ready, we then moved on the team that we knew would give the best reviews on what they have and what needs to be changed – the sales team.
Sales folks, in my experience, are the best people to interact with when you want to know exactly what the business needs to be more streamlined and faster. And generally, because Sales is one of the on-the-face teams that are known to get business in, their requirements are mostly never left unheard. So going to the Business Heads with their pain points is the fastest way to get buy-ins from the top management and making ‘now’ the answer to when to select mobile enterprise application platform.
Our experience didn’t fail me this time around too. When we went to the Business Heads with the composite pain points’ sheet, with the Sales ones highlighted, we got the sign off much more easily.
With the sign off from Business Unit, we then went on to the Business Analysis team to draft an answer sheet addressing the enterprise requirements in mobile application.
These are the things that we got added from my end in the requirement doc –
- Final Words on the app deployment platforms. We chose both iOS and Android, since the crowd was mixed and their offshore teams were also working on both the platforms.
- What is the user functionality that the employees would need? This would be based on how the group was presently using the tools.
- How would we test the software? We needed a software that would capture the bugs in the app
With the requirement and test plan ready and signed off, the next step was developing the app.
An enterprise app is generally an extension of an app that is on company’s PC. It is rarely a standalone app that is just on the device. And since we had decided that we will be deploying the app on both Android and iOS, the next step was to bring my team of Android and iOS developers in the picture.
But an hour long discussion with them took us away from our original plan of developing iOS and Android versions of the app.
When we discussed how the app was supposed to have the exact same functionalities and syncness in all the devices, we settled on developing a cross platform app – so that the enterprise mobile application features would run simultaneously on both the platforms. It was the ideal situation, as this way we would have achieved the similarity factor and it would have cost less both time and effort wise.
As an enterprise mobile app development services agency, we can only think of surviving long term when we think as our client’s partners and not their service providers. So even though developing iOS and Android apps individually would have worked in our favor, financially, we settled on Cross Platform app development because it was in A’s best interest.
With that settled, the next step was to finalize a tool for our enterprise app development process.
The development platform that we ended up selecting was Xamarin. Our reasoning behind this was that A. Xamarin is a component of Visual Studio suite, a development toolset offered by Microsoft and B. The coolness of Xamarin lies in the fact that it lets you reuse the business logic code among different platforms.
While we did ponder upon other tools for the project, like React Native and Apache Cordova, as we knew companies are shifting to react native platform for their cross platform apps, but seeing the intensity of work that would go into the project, we settled on Xamarin.
Once we all – our team and A’s office came in sync with the functionalities of the app and the development platform, it was smooth sailing from there. In about 6 months we were able to float out 2 releases of the app for the Sales team. And eventually, we moved on to developing an app for their HR team and then their logistics staff.
The learnings that we drew from the project was that the secret to efficiently develop mobile enterprise application is in understanding the pain points of your client’s team.
Unless you step into the team’s shoes and face the problems they face, you will never be able to create an app that genuinely gives some value and make their life easier.
Also, you can never successfully create an enterprise app if it is the exact opposite of what the team is used to working. The shift from PC software to mobile app should not be poles apart straight from day one. It should gradually happen in stages.
With this, we started our journey as an enterprise mobile app development company.
Between then and today, in four years we have become the enterprise app development company that a range of startups and fortune 500 agencies have trusted to help get a solution that solves their issues while streamlining their internal processes.
We have developed over 70+ enterprise mobile apps that are operating in over 20 different industries, while giving them all the same benefit – better process management and greater revenue.
Wish to know the nitty-gritties of project A? Contact us.
FAQs on Our First Enterprise App Development Project
1. What are different enterprise requirements in mobile application?
When we talk about enterprise level mobile apps, the set of requirements that any enterprise mobile app development company counts as success of the solution are:
- The application supports and grows with the team
- The enterprise mobile apps must support security and scalability
- The apps must solve the real, present-day issues of the users while having the scope to solve their future problems.
2. Why is enterprise mobility important?
There are multiple reasons why you should invest in enterprise mobile app development. Some of the most pivotal ones are:
- Effective communication
- Higher productivity
- Better employee involvement
- Real-time data sharing
- Robust security
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