Before developing a single mobile application, answer this question: How will an app strategy further your business or mission goals?
Building a business case to address this question begins with these steps:
- Create an environment for cross-departmental collaboration. The heavy lifting of creating a mobile app may fall to the IT department, but the project should tap into the expertise of all stakeholders.
- Focus on business strategy, not the latest trends. "Don't write an app just to say you have one. Look for an opportunity that can be a game changer," says Farhan Thawar, vice president of engineering for Xtreme Labs. Find ways to use mobile apps to cultivate new business and encourage engagement.
- Quantify business opportunities accurately. To justify the investment in development resources and ensure the potential return on investment, clearly define the desired results. This may include a combination of growing revenues, higher brand awareness, cost savings or increased staff productivity.
- Dig deep for hidden opportunities. Lextech Global services looks for ways to improve workflows and business processes for customers. "Before layering a mobile app on top of an existing business process, study how mobile workers are doing their jobs to look for new efficiencies," Lextech President Will Scott says. One rule of thumb: Wherever a clipboard is being used, replace it with a mobile app.
- Don't overlook possible "soft" benefits. Some important ROI data may not be easily quantifiable. "When a sales person uses a tablet with a customer, it might be a more enjoyable experience for both parties," Scott says. "It also makes companies look more contemporary."
Interested in learning more about how businesses can turn mobile apps into revenue generators? Read our feature story, "Making the Business Case for Mobile Apps" to learn more.