If your business is planning a mobile software application, there are many steps and actions a business must consider and execute in order to ensure successful development and deployment of a mobile app. In order to design, develop and implement a mobile application, the business must first decide who will do the work. You will need to decide what type of team is most suitable to meet the needs of the organization and which framework and tools your team will use to accommodate the native app development or cross-platform mobile app project, as well as the technical, user and organizational needs of the business.
This article includes a brief summary of some of the considerations the business should include in its assessment so that you may effectively establish a team and select the appropriate framework and tools to complete your mobile application development project.
Steps in the Process
Keep in mind that the following information is meant to summarize the issues and provide you with a starting point. These are complex issues and business challenges and you will need the right team and approach to ensure that you consider all of these issues as well as the myriad of other details required to ensure success.
Selecting a Framework and Platform
The process of selecting a framework and platform for development will be driven by the requirements you have developed as noted above. If your team intends to develop a cross-platform or hybrid mobile app that will cross boundaries and allow you to serve clients or users with iOS or Android devices. While most mobile application development projects today are using a cross-platform approach, there are some projects that may be more suited for a native application development environment.
If, for example, you are building a business app for internal use only and you have provided your team with Android devices, you may wish to focus only on Android development (unless, of course, you expect your team to access the app at home or in other environs where they may wish to use iOS). Another example where it might be recommended to use a native app approach would be if you were planning to develop a graphics-heavy app or some other unique, specific application that will perform well on one operating system but is not as well supported by the alternative operating system.
Your team (whether internal or IT consulting) will choose tools that are appropriate and build a development environment that will be suitable for the features and the functionality you need. Cross-platform development tools like MEAN Stack (Mongo, Express JS, Angular and Node), Angular JS, Ionic, Flutter and React Native (to name a few), are commonly used for hybrid mobile application development. iPhone development tools might include Code Runner and XCode and for Android, Android Studio or Visual Studio might be selected.
If your business chooses an expert IT consultant to help you with your project, the team will review your requirements and recommend the best development environment and tools to meet your needs.
Building the Team
You have a few options for team building:
- Use an internal IT team
If you choose this option, you must be certain that your team has the skills, experience and time to complete this project or you will risk running over on time and budget and creating a mobile application that does not suit your requirements.
- Select an expert IT consulting team
This option is likely to result in success, provided of course that you carefully develop your requirements and that you interview and select your partner based on their experience, skills, accessibility and quality and workflow processes.
- Build a hybrid team comprised of internal and IT consulting team members
If you select his option, you must work with an IT consultant that has experience in hybrid environments, whether onsite, offshore or a mix of both, AND your team must have the skills and ability to work with IT partners. Both teams must enable collaboration with appropriate processes and workflow and reporting to ensure success
Planning for Deployment and Implementation
The project plan must include a comprehensive plan for roll-out including timing, whether you will deploy the app to all planned users at one time or in phases, by location, etc.
- Will the team members require training and, if so, what type and complexity and who will deliver the training
- Will you start with a ‘soft’ launch and roll out to one location or one group to build confidence and allow for learning and better execution of training
- Will you provide ‘train the trainer’ and assign ‘champions’ to help team members adopt the solution and encourage use across the organization
- What does your IT team need to do to be ready for roll-out in its various phases
- Do you need to make changes to hardware, network, etc. to support deployment and implementation
- What is your continuous improvement plan for gathering questions and comments and upgrading the mobile app
- What is your plan for customer support and questions as the app is rolled out
- Will you have live online support available and, if so, who will staff this function
- Will you gather comments and use those for upgrade
- Will you roll out the mobile app to all consumer customers at once or plan a domestic (vs international) roll out first.
- Is there a possibility of partnering with other software providers or suppliers to offer additional, integrated features now or in the future
- What is your pricing model (is the app free, an app that is free with in-app purchases or will you charge to download the app)
- How will you market the launch and ensure ongoing visibility
- What is your timing for upgrades and maintenance releases
This article is not designed to provide comprehensive details on the various aspects of planning and organizing for development of a mobile application. It is meant to provide a starting point and a foundation, so that your team can begin the discussion and the project plan.
Whether you decide on a cross-platform mobile application, hybrid mobile app approach or a native app approach for iPhone, iPad, Smart Watch or Android, you will need a comprehensive plan to ensure business success. A trusted IT consulting partner can help you conceive and develop your mobile application and improve results for your organization. For more information about mobile application development, visit our Blog.