There are good apps, there are great apps, and there are terrible apps.
The difference between them all boils down to strategy.
You already know that solid app development can seriously impact the performance of your product or business – and you also know that it can help you snag a piece of what’s quickly becoming a $101 billion app market.
So how do you get there?
Just like a killer business model, a strategic plan for app development will guide the success of your project, and it all starts with clarity. A vague, jumbled planning period is going to send your development flying off the rails. You can’t afford to let that happen.
It’s time to get clear-headed about your app development. Success depends on having all the right information available to the right people from the very start. Just like a business model, your strategies will fuel the development processes themselves – not just serve as an administrative roadmap.
Let’s unbox the key strategies for amazing app development, smooth deployment, and consistent maintenance for enterprise companies.
Understanding Platform, Purpose, Process, and Price
Starting with the end in mind, there are a lot of pieces to align up-front. You get that.
The tricky part is driving all that information directly into the app development process. Obviously, one of the biggest factors here is choosing the right development partner from the start, but nailing down a core set of specifics will help ensure that all the right pieces fall into place:
- Product/App Description: Pinpoint exactly what the product does and how the app helps customers interact with it. Keep this simple and direct (two to three bullet points at most).
- Value Proposition: Define your target market and clearly state the benefits of using your app. If you’ve already developed a consumer profile, use it. You should always be able to complete the statement: “we will build this so our customers can do that.”
- Product Capabilities: Make a simple list or table of features and benefits. From this table, it should be clear why customers should want your app.
- Target Market: Don’t just focus on who your customers are; find out where they are. There are multiple channels to push out your app – are you positioning your app for iOS or Android deployment (and why)? Segmentation can come in handy here.
- Competitive Landscape: Lay out the magic quadrant that highlights your competitors and their products compared to yours. Know where you have an edge on the competition, and identify how you can further position your app to support that edge.
- Establishing Timelines: Write down a rollout schedule. It’s okay if this is tentative, but some kind of foundation is a must.
- Go-to-Market Strategy: Identify your mobile marketing strategy – what does your funnel look like? What are the CTAs? How does this align with sales initiatives?
- Enterprise Vision: Specify business outcomes for the next major release (or releases) moving into the future. This should be a simple statement about where the product will be years down the road, defined by simple, actionable metrics.
All of this information is very helpful to developers. It allows them to think strategically, not just jam out code.
Business Objectives and Metrics
Take another look at those specifics above.
Now, imagine an ideal quarterly report. It’s clean, it’s loaded with useful metrics and KPIs, and it already contains a lot of the info you need to get started. Now you just need to gather that info upfront for both your business and your developer.
For example, if you dive into your online and offline business analytics and explore your customer profiles and segments, you’ll probably discover whether you should push an iOS app out first, or Android, or both. Put simply, you can (and should) use your existing business metrics to fuel your app development.
Now let’s talk about how you’re going to measure success. On that quarterly report, you’ve got a nice set of company metrics:
- Market Share
- Cost savings
For your app, you’ll look at very similar metrics – but they’ll focus on the indicators appropriate to that environment. This is an easy place to mess up, because it’s tempting to simply apply your company metrics to your app. But that’s not necessarily how the app market works, and you won’t get the most meaningful information possible if you go down that road. Fortunately, those indicators from above need only a few tweaks to turn them into “app metrics,” including:
- MAU (Monthly Active Users)
- App rating and reviews
- Retention rate of app usage
Next, it’s time to harness those metrics to craft a product roadmap. You know where you envision your company within the next five years, so decide how your app fits in. This information is invaluable to both your business and your developer. It might be hard to envision the app’s evolution over a long period of time, but you must at least think a few versions ahead or you will struggle to prioritize features.
Once you have your vision and roadmap, align those company and app metrics. Harmonizing these sets of indicators will help you build out an app that will be able to grow with you (rather than in a weird direction that will render it obsolete in a couple of years).
Put simply, it you want an exceptional app in the end, then get the right info out there upfront. Nail down specifics that will feed all aspects of the development process – and that will help your developer meet your needs and expectations. The greater the clarity from the start, the fewer bumps you’ll experience down the road.
Fortunately, you’ve already got so much of that information handy from measuring the performance of your business. Now all you need to do is leverage technology to support that overall vision. As you scale, so will your app, and your customers will stick around for the ride.
At 6kites, our project strategy starts with gathering the info we need and putting it all on the table. Through our “Product Overview” process, we help customers assemble all the data for a project upfront before development ever begins so the app is positioned to succeed. To learn about our processes for exceptional software, contact us today.