Understanding strategic direction and integration with the rest of a company’s IT stack are critical elements in making successful enterprise apps, according to Adam Meredith-Jones, partner at Chelsea Apps Factory.
Speaking at the Enterprise Apps World event in London this week, Meredith-Jones outlined the lessons learned by the mobile enterprise app developer during the four years in which it has been working with enterprise customers.
“We find now it’s a conversation, understanding what people want,” Meredith-Jones said, explaining that with the rapidly-changing mobile landscape, businesses are often in different situations and have different goals with each app project.
“It’s not just about a series of apps, it’s about how you use them to get a decent business result,” he added, explaining that sometimes a series of parallel roadmaps are needed as clients work out how they want to mobilise their business.
A sense of direction is also important as it will guide the development of apps that can become “new tools to do fundamental business activities”.
The development of enterprise apps also needs to take into account the full technology stack of enterprise organisations: “It’s not just about the device — the real challenge is getting that whole stack to work,” Meredith-Jones said.
“In an IT world it’s about the stack that connects the apps. That whole stack needs to work really well,” he explained, adding that modern middleware and back-up systems enable mobile apps to be much cheaper and easier to use.
Meredith-Jones added that companies with successful mobile app programmes are often those that don’t shy away from issues that will make second and third-generation apps do a better job.
Enterprise apps also need to be designed in such a way that employees will actually use them: “There’s no value without people actually using it. The best enterprise apps should not be huge and monolithic, they should help you do a task quickly and efficiently,” Meredith-Jones noted.
In January, professional services firm KPMG partnered with Chelsea Apps Factory as the first of a number of partnerships that will form the Digital Innovation Network, combining the industry knowledge of KPMG with the creativity and design skills of early stage start-ups.