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Don't develop iPad apps for internal use until you answer these 3 critical questions

by Ryan Benson

June 4 2013

Ryan Benson is an app developer with PLAVEB, a professional website design firm and has hands-on experience in several enterprise app development projects.


Ryan Benson with design firm PLAVEB says blindly adopting the iPad for business is a zero-sum game

The writing is on the wall: Social media, cloud, mobile and analytics will change the way organizations work. Ironically, smaller businesses are benefiting a lot more from the newer technologies like tablets than most larger organizations. Most enterprises know that they must adapt to changing market.

During the last year, the field of enterprise application development has seen a huge surge in growth as many large organizations are working overtime to adjust with the changing world. This year is expected to see an increase in implementation of enterprise mobility. Legacy systems are either being enhanced by integration with internal mobile apps, or are being replaced by them.

While there is no denying the importance of mobile apps and enterprise mobility, the decision your enterprise takes should follow a well-defined mobility strategy. You need to analyze emerging opportunities and neutralize all possible threats.

Many enterprises are plunging into enterprise app development for tablets without charting a clear mobile strategy. Are you considering developing iPad apps for internal use? Before you begin the project, you must find answer to the following questions.

1. Do you really need that app for the iPad?

Most enterprises prefer to build internal apps to ensure security and offer a personalized experience to their employees. If you invest in mobile app development projects, one app will not suffice – the needs of different department and different tasks will dictate the kinds of apps your will need. It will be a huge investment; but, you will finally have mobility. The money will be well spent.

But, if there already is an app on the app store that can deliver what you want, it would be a waste of time and money if you create the same sort of app for internal use. It would be a lot better idea to create a corporate app store and let your employees access the app through it. By curating a secure app store offering a wide range of apps, you can easily fulfill the needs of your different departments.

2. Would an iPad app be enough to serve your needs?

Most large organizations do not have device consistency – employees from diverse departments use dissimilar products. Unless most of your employees use the iPad, the app you create may not be useful enough to all the employees. Mostly, iPad app development for enterprises works best when it is targeted at a certain group of users from a particular department.

For instance, if you create an app that allows your sales representatives to record all the information regarding a client in their iPad, analyze the information and respond on its basis, an iPad app may be great.

However, if you are planning to build an iPad app that caters to the needs of a broad range of users, you will need to ensure that all the people in the organization have the same devices. But most enterprises are now implementing BYOD – and BYOD is what drives tablets adoption in enterprises. So, you will have to build an app that works with iPad as well as other tablets. In this case, the cost of development may outweigh the benefits.

3. Are you sure that the app will boost employee productivity?

Tablets look like a device from the future. Picture your employees carrying the iPads around and using them in meetings and other events. There is a certain crispness in the images – the idea is really cool. If you have an app on this device, your employees may get a lot done in little time.

But unless the app is integrated with your existing work process, it will be nothing more than an expensive toy. Most enterprises apps have the capacity to integrate the existing enterprise web apps, and they enable the employees to access company data on the go.

For employees who need to work outside the company offices for long times, such apps are extremely useful. But, for employees sitting in front of their system most of the day, such apps do may not offer any real value.

Summing up

Enterprise mobility is a necessity. Smartphone apps can help boost employee productivity and can improve efficiency. However, iPad apps (and apps for other tablets) may or may not be useful, depending on the IT resources of the company and the primary tasks of the employees.

Ryan Benson is an app developer with PLAVEB, a professional website design firm and has hands-on experience in several enterprise app development projects.

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Comments

 
  • klewis
    10 months 2 weeks ago

    Great article and you bring up some good points. Its a tough decision for a business to make if they want to invest in iPads and mobile apps. They need to ensure they have the infrastructure to role it accordingly as well as a team of employees willing to buy into the new way of handling clients and sharing content. iPads won't be the right fit for every business but a good majority of them out there could really benefit from this tablet and it's unique apps available.

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