How to not get fired while building an app!

Your top customer just got of the phone after complaining about the lack of a mobile app for your product. In a fit, you’d go about cranking one out over the next few weekends. Agreed, customer wow and all that!

Pause.

That’s exactly what you should not be doing (unless of course you’ve a few millions lying around un-noticed)!

There are many choices to be made: Native, Mobile Web, Hybrid, Cross-platform, Middleware

Here are 10 (see what I did there! :P) questions you should absolutely have answers for!

  1. Does the application require a lot of user interaction?

  2. Is there a requirement for rich user interface including (device specific) animations?

  3. Does the requirement necessitate leveraging device capabilities such as camera, location aware notifications, syncing with calendar etc.?

  4. Should the application allow the ability to work in offline mode?

  5. What are the target devices and operating systems on which the application should work on?

  6. Which side of the trade-off you want to be with – Great experience for users vs. Code Maintainability? Should there be a single code base targeting many platforms?

  7. Does the application enable data only for viewing or allow data to be modified as well?

  8. Does the application need to interact with existing enterprise systems such as ERP, CRM?

  9. How critical is security of data?

  10. What is the cost of developing the app in each of the options mentioned above?

Like in many cases, there is no one-size fits all strategy. But let’s indulge in it, anyway!

Native is the way – If the application demands leveraging device capabilities then, native is the best approach. This approach increases overall development cost however, enterprises can even consider staggered approaches for each of the native application development.

Hybrid/ x-platform ho! – If the application requires data to be viewed and enterprises require a single codebase to be maintained, then hybrid (HTML5) based responsive design approach works better. However, this approach will not provide the native look and feel.

Middleware Matters! – if the enterprise already has ERP, CRM systems in place, then either a well equipped cross-platform or middleware providing ERP and CRM connectors would be a better solution. However, this approach would increase the cost of development due to licensing cost.

Your mobile app, has to be built after you have the complete awareness of how your customer base is going to use and what their IT landscape looks like.

What platforms and middleware have you used before and what has been your experience with going mobile?

About the author:

Santosh Madyalkar, is the BU Head Mobility at Razorfish Neev Technologies – A Publicis Company. Neev is part of the ContractIQ network and has conceived mobile strategy for several consumer brands.

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