Enterprises spend millions of dollars on mobile app development, win design awards, survey thousands of people, and even deliver the marketing push for their apps. But their enterprise apps fail. Why is that?
More than 1.5 billion smartphones are in use, worldwide while mobile internet usage now exceeds desktop web usage. Apps account for 51% of digital media time in all.
The Prime Problem
Marketers today devise ways thinking of ‘campaigns’ rather than client connectivity. The campaign hype wears off but lack of connectivity does not build any loyalty. Engagement and retention are not possible with just campaigns.
Social media sites have boosted the need for relationships and connectivity and leveraging them is one of the most important aspects of marketing today.
Here’s where most enterprises go wrong and what they need to do to stay ahead of the competition:
Short term thinking Marketing people are forced to think short term, with campaigns which extend only from 3-12 months. These campaigns do not provide enough insight into our users, and even do not help gain feedback for improvement of the application over time.The Starbucks application for example tried gamification in December 2011 and now accounts for nearly 15% of all transactions made through Starbucks operated stores in the US. Starbucks first launched a simple app into the market and then expanded on it over time using customer feedback and analytics. The app processed nearly $US1.5 billion in payments by 2014.
Not useful enough Many enterprise apps offer ‘purchasing options’ to engage with users. This strategy is known to backfire for most companies. Mobile apps are useful when a problem is solved. One should point out a customer problem and then have a mobile app solve it.Commbank was the one of the first banks to launch an application that interfaces with personal bank accounts. Hence their customers can check account balances, transfer money, and do much more, from their mobile phone. New features are introduced consistently to appease the customers too. Once an app solves a real world problem, users will come back to it regularly.
Same old apps recycled Most enterprise apps have little wow-factor. People do not need a tool to buy more or engage with business. Consumers want to be moved and one should use apps as tools that to impress customers.SpaNet for example is known to ship 10,000 spa units every year. They built a home automation mobile application that customers could use to control Spa from anywhere. So SpaNet customers can preheat their spa as they drive on a holiday.There are no purchase options and nothing about the company. The app is a useful tool to help customers operate the spa unit.
The reality of mobile app strategies today
Mobile app strategies now are becoming too lame and clichéd because of app development and quality control issues. About 44 percent defects are found by the user, while half of them provide direct feedback. Public user reviews account for 20% of feedback through the app stores, according to Perfecto Mobile 2014 survey.
Too many apps of diverse values are released without sufficient quality testing. Hence testing and certification processes need to come into play if a brand is to avoid damage caused by disappointed and angry end users.
Top challenges faced by developers and other professionals
Insufficient device coverage is one of the prime challenges faced by developers followed by lack of reliable automation and requirement of more coverage for test scenario executions in less amount of time. They have to adapt to new dynamics emerging in real time today.
The fast pace of volatile changes in mobile app development is putting undue pressure on time taken for design and development. New devices, several OS enhancements, sensors and third-party plug-ins are forcing the companies to proceed to development without comprehensive evaluation and ideation of the apps. Compatibility with platforms and a growing number of variables of development also creates issues for developers for robustness and security. The overall process has been compressed as release schedules have come to weeks instead of several months.
The smartphone features have increased the complexity with respect to several smartphone features including connectivity, screen size, sensors and the like. Quality of the apps is dependent on thorough testing, analysis and client side visibility, for which the time required is huge.
Huge User Expectations
With every advancement, user expectations have skyrocketed. E-commerce websites now load in six to ten seconds but mobile users expect more. Google is trying for one-second content load target, and several companies are following it. Studies show that the patience of users has dried up and they are ready to ditch applications in the wake of response delays.
Building an app that doesn’t fail
In order to ensure application quality and success, a new approach is required.
As a mobile developer, several components are required in building an app to ensure its success. If bugs and errors taint the user’s experience, the effort is wasted.
The important thing is to plan well and prevent the failure from the beginning.
Apps should boast of the same quality experience across all mobile platforms and perform well across multiple mobile devices, OS and networks.
A positive end-user experience is possible when testing strategies help ascertain the pit falls in the first place.
Improving Overall App Quality
In order to improve mobile app quality, a three-phased approach is recommended:
Use a cloud-based Device-as-a-Service platform for sufficient device and OS coverage and focus on testing.
Implement a tool for unattended testing with automating device testing to test more with greater consistency. It should be a scalable and dynamic testing solution
Deploy a monitoring system for quick detection of performance issues for improved quality.
So why do apps fail? Lack of planning and strategy is the primary reason. Mobile app testing that is often overlooked should achieve priority during and after launch.
An efficient app compatible with all platforms and that is performance-driven is key to success. Also the app should solve a problem that customers face, rather than just being a part of the app bandwagon.