Enterprise Mobile Application Development: How to Start Guide for Business Owners
This guide will help an enterprise manager go from an idea to the beginning of the enterprise mobile application development.
You will know:
- Typical mistakes when creating enterprise applications.
- How to formulate business requirements for an application and explain it to developers.
- What documentation is needed and how much will the development cost.
- How to choose an IT company that will give the maximum result
If you are not aware of what an enterprise mobile application is and for what purposes, we talked about it here: How Can Enterprise Mobile Apps Help Grow Your Business
The guide will be useful to those who definitely intend to outsource the development to an outsourcing IT company. Use the algorithm from this article (or share it with the responsible employee) to get around the pitfalls and get a guaranteed result.
For convenience, the entire process is divided into stages and each stage into steps. By adhering to these instructions and with a high degree of probability, you will successfully start developing your enterprise application.
So where to start developing?
Stage 1 – Search for ready-made solutions
Step #0 (most important): check for ready-made solutions.
This mistake is made by two-thirds of the clients who come to us.
If the business processes that you want to optimize are typical for many enterprises, then with a high degree of probability there is already software that can help you.
A quick way to find such software is to find out what your competitors are using to solve similar problems. If there is such an opportunity, use it.
What’s wrong with ready-made solutions?
Be wary of free apps if data security is your top priority. It is not known what is “under the hood” of this software. Better contact a specialist for analysis.
Paid solutions are a good option if there is a product IT company behind them that understands the requirements of your business from the inside and develops its product according to them. As a rule, such software is sold by subscription. Evaluate it in terms of long-term profitability.
If the software evolves to meet the needs of your business, this is a decent option. Otherwise, developing your own software is the only right way.
And again: Do not neglect the search for ready-made solutions! Imagine how annoying it will be to find a ready-made version when development is in full swing.
Tip: The better you prepare for the start, the more money you will save later.
So, if you have already tried all the available solutions on the market and realized that nothing is suitable for solving your business problems, then it is time to create your own.
Stage 2 – Project preparation
Step #1 – Understand Your Goals and Objectives
You can of course handle this on your own, but multiple minds are always better than one. Therefore, we recommend that you highlight the keywords of your company and conduct a brainstorming session, during which you write down everything that comes to your mind:
- problems that you face in your production
- ideas you have for solving these problems
- the task that you would like to automate
- processes to be optimized
- goals you would like to achieve
The larger the list, the better. This will help you formulate the requirements for the application’s functionality.
Step #2 – Formulate and write down functional requirements
Make a list of the features you would expect in your finished application. Based on the results of the brainstorming session, write in simple words what you want the app to do skillfully.
Do not bother at this stage with the paperwork. The simpler and clearer it is, the better you will be understood. An example of a functional requirement: “The application must be able to track the balance of goods in the warehouse and notify the purchasing department that stocks are running out”
Tip: just in case, when the list of functions is ready, it is worth checking again if there are ready-made solutions because now you understand your needs in more detail and know what to look for.
Step #3 – Prioritize Features for the MVP Version
We recommend that you select the 3-5 functions you need most. This will allow you not to delay the development process and get a product that can be applied in your business in a short time.
It is also useful in that you quickly receive feedback about the application from employees, and, possibly, adjust the chosen direction of its development. This approach minimizes the cost of errors.
Step #4 – Design and prototype the main screens
Oftentimes, even hand-drawn screen layouts convey the essence of your project much more eloquently. Think about what an application might look like that solves your business problems. Draw some prototypes of your vision.
After going through the second stage, you will have the necessary minimum of materials with which you can contact the developers, while being understood and get a preliminary estimate of the cost and timing of the application development.
As a rule, this is enough to make the right decision about who you will start working with at the next stage.
Stage 3 – Choosing a developer company
Step #5 – Ask Performers for Evaluation
So, you already have 3-5 points with functional requirements and prototypes of screens for them, so it’s time to find out how much the development will cost and how long it will take.
Tip: Contact several companies at once (at least 3-5), so it will be easier for you to choose an artist.
As practice shows, from company to company the price can differ by several orders of magnitude. Do not rush to the cheapest option if the principle of price formation is not clear to you. Choose the company that can explain in a language you understand how their value is formed.
Here’s an example of what a competent project estimation looks like: Sample
Ready to estimate your project?
Tell us about your project and within 2-3 days you will receive a detailed estimate of the cost and terms of your application development.
Step #6 – Choose a development company that understands your business goals
Most of the development companies that have dealt with the development of mobile applications for enterprise clients will be able to give you an approximate range of prices and terms. Be prepared to answer clarifying questions about your project. The more details you can identify, the more accurate the estimate will be.
Tip: Pay attention to what clarifying questions the developers ask you. Questions that open up new perspectives on your tasks are a signal that you are communicating with professionals.
If after communicating new ideas do not appear, be careful, perhaps the company does not have enough experience in developing enterprise applications.
Stage 4 – Preparation of documentation for the start
Step #7 – Write down the technical task (TT)
The main purpose of the TT is to explain to the developer what needs to be done. At the same time, the format of the document does not matter, the main thing is that it is succinct, clear and understandable.
You can write such a document yourself, but it’s difficult. Yes, you may have a perfect understanding of an application idea, but translating it from the language of your business to IT is a difficult task. To do this, you can contact a business analyst, he will help you formulate expectations in technical language and record this in the documentation.
The development of technical specifications for a simple application takes 40 – 70 hours, for a complex one from 200 hours. The cost of an hour of work of a specialist is $22-29. You shouldn’t save on TK. It’s like a blueprint when building a house: one mistake and everything will collapse.
We help our clients with the development of technical specifications for free. Contact us for details.
Tip: If the application is going to evolve, then it is extremely important to take a modular approach to development. Functional blocks are divided into component parts, which gives flexibility in expanding functionality. The independence of functions makes it possible to scale the application without fear that something will break somewhere.
A modular approach is laid down at the stage of developing the terms of reference; at later stages, the transition to this methodology will entail additional costs. Consult with experts if this question is not unambiguous for you.
Step #8 – Create a design project of the future application
Based on your prototypes and terms of reference, the designer can already develop the visual part of the application. The cost of an hour of work of a specialist is $15-25. If you’ve prepared sketches of design prototypes, the work will take up to 40 hours.
Tip: there is no point in spending money on a mind-blowing design because the application is not designed for a wide audience. It will be used by employees of your organization, which means a simple and intuitive interface will be enough.
Step #9 – Apply for a re-evaluation of the project
Now that you have a detailed technical assignment and a design project for the application, it’s time to find out a more accurate final development cost. Use the advice from step #5.
After receiving 3-5 appraisal proposals from the developers, compare them with each other. If prices still differ by several orders of magnitude, then it is worth finding out the reason. You may have overlooked some of the risks. If prices are plus or minus in the same range, then you are on the right track, and your accompanying documentation is understood equally by everyone.
Step #10 – If everything is OK, start development
“Everything is OK” means that:
- You are 100% sure that there is no ready-made solution on the market
- You have a detailed technical specification and design project
- Developed have established themselves as specialists
- The cost and terms of development suit you
Otherwise, it is worth postponing the start and work to ensure that the above is fair for you.
If you have any question about enterprise mobile application development feel free to contact us.
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