While the line between traditional ISVs and “apps” has changed how the technology industry is structured, it has become critical for B2B software vendors to create mobile applications of their own in order to keep up with their pure “app” counterparts.

Yet, many have not yet taken the plunge to “go mobile” and for the most part, this is due to the fact that they are not sure how to go about doing so. Not only are many traditional ISVs only offering on-premise software programs, but the push into the cloud has difficult for some, non-existent for others. With changing business environments that favor a mobile workforce, creating an app is an opportunity for traditional ISVs to boost growth and adapt their offers in order to meet the needs of their users.

Why do I need a mobile app?

It’s no wonder that mobile apps are popular when we all spend so much time on our phones. Killing “dead” time on public transportation, waiting in lines, or generally when we’re on the go, we all seem to be glued to our phones for a very large part of our day (and night). Staying connected even outside of business hours is a given for top-level decision-makers who expect a seamless user experience across devices; and even for the lambda user, it helps make the best use of one’s time so as to increase productivity. And let’s not forget about the “working vacation” which for some has become inevitable. Adapting to such changes in user culture is essential in order to stay on top of the trend and ahead of the competition; more and more it is becoming a must-have for software vendors instead of just a nice to have.

How can I create one?

Creating an app can be a daunting process, especially if mobile technology is not your forte. Defining the scope of the app’s purpose and what exactly it will do is a fundamental aspect that needs to involve your marketing team, whether or not you decide to develop the app internally. Of course, if you do decide to outsource, finding the right development team can be challenging. Choosing one that works with you and not just for you can mean the difference between launching a successful app and one that never takes off. Let’s not forget that with over 2 million apps available on iOS and Android, users have the luxury of choice, and won’t hesitate to get rid of the apps they don’t like or that aren’t useful.

The preparatory phase to understand your buyer personas should not be taken lightly. Who is going to use your app and for what purpose needs to be at the forefront of your development. Your WHY needs to be clearly formulated before the first line of code is written. Having a clearly formulated goal in mind will drive the path your app will take when it is being developed; however, keep in mind that you are going to have to test your hypothesis on real live users in order to ensure you’re on the right track and developing an app that people actually want to use.

Codester’s article entitled How To Create an App: The Complete Guide is a great resource if you are considering going down this road. It outlines, in eight distinct chapters, the A to Z of application development from the benefits of creating an app, to the types of apps you can build, and what languages to consider. It also includes a concise, step-by-step guide to creating your own app which outlines building a wireframe (the storyboard), the back-office functionalities, and of course testing, testing, testing. And although it is not explicitly mentioned, it is implied that agile marketing must be an integral part of the development process in order to ensure the successful launch of your new app.

Conclusion

Apps are no longer just the “toys” we like to play with while we’re out and about, but have become valuable resources for business people in the day-to-day. As traditional B2B ISV’s realize the importance of apps to business productivity, more and more will launch apps of their own in order to rival their native app competitors. Many may even be open to OEM partnerships in order to do so, which presents a significant opportunity for other ISVs and mobile application developers alike.

Moving into the cloud for literally everything is something that will eventually happen; apps certainly are ahead of the game because of their inherent cloud/SaaS business models, but there is market share that’s left to be had. IoT, blockchain, machine learning and artificial intelligence, not to mention AR/VR, are all technologies that have started to revolutionize how we do business, and certainly will continue to do so in years to come. Finding an innovative idea for an app that capitalizes on this technology is the key to success.

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