Mobile devices have changed virtually every aspect of our personal and business life. And that’s why enterprise mobile app development is at the center of the digital transformation revolution. If you’re looking to gain competitive advantage, increase productivity, create new revenue streams, and deliver increased value for your business, custom app development may be just what you need.
Enterprise mobile app development sets the bar high because custom app solutions must be efficient, well designed, integrate with other applications, portable, and most important – secure. Here are five app development best practices for your development or as you consider a development partner like Istonish.
1. Define Your Business Goal
What are you trying to accomplish – boost sales, increase efficiencies, improve customer service, lower costs, create a new revenue stream, improve conversion? The choices are endless. What is the outcome, or what will change in your business process today because of building this mobile app? What about the future?
The promise of business digital transformation delivered through custom mobile applications can create noise and lost opportunity. Increase your success by getting clear on your desired outcome and tie that to the development process.
For example, the goal for a custom mobile software application we built for the Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) Agency was to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species. To accomplish this objective, a mobile and data sharing solution that could efficiently and quickly conduct watercraft inspections, collect and manage a high volume of data was required.
Aquatic invasive species can wreak significant damage to Colorado’s lands and waters, hurt the economy, ruin recreational opportunities, and threaten public health if left unchecked.
2. Design for Your Target Audience
Consider the app or software solution’s target audience. Is this an internal application for your colleagues and employees? Is it a customer-facing app? Your target audience needs and the user experience are a key input into the custom software requirements.
CPW identified two primary audiences:
- CPW employees posted at multiple Aquatic Inspection Stations throughout Colorado
- Internal CPW Analysts and Users of the Data
3. Decide Native or Hybrid App Development
The business goals plus the target audience help to inform the overall app requirements, including architecture design, data collection, data storage, reporting, application integration, and look and feel. One of the most critical architecture decisions is custom native app development vs. custom hybrid application development.
Native applications are built for a single platform – usually iOS or Android. The app is developed with the programming language specific to the operating system. For example, if you write and develop an app for Android, you must use the Java programming language. For iOS, you would use Objective-C.
A hybrid app or cross-platform app is developed with a framework that will convert the code to work with both Android and iOS. Hybrid apps are built as a single project, with the capability to support different devices.
Whether you choose to build a native application or a hybrid application, consider your business goal, and the user needs to select the right option.
The CPW app is a hybrid app, so it’s compatible with Android and Apple devices. In addition to the mobile front-end, the custom software solution includes a website and database. Data is entered into the mobile app from the field, and the application automatically updates the database. Automation increases efficiency, reducing overall data collection, and data entry costs. The backend system is used for real-time decision making with viewing, editing, querying, and reporting functionality.
4. Build Security into Your App
The power of mobile apps puts access to confidential information inside and outside your corporate firewall in the hands of users. Your mobile app is exposed to the world. And it’s eye-candy to attackers looking to cause trouble.
It’s imperative that security is built into the custom software application at every stage in the lifecycle and vs. treating security as an afterthought bolt-on. The attack surface increases with every device used, and data that goes across the wire, servers, and databases.
Using a DevSecOps approach to custom software development delivers the rigor required for enterprise mobile app security. Application and infrastructure security are part of the custom mobile development process from the project start. Development tools to conduct security scans of new source repository check-ins or integrating infrastructure security requirements are part of the development lifecycle. For example, mobile apps communicate with servers and send data back and forth over the web. So secure communication via SSL certificates and https are essential aspects of the infrastructure security required to support the app.
Through the years, the CPW mobile app has grown hand today, more than ten states use the mobile solution. In addition to implementing end-to-end application security, a multi-tenant data security solution was architected to ensure data security for each additional state.
5. Use Agile Development
The fast path to high-quality custom software development is a team of talented developers who follow an Agile development method. The iterative approach to Agile provides many checkpoints during the development cycle to remove roadblocks, review functionality, and provide consistent communication with the client.
Our talented team of developers at Istonish follows Agile Scrum and utilize the tools of Ceremonies, Sprints, Daily Stand-Ups, and Retrospective. Each of these steps builds on the other during the development lifecycle. The built-in emphasis on continuous improvement delivers high-quality custom mobile apps that advance our client’s goals and provide positive user experiences.
All five app development best practices ensure a solution that works for today and scales for tomorrow. Today more than ten states use the CPW app. In 2018 State Park employees located at hundreds of inspection stations used the CPW mobile app and data sharing solution to conduct more than 1,000,000 motorboat and sailboat inspections.
Start Building Your Custom App With Istonish
The designers and developers at Istonish have software products and tools to help you build a mobile app for your business. Whether you need a native app, a cross-platform hybrid app, we can provide an app design that meets your business needs and goals. If you’d like to know more about our enterprise mobile app design and development services, reach out to us today.