Mobile in the Enterprise

One App To Rule Them All — A Strategy for Certain Doom

June 17, 2014

  • Alex Bratton
  • 1
Strategy

David Bressler’s recent article “Mobile Banking Apps, Why Do Banks Have Only One?” helps to bring home the short sighted thinking around apps today. Many companies are still stuck thinking about their “killer app” and mashing as many features into it as possible, making it a truly mediocre user experience.

So-called killer apps only kill user experience

Apps are meant to be small and focused, not big and bloated. Even the word “app” is shorter and more precise than its desktop cousin “application.” App designers and developers: do one thing really well and the user will be back to use the app again and again.

This paradigm begins with the connected suite of apps. For someone to do their job on a mobile platform, their workflow likely has five to 10 key steps — each of which should probably have its own focused app.

App suites are clipboard killers, revenue amplifiers

If I’m a car salesperson I need to appraise your vehicle, help you find a new one in our inventory and then complete the deal paperwork. Each of these steps should be a laser focused app. These apps should share data and walk through a broader process in a way that the user doesn’t even know they’re switching apps. Information flows from one to the next so there is no double entry. It’s smooth, functional, seamless. Collections of these bite sized apps are better for the user, faster to build and easier to test.

Opportunities

The same concept fits in the consumer space where users need to interact with the organization in multiple ways for different reasons. A collection of focused consumer apps can provide a much better user experience and make it easier to connect that consumer with the company.  Apps are a marketer’s dream, allowing the organization to build life long relationships based on a mutual exchange of meaningful value.

Customer & brand loyalty

The more I can help that consumer with what they are trying to do, the more they see my organization as their trusted partner, not just a vendor. Changing providers will be the furthest thing from their minds. Bressler touches on this when he wrote, “Why not cre­ate apps with the inten­tion of turn­ing con­sumers into pro­sumers… thereby dri­ving brand loyalty?” He’s speaking in this case about B2C, but this certainly applies to B2B companies.

If enterprises continue their quest looking for their mythical single killer app, they will be headed for certain failure and be left behind. Truly innovative companies should look to focused app suites.

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1 Comment

Great strategy for approaching app development. I’d like to suggest/get your thoughts about a possible fifth advantage of the “app suite” approach, which is resiliency: If for some reason an app update or other external event breaks the app, to the extent it’s sandboxed from other apps in the suite, it limits damage to your app ecosystem. More importantly, it keeps other apps up and running, thus making sure that vital app operations don’t completely grind to a halt while a fix is being made.

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