We have been doing App Development at McNair Media for a few years now, but we haven’t really chronicled the process in which it takes to make a custom app for a business or nonprofit. This new series follows the process of developing a custom consumer facing app we are building and what the overall process would look like to build a custom app for your business or organization.
Why an App?
We get lots of calls and inquiries to our contact form on people wanting to building an app. We hear so many different reasons customers give in why they want an app for their business. Below are some of the common ones:
#1 – Notifications
Notifications are the killer feature for any app, especially on iOS. This allows you to get right in front of your customer without having to go through something like Email or social media. People may overlook an email, but an app notification goes right to their phone.
#2 – Visibility and Exposure
An app in the App Store or Google Play provides visibility to a larger, national audience. Depending on the kind of app, being in the App Store can skyrocket you in front of millions within days.
#3 – Customer Loyalty
Apps can be used to cultivate customer loyalty in a number of ways. We find that our retail clients love apps for their rewards functionality while or E-commerce clients love apps for their ability to present their upcoming orders statuses and notify customers of progress.
#4 – Offline Access
In our interconnected world, we sometimes forget this but apps can be made to be used offline. You can install an app and have its contents available on the device, regardless of an internet connection. This is fantastic for reader apps and other resource type apps.
#5 – Streamlining an Internal Process
While we typically think of apps as a customer-facing thing, many of our clients use custom apps we’ve made to streamline an internal business process. A custom business app can come preloaded on an employee smartphone and updates can be pushed over the air.
Picking Your Focus is Key
Focusing on one goal is important when starting an app project and will ensure a smooth and timely launch. This will also help you better determine what the distribution method of your app should be. For a custom business app that is only being used internally, there is no need to spend the time and money to go through the app review process to be submitted into the App Store. These internal use apps can be distributed via Apple’s MDM technology to company managed devices. You can also enroll employees own devices into your organization’s management account.
Apps take lots of planning and require a lot of technologies to be in place within your organization before proceeding with prototyping your app. Our first phase of our app projects is a planning process that helps takes your app idea into something more defined and what that distribution method should be. We also lay out what business requirements are needed to be in place before proceedings to the next phase of the app project. Business requirements include internal processes that are needed as well as technologies that need to implemented.