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How to build great mobile apps for the long haul

David Lee Heyman, ASEAN MobileFirst Leader, IBM | Aug. 26, 2016
A well-designed app can help to drive topline growth.

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This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Mobile apps have become mainstream. No longer is it just the global banks and retailers who are using mobile but also local shops which are driving their growth and customer engagement through mobile applications.

Many of the food joints I've visited in Singapore offer customers and in fact, encourage customers to order and pay for their food through a mobile application with the perks of earning loyalty points and avoiding long queues.

While going mobile may have been part of a digital transformation strategy initially, for many, it has become a natural channel for doing business. Gartner predicts that by 2020, more than 75% of enterprises will have adopted at least one mobile app development platform, up from 33% in 2015. Other research has also indicated that 85% of companies have a mobile backlog of up to 20 apps.

Clearly, the demand for mobile apps isn't going to slow down anytime soon and any enterprise without a mobile app is losing a significant opportunity to engage with their potential prospects and employees. More importantly, a well-designed app can help to drive topline growth.

Market research has shown that:

  • Customers with a good app experience are 58% more likely to make a purchase.

  • 72% of the customers would tell their friend about their positive experience and even start exploring the company's social media sites.

  • Consumers can react decisively to a bad experience with as manyas 63%openly criticizing and spread their negative experience on social media.

That said, the real challenge in building a mobile app is actually not how fast you can create it but how well you can sustain its usage. While speed-to-market is critical in today's world, any enterprise contemplating a mobile app must first develop a mobile strategy that can sustain and continuously improve the user experience, or risk failure. According to IDC, close to a quarter of enterprises polled have experienced a failure rate of over 50%.

So what constitutes a robust and sustainable mobile strategy? Here are five guiding principles:

  • Continuous improvement: Creating compelling apps requires constant user feedback, monitoring and revision. If mobile phones are the interaction channel with your customers, then youmust be prepared to keep close tabs on what your customers are telling you through collecting in-app usage and feedback for enhanced sentiment analysis and crash analytics. Enterprises must also leverage the right technology to easily manage app iterations and release cycles.