Beyond Break-Fix: Keeping Company Developed Apps Relevant and Prevalent

Most think of managing company mobile Apps beyond their initial development as simply keeping them running, defect-free. But what about how relevant those mobile applications are to those using them? And are those using them representative of the target market, i.e. audience and size, whether those Apps are for internal or external company use?

Apps can be defect-free but contain features that are not relevant to those using them. Or, Apps can be defect-free, contain features highly relevant to those using them but those using them represent a very small portion of the target audience. To maximize return on development investment, the ongoing management of company Apps must be a program of work that goes much beyond keeping Apps running defect-free.

Don’t get me wrong, ensuring Apps remain operational and defect-free is fundamental, whether that involves remediation to keep the App functioning appropriately under new versions of the underlying mobile operating system or remediation of undesired results and experiences surfaced through some unforeseen usage scenario. A highly operable App is core to is existence and sustainment. Most get this. To the point that this is all they focus on. Keeping it running. How it’s being used and who’s using it often goes unmetered.

How many examples of management now buying in to the need for company Apps and funding their development only to watch those investments dwindle away as the Apps suffer premature deaths due to insufficient usage and uptake (not because they were inoperable or defect-ridden). Yes, sustaining company Apps requires those Apps to be first and foremost operable and defect-free. But once that it is achieved, it is necessary to ensure they are functionally relevant to those using them. That they are fit for purpose and contain features that help, not hinder or get in the way.

This requires monitoring the usage of those Apps including features being used, number of user sessions, session lengths, etc. This information is invaluable to the feature roadmap for the App. Why are certain features not being used? How can usage of those features be increased or improved? Should those features plain and simply be dropped or deprecated? How can the number of times a person uses the App be increased? How can the duration of each usage session be optimized, possibly increased? Usage analytics help surface these questions and more importantly serve to stimulate responses to them.

Equally important is monitoring the uptake of company Apps including the number of downloads or installs, rankings, ratings, reviews and even revenue (if those Apps are sold). Who is using the App? Where are they from (e.g. from what part of the company or if external, from what regions)? Do they represent the target audience? How can downloads be increased? How the App’s ranking (i.e. make it easy for people to ‘find’ the App)? As with usage analytics, market analytics help surface these questions and more importantly stimulate responses to them.

A healthy balance of keeping Apps defect free with monitoring their usage and uptake to ensure that features are relevant to the targeted audience contributes to the App’s longevity and enhances the realization of business benefits sought from that App. Most focus solely on the former (keeping App’s running defect-free). Don’t forget the latter, making sure they are relevant and prevalent in the marketplace, even if that marketplace is an internal company audience.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.