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Guest Post: How to Develop Enterprise Mobile Apps that Matter

Custom mobile apps are in high demand among enterprises; however, it's not enough just to create digital copies of paper forms. Mobile enterprise applications need to make a positive impact on the bottom line. Application developers need to work more closely with businesses during mobile app design and development to ensure their product will be effective in the workplace. Robert Lacis, senior director of customer success at Apperian, recently blogged several key tips for building mobile business apps that matter.

Republished with permission from Apperian blog

Written by Robert Lacis, senior director of customer success at Apperian

Mobile apps can be quite costly to develop, so enterprises must make sure they provide apps that make a real impact on the business.


Many organizational leaders are anxious to jump on the enterprise mobility wagon. They see opportunities to help employees become more productive by equipping them with enterprise apps that enable them to get work done while they’re commuting, on business trips or elsewhere outside the office.

The problem is, they don’t know where to begin or what kind of enterprise mobile apps to build. With mobile leaders spending $500,000 to over $1,000,000 per custom mobile app, it’s critical to ensure, when they do begin developing an app, that it will make an impact on the business.

For company leaders who are wrestling with these issues, it’s important to remember that successful enterprise mobile apps don’t just digitize things. They remove hurdles in transactional processes and friction from the employee work experience.

Based on my experiences identifying opportunities for and helping develop and deploy custom mobile apps for the sales groups at Cisco and Maxim Integrated, here are four key tips for developing mobile apps that matter:


A good starting point for enterprise mobility is understanding how people work and the types of organizational hurdles and administrative overhead that slows down their results. Identifying and then acting on these challenges can enable businesses to create an “app that matters” — one that improves upon pain points of critical work paths or processes that make employees’ work lives easier.

At Cisco, for example, there was a drawn-out, five-person approval process for discounting in the sales department. It involved different stakeholders from around the world. By developing and deploying a mobile app for approvals, we were able to help shorten the authorization process from two weeks to two hours. This helped stem the tide of customers who compared products and services from Cisco’s competitors while waiting to hear back from sales reps.


Enterprise mobile apps can offer additional opportunities for performance improvement. For example, salespeople often don’t like using outmoded legacy systems which, as a result, are underused and contain out-of-date data. Mobile apps offer opportunities for creating a more user-friendly experience, providing the core functionality and features salespeople and other employee groups want and rely on most.

By providing more modern enterprise systems to employees, organizations can ensure they get the correct data and information to managers and leadership.


Apps (even good ones that solve the right challenges) won’t be adopted if they don’t fit into end users’ workflows. There are many technical considerations when developing and deploying enterprise mobile apps that impact whether they’ll be adopted and how frequently they’ll be used.

Do your sales reps work on the train? Are they going to connect to the network? This information will help uncover important factors, such as whether you need to develop an offline app.


One of the best ways to identify and act on workflow/performance opportunities is through collaboration and knowledge sharing with non-competitive peers. While working with Cisco, I heard stories from other companies that gave me plenty of ideas for mobile apps. For example, I came across one company that built an app on top of a legacy CRM system using its API.

This fits into my tip above; make sure people will enjoy using it. By developing a user-friendly mobile app, this prompted salespeople to update customer data immediately after calls, meetings and deals. Thanks to the use of the API, this kept the CRM system continuously up to date.

It was an invaluable lesson that I learned not through my own application deployments, but by having a network of peers who were leading mobile app initiatives at other companies and in other industries.

When it comes to enterprise mobile apps, 97 percent of CIOs have high hopes for what mobile can do for their businesses, with 75 percent looking to increase employee productivity and 64 percent looking to mobile to create new revenue opportunities. Developing mobile apps that matter – the ones that can transform the way work gets done – is the key to unlocking enterprise mobility’s potential.

This article originally appeared on Enterprise Apps Today on Tuesday, August 4, 2015.

Learn more about the benefits of using an enterprise app store and how Alpha Anywhere works with Apperian.
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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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The Alpha platform is the only unified mobile and web app development and deployment environment with distinct “no-code” and “low-code” components. Using the Alpha TransForm no-code product, business users and developers can take full advantage of all the capabilities of the smartphone to turn any form into a mobile app in minutes, and power users can add advanced app functionality with Alpha TransForm's built-in programming language. IT developers can use the Alpha Anywhere low-code environment to develop complex web or mobile business apps from scratch, integrate data with existing systems of record and workflows (including data collected via Alpha TransForm), and add additional security or authentication requirements to protect corporate data.