Mobile Strategy and the Cloud: No App Stands Alone

This article is Part 4 of a six-part blog series from our white paper, “Six Critical Questions to Answer Before Your Company Builds a Mobile App.” In our experience, companies should ask themselves six critical questions as a starting point for any mobile app initiative. With answers to these questions in hand, your mobile initiative will be focused, cost-effective and successful.

Question 4: What integration will the application require with your existing systems and databases?

No mobile app stands alone. Remember when creating your new mobile app that it will likely need to synch with existing databases and internal systems for a complete mobile strategy. Ask yourself: Are we building something from scratch that will pull data from an existing cloud application or company database? Will the new app need to work with Salesforce.com or an internal ERP system? Your answers to these questions may reveal unintended costs – for example, you may need middleware or custom development for your existing systems to communicate with the new app.

A simple example illustrates the point. Think about a mobile app created for the field technicians who work for a company like Comcast or Verizon. After each customer appointment, the field tech inputs notes on his smartphone or tablet and closes the service ticket. This action triggers a workflow in the billing system that sends an invoice to the customer and files the service report with the rest of the customer history. The field tech then gets notified of his next appointment, complete with driving directions (based on his current location and GPS), customer phone number, and the notes for the last 3 service calls for the same repair. Without this last critical piece of data, the field tech may not be prepared to meet with the customer and provide a resolution. If the mobile app couldn’t talk with these other systems (internal and external), how successful would it be?

An important consideration when building your app is how to integrate the app with internal systems. For example, limiting the information pulled on the service tickets in our example to address, phone number and relevant service call notes enables the field tech to be most efficient.

Stay tuned to our blog over the next several weeks as we roll out all six parts of this series, or download the RunMobile white paper in its entirety for free here.

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