Mobile applications will give you an advantage
What to invest in and when?
You can find the original text published in Business Insider in the PL version here
They stormed our daily lives, but are they just as useful for Enterprise companies? Mobile applications – because we are talking about them – more and more often improve the operations of production, transport and financial institutions. Experts from Opsenio talk about when it is worth investing in tchem.
What’s the deal with enterprise mobile apps? What do we need this for?
- Jakub Rumian: to work faster, easier to manage people and quickly reach relevant information. When we talk about custom software, the functionalities of a given solution are tailored to the needs of a specific customer. This kind of tight match solves real problems. We do not operate in the field of boxed applications, because there are few brands that are 100% satisfied with such “ready-made” applications. IT usability is the art of flexible adaptation to business. Never the other way around!
Strong words. While we cannot imagine our life without a mobile application, e.g. for e-commerce, it is more difficult to identify it with a large production company. Does it work?
- Tomasz Srebrny: people are strongly attached to mobile devices. And what if employees gain access to important data about the company in this way? Information available at any time and always updated? Mobile apps that organize the flow of documents significantly improve communication between departments. Data on the technical condition of equipment used in production allow you to optimize service costs and reduce machine downtime caused by breakdowns. Managers who manage the work of even significantly expanded teams gain data on the status of each employee. Thanks to this, they can quickly allocate new tasks, they know exactly how busy a specific employee is, and the working time is recorded on an ongoing basis. You can really talk about similar applications for a long time.
It all sounds like a good management and control mechanism in company
- Filip Dziedzic: it really is. But not only! The purpose of mobile applications used in manufacturing companies is not only control and management. It is also a basic work tool. More and more mobile devices are installed in production halls to eliminate the paper flow of documents. Thanks to the application, the service technician can enter information about the repairs made on an ongoing basis and they are immediately available to all authorized users. It all takes no more than one / two clicks. Not only that, you can immediately order the necessary parts from the warehouse and report the demand for currently unavailable materials. You can see exactly when the last service was carried out and what elements were repaired at that time. The employee therefore knows exactly what, when and in which machine to replace.
Work on the premises of a production company can be optimized thanks to the mobile application. Regardless of whether we are talking about management or employees?
- Jakub Rumian: right, but let’s not limit ourselves only to the production halls. Mobile apps are great for the activities of field workers. Courier companies, for example, know this very well – without a mobile application, parcel delivery would not be so efficient. Enterprise-scale manufacturing companies are usually very extensive, often having several branches scattered over a large area. Equally often, they send workers to activities outside the main factory. Thanks to the mobile application, everyone has access to data that is updated in real time without the need to use laptops for this purpose. After all, the smartphone is always with us!
It is very practical. Permanent access to information seems to be a priority today
- Tomasz Srebrny: this undoubtedly facilitates the implementation of daily tasks. We often hear about the need to increase business efficiency. I admit that it’s a very general statement. However, dedicated mobile apps fit this trend perfectly. They allow you to create a professional office wherever we are. No need to constantly take professional equipment with you. I have to admit that this is a modern convenience. A mobile app tailored to the needs of a given company is equipped only with the necessary functionalities. Thanks to this, we do not distract users unnecessarily. We focus on intuitive navigation to quickly get the data you need. In personalized solutions, everything has a clearly defined purpose.
Are clients able to define such goals from the very beginning? When viewed from the side, it seems difficult
- Filip Dziedzic: setting a goal is one of the most important and the most difficult steps in action. Do customers immediately report to us with a clearly defined vision? It can be different. The stimulus to make contact is usually the desire to optimize, noticeable shortcomings in the functionalities of the software used so far, or the ongoing project of digitizing the organization. In order to create a solution that will work in practice, we need to collect a lot of analytical data. That is why product design is so important in IT. Only a comprehensive approach to software allows you to create real innovations. I do not like to abuse this term, but in this context it makes sense. The stage of brand analysis and its business environment, short-term and long-term business goals – these are the absolute basics. Not every client remembers about it and the role of a good contractor is to remind you about it. Only on the basis of strong foundations, we are able to design and implement a mobile application that will be an innovation for this particular company.
Therefore, dedicated software is about an individual approach. Is each company really different? There is no way of repeating the designed solutions?
- Jakub Rumian: definitely each brand is an individuality. However, when operating in a specific industry, it encounters many repetitive problems. That is why cooperation with a contractor who has experience in designing solutions for a specific sector of the economy is so important.Knowing which problems recur most often allows you to eliminate them right from the start. Later we are talking about full personalization. In the design work, we use certain elements of ready-made solutions, e.g. queuing systems, container management software, databases, etc. These are just elements that are combined into one whole, together with the appropriate addition of the so-called business logic, make it possible to increase the efficiency of the company’s work. With practical design knowledge, we are able to adjust these elements and combine them with our own code into an efficient mobile application. All because we know what has already worked in the industry. We can also apply this knowledge in the context of the practical challenges of a given company.
In this way, you can efficiently create useful mobile apps
- Tomasz Srebrny: When creating mobile applications, in the field of server components (the so-called application backend), we often focus on the architecture of microservices. This design approach allows you to efficiently create, develop and update applications. If we add an agile management methodology to this, the client gains tremendous control over the progress. It is also an important element of the project work. Even the most advanced systems can be effectively developed thanks to microservices. Each team works without any problems on one functionality. Everyone works independently of the others. Thanks to this, you can see the effects quickly. The rectification of any faults does not affect the performance of the other teams. It’s an almost perfect solution.
Almost perfect? So we see some disadvantages of microservice architecture?
- Filip Dziedzic: in this situation I have to answer the famous “it depends”. Effective management of an application developed in accordance with the microservice approach is a challenge that is difficult to deal with. Therefore, the proper functioning of the whole must be supervised by a team of specialists. In the case of advanced systems, this scheme works very well. For less complex applications, the monolithic approach may work better. So it all depends on the structure of the project itself, the time needed for its implementation and the company’s resources. Any expansion of a monolithic application can later be broken down into individual microservices. A flexible approach is the basic determinant of all activities in the modern IT sector.
The key question is: is the investment in a dedicated mobile application for enterprises profitable?
- Jakub Rumian: it all depends on the specific needs of an individual brand. It is worth focusing on ROI in the context on the Enterprise scale. The sense of investing in custom software is visible, especially when the system will be used by a larger number of users.
- Tomasz Srebrny: the initial cost of creating dedicated software is higher than in the case of purchasing ready-made SaaS solutions. Over time, financing for a personalized solution remains at a similar level. SaaS, especially when dealing with more users, generates higher costs over time. The cost of the average SaaS does not usually increase linearly with the growth of users. Undoubtedly, however, these costs are higher than in the case of a dedicated solution. We do not pay for a single user, but for the entire system. So it all depends on the scale of the investment.
- Filip Dziedzic: with custom software the situation is the same as with all personalized services. When deciding on them, we have to invest a little more at the start. In practice, however, we have a unique system and we are sure that it was created only in response to our needs. It has to work!