Hi. Thank you for watching this 5th video in our video series. I’m Jody Chaffin, and today we are discussing what an internal innovator needs to consider before starting a mobile app project. If you watched our 3rd video titled, “Our Typical Customer”, you learned that we typically work with entrepreneurs and internal innovators. In our last video, we discussed entrepreneurs, and in this video we are going to focus on internal innovators.
In case you haven’t watched our 3rd video, an internal innovator is someone that works within an existing company and has come to the realization that they need to embrace mobile technologies to grow their business or to make it more efficient. A great example of this is Therapy Support, Inc. They are a specialty medical equipment company that delivers equipment and supplies to nursing homes and to patient’s homes. They operate in 10 states, and needed a more efficient way to perform deliveries. We worked with them to develop a mobile app that allows drivers to view all their orders for the day, view a load list of everything that should be loaded on their truck, view their route on a map, perform an inspection of their vehicle, deliver the products to their customers, and receive the customer’s signature for the delivery. All of that data is synced real-time when a connection is available or stored and synced once one becomes available. Both security and HIPAA regulations were built into the app, which has been live since September 2014.
Therapy Support is just one example, but you can see the challenges that the internal innovator faced. They had to find a way to eliminate unnecessary paperwork and costly errors.
So let’s discuss some of the key things an internal innovator needs to consider before starting a mobile app project:
- How will a mobile app help your business? – Where is your pain? What is keeping you from growing your business or is losing you money in wasted time or lost sales? Do you need to improve your internal processes or do you need to attract customers that are increasingly using mobile apps to make purchasing decisions? Do you have people that work outside the office and then have to come back into the office to enter the results of their work? First, you have to answer these kinds of questions to open your mind about how mobile technology can improve your business.
- Who are the other internal champions you need to convince? – Are you the sole decision maker? Unless you are a one-person operation, you are not. Even if you are the CEO and control the purse strings, you still have to get other members of your team excited about the change that comes with new technology. If you are not the final decision maker, then you definitely have to consider what those people will want to know. Everyone involved will have questions and input, so you need to think about the complete decision making process.
- What is the Return on Investment and how long will that take? – Developing custom software, especially mobile apps, is not inexpensive. To get software that works the way you do business vs. having to change the way you do business to fit a piece of software can be a very time consuming undertaking. So, how are you going to recoup the development costs? Well, that can be accomplished in a variety of ways, and you need to determine how it will happen for your company. Will you save money by using the new technology? Will you generate more revenue?
- What features do you have to have immediately? – During the design of your custom software, we work with you to think through your current needs and how you envision needing to scale and enhance the software going forward. That all needs to be considered to ensure that the architecture is designed to support future growth. However, sometimes your current budget doesn’t include the funding for everything. Therefore, you need to know which features are must-haves for today to enable you to begin to capture the return on your investment.
- Once the software is built, what then? – Who is going to support the software? Do you have an internal IT team that can do that, or do you need to continue to engage The App Pros for those services?
- What about hosting? – Do you have cloud-based servers to host the new software or will you need us to host it for you? Thinking about the ongoing costs of the mobile app is important.
I hope this has helped you with the decision process for developing a mobile app for your business. If you have questions or would like to provide feedback on this video, we would love to hear from you.
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