September 20, 2021
A custom app represents a significant investment of money, time and energy, but it can also lead to incredible benefits for your business.
Regardless of your aim it’s crucial to begin any app project with your business case watertight, knowing exactly what you’re building and why. This will help to get buy-in from all relevant stakeholders, and to define your process so you’re left with a winning app that directly serves your users and business.
We’ve seen that while custom apps do require an investment up front, the vast majority of clients see a significant return in both revenue and broader business benefits. To offer examples, a custom app can improve the flow and accessibility of information, it can help to automate and streamline internal processes, and it can improve employee experience.
For instance, with a custom app focused on providing a mobile repository of information, an employee will be able to access documents via their mobile device far more easily than through a drive or email search. In this way they can more efficiently complete the task at hand or deliver information to stakeholders.
With an app designed to be an internal messaging service, communication between teams and employees can be vastly improved, leading to higher productivity, collaboration and connectivity. In this example, push notifications can be utilised to ensure employees receive important alerts closer to real time and don’t fall behind.
When building a compelling business case for your custom app it is useful to start by answering key questions. For instance, what does your app do, who will use it, where will it be used, and what is your number one goal?
What does your app do? Your app needs at least one clearly defined use case. You may find your remote teams are less connected than ever, and as a result want to create an internal communications app or newsletter to allow your marketing and comms teams to speak directly to the entire team with weekly updates. In this scenario your number one goal would be employee experience and retention.
Who will use it? Once you have your primary use case defined it will be obvious if the app will be accessed by employees, customers or both. Whether your app is used internally or externally will define what needs to be included in the build process, including security and access levels. This will also more clearly outline the cost of the build and testing stages.
Where will it be used? It’s important to have a clear sense of what devices the user will be accessing the app on. Will users log into the app on personal or business devices, on the corporate network or public WiFi? These questions also allow you to gain a clearer understanding of how you need to approach security, functionality and information shared.
Proposed ROI metrics can add depth to a business case for a custom app. Look at industry facts and figures, direct savings that can be calculated or estimated, and broader business benefits that are tangible but harder to quantify.
While it can be overlooked, there’s no denying that you can make a stronger business case by tapping into a broader trend or story about your targeted market or niche. Taking the time to conduct research within your industry, investigate successful mobile app strategies, and define key performance indicators relevant to your business and the industry will add context and credibility.
Next you can look at direct savings or benefits. For instance, your custom app may remove a manual process that takes up to eight hours per week, greatly freeing up employee time. The hours saved is an easily quantifiable figure. Or, your app may replace off the shelf software that you will no longer have to license, giving your business a certain amount saved every year.
On top of this, there will be other proposed savings that are less easily defined but can still be estimated. Say you remove routine paperwork and data entry, and give mid-managers back nine hours of time. The business leader may use this time to create a new profitable line of business. Or, a custom app could help to train up current employees or recruit new ones. The cost benefit of investing in your team is huge, and while not as easy to calculate, is still a powerful consideration for your business case.
Finally, broader business benefits could include improved employee experience or job satisfaction, greater peace of mind for teams and leaders, improved customer service and support, and stronger brand reputation for your business.
When building your business case for your custom app, remember to speak directly to stakeholders, C-level executives and employees. Each one of these groups needs to be onboard and will be considering a different aspect. Broadly speaking, stakeholders are interested in how the mobile app will impact business growth, execs will want to know how much it will cost and the projected ROI, and employees will be interested in the learning curve or change in daily operations.
At Sush Labs we understand the importance of starting every app build with a strong business case, to bring everyone on board with what you are aiming to achieve, and also clearly articulate how the custom app will contribute towards short and long term business objectives.
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