The luckiest and most prepared owners and managers of companies both large and small know how to take advantage of new opportunities sooner than their competitors. These days, that often means developing a software application for internal use or for use by your target market – even (especially) in industries where software is not traditionally a part of your product offering.
What a Successful Development Strategy Looks Like Now
The art and science of application development has evolved over the years, and our team has evolved with it. But there are some principles that we adhere to that have made it possible for us to develop and deliver hundreds of successful applications. One of these principles has helped us avoid one of the most common mistakes made in application development: Starting the process without first determining the revenue/business goal and the user’s goals.
Determining the business/revenue goal. Before we talk or even think about technology, we focus on understanding and clarifying the business goal.
We start with the assumption that “increasing revenue” is one of the key drivers to the effort, even if the application is being developed for internal use. We “own” that goal just as strongly as our clients do, so that our subsequent decisions are aligned with our client’s expectations and requirements.
The business goal also determines how we proceed. For example, it’s one thing to develop a gaming app that is meant to be sold to many users, be ridiculously easy to use, and as entertaining and addicting as possible. It’s quite another to develop an aircraft guidance system for use by trained professionals in combat. Or to develop an internal application that will be used to carry out a sophisticated manufacturing process. The business goal drives dozens of decisions made during the development process that involve, for example, priorities in time, cost, and resources.
Focus on the user’s goal. In my mind, one of the saddest things is an application that has been developed for a particular type of user who — when the application is delivered –finds it frustrating, inefficient, and inadequate.
If it is an internal application, managers can still insist that everyone use the new application, but that never really works. In the long run, it backfires. Good employees get frustrated and start shopping their resumes; processes that should be working smoothly start to bog down and affect all other areas of the company. In time, all of the anticipated benefits – and ability to compete effectively – are never realized. The company suffers and the opportunity is lost.
Of course, if the application is created for an end consumer, sales will be terribly disappointing. The anticipated ROI will simply not materialize.
Many of our clients come to us after experiencing this type of disappointing scenario. By then, they are discouraged, they have less budget to work with, and their window of opportunity is starting to close. We are used to this kind of challenge, and we rise to meet it, but it still hurts to see what has happened before we are brought in to solve the problem.
It’s not enough to know what the user wants, you need to understand what they need. Sometimes users aren’t aware of what is possible, or their stated requirements are based on the applications they are using now. We do a lot of research up front to determine what the user is trying to accomplish, then we combine those desires with state-of-the-art application functionality that will meet those expectations. We pay a lot of attention around here to the application’s UI (user interface) and UX (user experience). It’s our job to understand the user’s end goals, then design the application to meet those goals.
What does our software development strategy look like?
When companies reach out to us for a new software solution, they may not be sure of exactly what they need, only that a customized application is called for. Our job is to identify how they will get the best return on their software investment.
In many cases the greater value we provide is figuring out exactly what kind of application the client or the customer needs. If we figure out that a cloud computing option will maximize profits for the client, that may be what we offer.
Whether you are creating your own application or working with someone else to meet your needs, if your strategy is driven by your own business goals and the goals of your customers and users, you will be way ahead of your toughest competitors.
For more information about Applied Visions’ services and our team’s approach to custom software development, please contact us today.
Read our guide on application development!