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Mobile IoT: Article

Mobile Development – Are You Asking the Right Questions?

What business need will the mobile application serve?

By now it's become pretty clear that tablets aren't going anywhere. The successful launch of the iPad 2 and the explosion of competitive offerings have made this clear. And with this explosion in tablet computing, we have just one more example of how technology is giving us the world, and everything in it, right at our fingertips

For this reason, mobile has been viewed by analysts as having enormous potential as a marketing vehicle. More and more, companies are creating apps with the goal of using them to promote a specific product or service. Yet many companies approach development of these apps in the same way they do for web development when, in reality, these are two very different media. The drivers behind creating these apps may be similar, but before beginning development, it's important to ask these questions.

What business need will the mobile application serve?
Seemingly obvious, this question is often skipped over by too many companies, both large and small. Instead, they become enamored with just having a mobile app in the marketplace - leading to plenty of sleek, shiny apps that ultimately enjoy a very short shelf life.

Before beginning a mobile development project, it's critical to consider how the app will be used to both engage the target customer and contribute to the company's overarching marketing strategy. Also critical is establishing a customer development process, working with the customer to determine the need that will be fulfilled and developing the app with that need - and the business goals - in mind.

What methods will the development team use?
The methodology used to develop a mobile application can be almost as important as the concept behind the app itself. It can contribute significantly to determining what features will be included in the launch version of the app, and delivering it to market so it starts generating value for your business right out of the gate.

Some of the most successful mobile projects are those that employ a combination of Agile methodologies and Lean principles in the development process. Agile, which most are familiar with, is an iterative process that enables companies to build and deliver apps quickly. Lean, on the other hand, focuses on streamlining and delivering value to the project by eliminating waste in the value chain, helping the development team to determine which features are essential and which can be saved for future versions. The principles of Lean can be used to complement Agile, ensuring a smooth development process and fast delivery of the app to market.

In my next installment of this post, I'll look at issues such as support infrastructure, development team expertise and user demands as additional - but just as critical - considerations that need to be taken into account before beginning an app development project.

More Stories By Paulo Camara

Paulo Camara is mobile services manager at Ci&T, a global provider of application development and product engineering services.

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