Overpass makes apps for the app store and the enterprise. Our app store apps have been downloaded over 10 million times on Google Play and the App Store. They continue to bring in passive revenue every day.
But, we also do a lot of work on enterprise apps.
How are they different?
An app written for the app store has a wide audience, and we spend a lot of time in App Store Optimization trying to get in front of users. We understand that users passively check out our apps and use them only if they provide some value. They will uninstall our apps if they don’t see the value.
An enterprise app has a smaller audience but is necessary for work. It MUST provide value or money is lost. It helps employees and staff do their job better and is often mission-critical.
Some examples of enterprise apps are:
- Those apps that monitor equipment and send push notification on failure.
- Apps that allow users to log time on different projects in different locations
- Some apps that interface with large internal systems like Sharepoint, Salesforce.com, or other large solutions.
- Apps that allow salespeople to demo products.
- Those apps that allow drivers to keep track of inventory
… Actually, you can make an Enterprise Mobile App about anything. And we hear new projects every day.
But, creating an app for the public on the app stores requires a different mentality than building an app for internal users. Below are some do’s and don’ts for enterprise mobile apps.
DO focus on design.
Just because the audience is small and (many times) forced to use your app, you still must treat them like they are voluntarily using your app. Your design must make it easy for them to use. Don’t skip on polish. Hiring a good designer is always helpful.
DON’T user social logins.
In a public app, it helps your users if you have “login with Facebook” or “login with Twitter” options. However, these accounts typically have external email addresses and are hard to manage. Better to have an internal authentication system (or Microsoft logins, etc.).
DO use analytics.
If you release an app to the app stores, analytics is the key. The nature of mobile apps is that they are distributed and you can’t see what users are doing on them. You need to look at what users are clicking on and what they may find confusing. An enterprise app is no different. This app often gets left off of design due to ignorance or lack of budget. But, you still need to know how your users are using your app. “But they have to use it” is an excuse we hear a lot. Treat your users like they are “choosing” to use your app.
DON’T Distribute via the app stores without logins.
We’ve distributed Enterprise Mobile Apps in many ways. We’ve used Apple’s Volume Purchasing Program (VPP), Apple’s Enterprise Distribution Program, Microsoft’s InTune, and we’ve even distributed them on Google Play and the Apple App Store. But… when using the app stores, make sure your users have secure authentication. And, make sure anyone who downloads the app which is not in your company has an “about us” section where they can learn about you even if they can’t log in.
DO use encryption and authentication on your APIs.
Unlike an intranet site which has limited availability and is not available outside the network, a mobile app is … well… mobile. So, it can be used anywhere. And it may still need to interact with your backend systems. So, making sure encryption and tokens are used in every API call. Always assume someone with a packet-sniffer is sitting on every wifi network your users join.
DON’T assume there will be no hackers in your organization.
We’ve seen this a lot. Developers get lazy when they are in an internal organization. This is not true in every case (we’ve met a lot of great enterprise developers). But often we’ve seen developers say “no one in this company is smart enough to hack the API” so they use little or no encryption on the back-end.
Those are just a few of our “Do’s and don’ts.” Do you have any you would add?
If your company organization needs a mobile app or would like to discuss one, contact Overpass Apps at [email protected] or fill in our new project form https://www.overpass.co.uk/new-project-form-3/.