Last week we introduced you to the Salesforce1 Platform using a list of some of the top custom Salesforce1 mobile app examples. This week we’ll go one step further by breaking down a few of the Salesforce1 best practices for developing your own innovative app.
The Salesforce1 Platform is administrator-friendly, meaning you can build that revolutionary mobile app you’ve been dreaming about without an extensive coding background. That’s awesome, plain and simple.
However, it’s certainly not a cakewalk when you’re already busy. Really busy. And as admin-friendly as Salesforce1 is, we understand it’s not always in the realm of capabilities to design, build and support a custom mobile app internally.
But whether you’re venturing out on your own to build a custom Salesforce1 app, or working with a consultant, here are some of the basics to remember when building a custom Salesforce1 app:
Identify the problem
It may sound simple but great mobile apps solve problems. Thus, the first step is to pinpoint the problem that needs to be addressed. Are you looking to increase employee productivity? Do you have a business process that needs improvement? Or maybe you’re looking to enhance your customer service and engagement. Getting to the heart of what your user’s challenge is, their current versus desired process and what their overall goals are is crucial to the development of any successful mobile app, regardless of the issue. You can gather information by polling users on their wish lists, holding requirements gathering sessions, performing observations and reviewing data already provided in your Salesforce dashboards and reports.
Now that you’ve highlighted your problem, it’s time to lay down some guidelines. In other words, what does your app need to accomplish? There should be a specific business goal the app will support. Without a clear-cut business goal, your app will likely lack purpose. Furthermore, decide what data you will need to incorporate into the app so it will sufficiently support your business goal.
The software requirements documentation phase can be a cumbersome process, as it often involves process engineering and some knowledge of the desired technology’s capabilities. But having solid, well-constructed requirements will help your development team build the app according to your vision with minimal rework.
Develop and integrate
At this point ‘the power of do’ comes into play. With the planning process complete, you have the green light to begin developing and integrating your app. But how you choose to do so is up to you. When deciding whether to consult an outside developer like Nuvem or tackle the app internally, be sure to keep the necessary resources and skills in mind. You might consider what part of the development process or integration may be expedited or better supported through outsourcing to a developer who has experience in creating the type of features you need.
Make sure to consider the systems the app will integrate with and how the integration will be developed and supported. Don’t leave integration as an afterthought. Systems and data only get more complex as time goes on.
Above all, make sure your end product supports the requirements you defined. Testing the app against the requirements can be a tedious process but having a poor functioning app will be far more frustrating than getting it right the first time.
Congratulations – what was once a mere concept is now a professional-grade mobile app! However, your work isn’t done quite yet. Measuring results is just as important with the Salesforce1 Platform mobile app development process as any other app because it helps you determine your app’s ROI.
One caveat to measuring results, and a step that’s often overlooked in the development process, is that you have to create baseline measurements before an app is deployed in order to measure results. Consider the timeline you want to analyze and key indicators you can measure. Remember, you can also have qualitative ROI.
These might be:
1. Costs. How have costs improved?
2. Adoption rate. What is our employee adoption?
3. Employee engagement. How has the app eased processes and created engagement?
Of course results will vary among businesses and their respective industries. Yet, if an app is successful, key indicators will help determine if the app you built was worth your time and effort.
While these Salesforce1 best practicesare basic to building any type of successful app, mis-steps with fundamentals are often the source of failure. Now, it’s up to you to determine your “power of do.” What’s your vision?