Category Archive: Mobile Apps

The tidal shift to mobile – are you responding?

This week I had a phenomenal opportunity to sit down with a new customer. Since 2005 they have been running an ever growing online web business and store front. They’ve come to a point in the evolution of the company that they want to take advantage of new web technologies and develop a mobile app to better facilitate and enhance their customers experience. A few interesting notes that came out of our meeting regarding their current web traffic.

  • 32 % is initiated from a smartphone
  • 22% from an iPad or Tablet
  • 46% from a desktop

Essentially 54 percent of their business is driven to them via a mobile device.  Yes – they are exploring how can they leverage this shift in mobile traffic. The anecdotal conversation was very revealing. As we discussed these mobile trends they are seeing in their customers one of the partners commented, “I am the face of the customer. I do 80% of my shopping on my iPhone. It’s always in my hands and enables me to search for products anytime. If I come across a site that is not mobile friendly I typically leave and look for one that is. If it’s something I really need or I need to do deeper research I’ll email myself the URL so that I can look at it on my laptop later. But I otherwise prefer to do everything on my mobile”   Mobile Tsunami

One might argue the mobile shift has happened. I would argue it’s happening.  A lot of companies are still working to make the transition.  Are you shifting your strategies to take advantage of mobile in your business?

When discussing this with my partner Rod Puzey he pointed out that “You’re leaving business on the table if you only support one option. Not everything is ideal for the mobile but it comes down to providing the right form factor for the right situation.”

I’m reminded of an experience I had with my wife  camping on the beach of Puerto Penasco.  On our first morning the tide was very low and we decided to take a walk on the rocky shore. Exploring the nooks and crannies for stranded fish and crabs we barely noticed the incoming tide.  When I realized tide was coming in it was almost too late. I grabbed my wife and we turned to shore.  The tide quickly rose to our knees with 75 yards to go when I took another step and was over my head in water.  We were stranded, forced to swim very turbulent water. Obviously we survived but only after considerable effort to get on shore.

Where are you and/or your company in managing the tidal shift to mobile? Are you taking a similar path to my walk in Puerto Penasco – where you think all is well, noting that the tide is changing, but on the verge of being swept under by the incoming tide wondering what happened?

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Zenware - Mobile, Cloud, Web, SaaS and Software SolutionsJody Sedrick, CEO
Follow me on Twitter: @jodysedrick and @zenwareinc
LinkedIn Profile: Jodysedrick
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zenware Inc. is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, iPad software development, iPhone software development, custom web development, web hosting and SaaS based work order management software. We also have a powerful line up of off-the-shelf mobile cloud solutions; RoadFS (formely ZenTouch™), Harvest Bin, and ZWarehouse

 

Managing to Minimum Viable Product – MVP

One of the keys to successful mobile, web and cloud application development is understanding, managing, developing and deploying a minimum viable product or MVP.  In the software industry we understand the importance of MVP.  Getting a product in the hand of users is critical. We often say “There is nothing better than user feedback to make a better product!” However if your in the business of developing mobile and cloud applications you customer may not understand MVP. Your customer needs to understand MVP.  It’s your job to not only educate them but also to guide them to MVP.

To ensure everyone is on the same page MVP is the absolute bare minimum application that you can develop that will have an immediate impact for your customer while breeding foundational success for future versions of the application.

Working with hundreds of customers over the years defining and adhering to MVP has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered managing the development of mobile and cloud application solutions. The reason, the customer ultimately wants the big picture application – they want the app to be in the cloud, integrated with accounting and back-end databases, provide key business intelligence, empower field users, streamline the process for our customers, etc..  Separating the big picture app from MVP requires discipline on the part of the customer and the development team.

Yes, we need to understand the long term vision of the application. But your job is to work with your customer to identify, design and manage to MVP.  When I work with customers I always ask them to outline the big picture – highlighting the business problems and customer use cases they are trying to solve. Once I have that understanding I then work with them to define MVP.  Remember the customer is not buying software, use cases and agile methodology, they are buying the capability to do something or do it better. They may have thought through this but in my experience most have not. I always ask “What problem are you trying to solve? What are the set of core capabilities that have to be in the first version to solve this problem?”

This can be challenging. I like to illustrate it this way.

Zenware - Developing to MVP MVP_Cartoon

Ideally we all want the high speed, multi-user vehicle appealing to the broadest audience possible. However, starting with the skateboard version of the application provides capabilities that solve an immediate problem, fit an isolated market or address a problem within a company division.  While not the dreamed of solution MVP provides core capabilities that solve an immediate problem and create a positive impact. The benefit of introducing the MVP is that once the application is the hand of the users you begin an invaluable feedback process that helps more finely tune versions 2, 3 and 4 of your application.  Managing to MVP ensures a proper and natural evolution of the software. You will discover that each version of the application will have it’s own MVP criteria providing additional capabilities that will appeal to a broader group of users.

Continually reigning in customer and development team expectations to the core components of the MVP is key to your application deployment success. MVP has to be the focus of every discussion, every strategy session, every architecture design meeting and after every application testing scenario. If you don’t customer expectations tend to bleed into future versions and the project is delayed and customers get frustrated.

I’ve learned that documentation is critical to delivering MVP.  Document the big picture application as well as the MVP. Think of it as your blueprint that focuses on the immediate build requirements, that can stand alone, but shows future build requirements that you need to consider. Your application blueprint will protect the short term goal of MVP while planning for the bigger solution.

This became very evident in a recent project our team completed for one of our automotive customers. Our customer had a vision for MVP but had difficulty mentally separating MVP from the enterprise solution that was the ultimate goal.  Every time we met they would say “this is great but what about these features?” Totally disregarding what had been accomplished and moving towards the bigger picture. Fortunately we had not only documented MVP and the bigger picture application, we had prioritized the feature list of each.  Because of our documentation we were able to demonstrate that we were on track and their requests were bleeding outside of the approved MVP capabilities they had helped defined and prioritize. Defining and documenting the customer MVP not only kept the project on track it also kept expectations in check.

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Zenware - Mobile, Cloud, Web, SaaS and Software SolutionsJody Sedrick, CEO
Follow me on Twitter: @jodysedrick and @zenwareinc
LinkedIn Profile: Jodysedrick
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zenware Inc. is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, iPad software development, iPhone software development, custom web development, web hosting and SaaS based work order management software. We also have a powerful line up of off-the-shelf mobile cloud solutions; ZenTouch now RoadFS, and ZWarehouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mobile Tech Expo 2015 – Day One: Education Day

Mobile Tech Expo 2015 kicked off to huge crowds attending Educational Day. The line-up of training events was extensive for this year’s attendees.

I made time to attend 3 of the training sessions. Here is a snippet.

Renny Doyle - Mobile Tech Expo 2015 - Auto Recon & Detailing Pro

Renny Doyle, Detailing Success – Mobile Tech Expo 2015

Renny Doyle – Detailing Success and Detailing Mafia “What Does Your Business Success Look Like”

I’ve learned Renny’s seminars are a MUST see. As usual he brought his great humor, wisdom and years of experience to share his insight on what success in business truly looks like.

Here are a few nuggets:

  1. “Build your life while your building your business”
  2. “Being rich is having money. Being wealthy is having time.”
  3. “High expectations with no money? Build it! It is possible!”
  4. “Tenacity wins!”
  5. “Don’t think big. Think specialized.”
  6. “Techpreneur – you gotta be a technician and craftsman but more important you have to be a good business man and entrepreneur”
  7. “Build depth in your business”
  8. “One Ferrari is Viagra on 4 wheels” :)
  9. “Knowledge or skills? Both!”
  10. “Be the GURU in your village”
Jason Rose, Meguiar's Mobile Tech Expo

Jason Rose, Meguiar’s – Mobile Tech Expo 2015

Jason Rose, Meguiar’s – “Carpet and Upholstery Stain Removal”

Jason not only shared his experience in carpet and upholstery care but brought valuable insight and strategies into how to best specific types of stains. He packed the house and had a VERY engaged audience. I saw a lot of note taking as he shared tips, tricks and techniques. A few tips shared:

  1. “Coffee is the number one stain” – SURPRISE!
  2. “Extraction tools work best when you go slow”
  3. “A dry brush and a vacuum cover most of your carpet issues”

If you’d like more training points from Jason check out “Carpet And Upholstery Stain Removal With Jason Rose At Meguiar’s

Shane Jacks, PDR College - Mobile Tech Expo 2015

Shane Jacks, PDR College – Mobile Tech Expo 2015

Shane Jacks, PDR College – “Blending And The Skill That’s Needed”

I think the picture says it all. This training was not just packed it was standing room only and extended into the hall. Impossible to get into this one. If he could’ve blasted his presentation into the hall there would’ve been some happy attendees. I overheard one guy in the hall say “That is the most important training of the show. They should’ve put it in a larger room.” If got stuck in the hall and looking for more great training and business tips from Shane you’ll want to check out the PDR College hosted by Shane Jacks and Keith Cosentino http://www.pdrcollege.com/

Looking forward to the next couple of days attending a few more

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seminars and presenting RoadFS to attendees. If you’re attending Mobile Tech Expo 2015 we’d love to see you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Zenware - Mobile, Cloud, Web, SaaS and Software SolutionsJody Sedrick, CEO
Follow me on Twitter: @jodysedrick and @zenwareinc
LinkedIn Profile: Jodysedrick
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zenware Inc. is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, iPad software development, iPhone software development, custom web development, web hosting and SaaS based work order management software. We also have a powerful line up of off-the-shelf mobile cloud solutions; ZenTouch now RoadFS, and ZWarehouse