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Agile
By: Varun Shakya

Developing Strategies for Enterprise Mobile App Development

An interview with Credencys CTO, Sagar Sharma

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  • Former Toyota and Oracle Solutions Architect Sagar Sharma is the CTO of Credencys, an LA-based mobile applications development company
  • Sagar has helped numerous startups, SMBs, and enterprises in choosing the right strategy for developing mobile apps
  • He is a proponent of Agile and is currently developing a project management system for Agile software deliveries

Enterprises today are engaged in a perpetual cycle of application development and overhaul for embracing latest disruptions. Developing mobile Apps takes up a major share of these activities as the smartphone is a common touchpoint for customers, partners, and employees. In this interview Sagar will answer some of the most common questions and challenges in the mobile strategy planning stage:

How do you develop a mobile strategy for your clients?

Although defining a mobile strategy is most often similar to defining a business plan, it’s very contextual. Some of the clients come to us with a business plan complete with SWOT analysis, competitive analysis, elevator pitch, GTM plan and everything you can think about it. I remember working with a couple of clients who had developed screens and workflows in-house and just required developers to implement those designs. You need not discuss strategy with such clients. On the other hand, we also have clients who come to us and say – I need an Uber-like App for my cab rental business. This is where a client’s needs and wants might differ. Developing a Mobile strategy is more important in such cases.

What can you tell us about the common misconceptions or mistakes done by businesses in developing a mobile strategy?

As I said, sometimes businesses do not have a long-term vision. The focus on solving an immediate need prevents them from looking at the larger picture. Developing mobile Apps with such a narrow focus rarely provides any substantial return to businesses. For example, enterprises often spend their budgets in developing separate mobile solutions for better collaboration, secure remote access, and real-time information exchange. However, there is rarely any planning for future or compatibility with existing legacy systems. Moreover, it is not rare to see multiple applications for doing a single task within an organization.

Such inefficiencies can be removed with proper planning, selection of correct technology stack and development of solutions that complement existing enterprise infrastructure. Further, enterprises should consider creating an internal group which leads all enterprise mobile initiatives. The creation of a centralized body for mobility initiatives helps in creating a mobile strategy which is aligned closely with key business goals.

How pronounced is the need to repurpose existing systems (websites, e-commerce tools, CRMs, CMS etc)?

There’s always a need, yet most of the legacy enterprise systems are so large that nobody wants to mess with them. Businesses are not keen to disturb their mission critical systems. These systems are disturbed only when they become annoyingly slow to sustain enterprise needs for higher collaboration and efficiency. Needless to say, such reactive measures compound the problem over a period of time.

There is a need to be proactive in transforming these legacy systems and make them work in sync with modern mobile platforms and browsers. A lot of times information flow is restricted due to complex interface and lengthy workflows. This complexity can be reduced with UX redesigning. Further, enterprises can allow employees and partners to design their personalized workflows depending on their needs. By integrating mobile closely within an enterprise ecosystem, organizations can significantly increase the efficiency of their existing systems.

How do you help companies align their business and mobility goals?

Having a sharp focus, concrete goals, KPIs and a sufficient budget is instrumental to any mobile strategy. If a business wants to compete in the B2C domain with its App, a proper understanding of the market is most critical. In such cases, businesses have to study the competition, evaluate incumbent’s offerings and list down the key opportunities, threats, and challenges. This can help businesses in creating a strong business case for their mobile application. On the other hand, businesses sometimes adopt blue ocean strategy to tap into new market spaces with unknown growth potential.

As defined by Gartner, most of the enterprise mobile initiatives are these days classified into two broad categories – Mode 1 and Mode 2 initiatives. Mode 1 initiatives refer to tried-and-tested models, where implementing a proven system is expected to provide a set outcome. Mode-2 initiatives carry an element of surprise. These are more exploratory and innovative in nature. As a strong follower of Agile, I have seen that Agile practices support both these initiatives very well. Adopting an Agile approach, I help my clients in better prioritization by telling them what is easily doable and can produce maximum value for their business or what could be done in the later versions. Further, I help clients to get started early and achieve maximum value without any elaborate documentation processes. That’s why we frequently engage with clients via Blueprint workshop which helps them design mobile application in a 15-day sprint.

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Tell us something about the new project management system your team is working on.

AgileFirst is industry’s first project management system supporting Scrum based Behavior-Driven Development processes – which are central to our working methodology at Credencys. It aims to provide better collaboration between all stakeholders involved in creation and grooming of Backlogs. With this single tool, people can create user stories, acceptance criteria, notes & invites for their teams to collaborate on their backlog items.

We have focussed on developing a highly intuitive interface supporting drag-and-drop of user stories. Project managers can manage and monitor user stories in four major dashboards. They can get a hawk-eye view of backlog stories in the List View, view associated scenarios in an infinite scroll in the Capture View, view stories with Fibonacci story points on Effort Board and get MoSCoW prioritization on the Value Board. The system will support entire software development cycle providing better visibility on delivery milestones and project progress. The system will also allow managers to configure their desired team and generate projected costs & timelines.

When is AgileFirst going LIVE?

The first phase is already LIVE and we are currently using it for running our Blueprint workshops. Organizations interested in evaluating the platform can use it for designing their products.

Can you share some insights on how organizations can prepare for the future of mobility?

Future is never too far away. All that an organization need is a bit of initiative to look beyond the obvious. Technology is already in place to support future innovations. Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Internet of Things are all rapidly evolving technologies with a lot of scope for innovation. Businesses have to explore these technologies and create new products and revenue models for their business. As I said, a lot of this will involve sailing in the blue oceans. And that is where Credencys comes into the picture – we enable those organizations who are willing to experiment and leverage technology, not waiting for others to show them the way forward.

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Credencys Solutions Inc is a leading mobile applications development company and solutions provider. You can contact us for mobile strategy consulting and developing mobile apps for multiple platforms. Subscribe to our blogs for getting similar articles on management, strategy, leadership and more.

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