iPad App Development – 5 Key Considerations in Choosing a Partner

Shahab Choudhry | October 19, 2011 | Mobile App Development

Choosing the right partner for your enterprise iPad app development

The iPad requires a different way of looking at the application development process. Many IT organizations try to apply traditional or Agile SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) processes for development of iPad apps. Two problems: First, the skill sets needed for developing iPad apps are not likely to be found in the typical IT team. Second, these traditional SDLC processes do not translate to the iPad app development process. A way to counter these issues is to find a partner that can help the enterprise in the iPad app development processes. However, picking the right partner can be tricky. Using the typical partner selection considerations does not yield the right results. Here are five key considerations that need to be kept in mind when selecting a partner for iPad all development in the enterprise.
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  1. Familiarity with Enterprise Business Processes – In selecting the business partner for developing iPad apps, it is critical that the partner is familiar with enterprise business processes. Even though we are not talking about business process re-engineering here, but a good understanding of core business processes is critical in the application visualization process. Keeping in mind that the goal is not to just port an application or process to a new device. True innovation in this case is to speed up the process and make it more efficient or more effective.  This can only happen when the business process is married to the ease of use afforded by the iPad. The application development process needs to take this into account from a very early stage.
    Pick a partner that has significant experience of innovation inside the enterprise. Ask for examples; get specific in understanding the experience in working with the enterprise
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  3. Experience with iOS and iPad app development – It is common practice for enterprise customers to turn to their “preferred providers” for application development, including iPad app development. This can be in the form of staff augmentation or project-based work. Most of the large providers that play in this space are trying to add iOS development capabilities. At Propelics we advise our customers to not look at iOS development in the same way as they have looked at application development in the past. Partners that are experienced in web applications or other technologies that are in use for the enterprise may do a ok job. However, with the iPad the goal is to create applications that offer a great user experience not just a ok user experience.
    Look for a ipad app development partner that has a methodology that was specifically designed for use in the development of iPad apps rather than companies that have added mobile application development to their services as an extension of their standard SDLC processes
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  5. Background in Enterprise Technologies and Infrastructure – iPad app development for the enterprise requires integration with existing data stores and information sources that exist in the enterprise. In most cases, this requires leveraging existing integration “plumbing” such as web services. Not only does this require a deep understanding of these technologies and architectures, but it also requires the experience of working with enterprise technology groups to be able to “discover” these services in the enterprise. Likewise, iPad app development in the enterprise also require a strong understanding of enterprise infrastructure components such as Mobile Device Management, data security, and deployment procedures. A good development company that has previous exposure to dealing with the challenges posed by these aspects of enterprise technologies can be more successful in building iPad apps in the enterprise.
    Identify an iPad app development partner that has a demonstrable track record of dealing with enterprise architectures and various different types of integration technologies as well as various different types of enterprise infrastructure platforms.
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  7. Understanding of Corporate Governance and Risk Policies – Organizational governance and risk policies play a part in defining the architecture of iPad applications in the enterprise. Your iPad app development partner needs to have the experience and understanding of the role that the governance and risk management functions play in an organization. As an example in banking and insurance companies, all user data that is stored on the iPad has to be encrypted and must meet the security standards to pass the audit by the risk management function. The application development partner needs to be able to incorporate these in both; the architecture as well as well as the app development process.
    Require that the iPad app development partner to demonstrate the experience of having worked with these types of corporate functions and ask of specific practices that are a part of the app development process to ensure compliance to these requirements.
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  9. Well versed in User Experience Design for the enterprise and Organizational Change Management – Creating a immersive user experience is what sets the iPad apart from the standard issue application on the corporate laptop. However, the app must still demonstrate a certain level of professionalism and maturity of design. Mobile application developers that have been working primarily on game development, or have primarily focused on apps for the consumer market, do not understand the corporate culture and change management aspects of the corporate environment. We have seen several poorly executed designs that come across as “gimmicky” and do not portray the professional image that would be expected of an enterprise class app. The goal is to be able to create an engaging user experience that is consistent with the image and brand of the organization.
    Ask for samples of the app portfolio, if you see too many game implementations or not enough business applications as part of their experience you need to look elsewhere.

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Shahab Choudhry

Shahab is a visionary thought leader and builder of successful companies that has been at the forefront of trying to make sense of the various technology shifts in the past two decades. He has advised several startups, early stage companies and Fortune 500 companies in making the most of these technology shifts. His focus has been on new products and platforms for the enterprise. His track record as a builder of companies includes IPOs, successful acquisitions as well as a failed startup. Shahab can be reached at shahab.choudhry@propelics.com or on twitter at @shahabchoudhry.

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