CIO Mistakes – Treating Mobile Like Desktop Development

Developing mobile apps is a lot different from creating a desktop application
Developing mobile apps is a lot different from creating a desktop application
Image Credit: Mystery People

CIOs are in charge of the IT department and this means that we’re in charge of all of the software that our firm develops. In the past, a great deal of the software that we created was designed to be used throughout the company on desktops. The arrival of the mobile age has changed all of this. Now many of the applications that the IT department is being called on to create are mobile applications. Is your IT department ready?

What’s So Hard About Creating Mobile Apps?

When an IT department decides that it’s time to create a mobile application, they need to be careful. Everyone understands the importance of information technology. There is still a great deal of excitement about mobile apps and this can sometimes cloud everyone’s judgment when they start to plan the application development process.

Often times what will happen when it comes time to create a mobile application is that the development team will decide that they want to surprise or impress the eventual end customers for the application. What this means all too often is that they are not going to take the time to meet with their customers. Instead, they are going to guess at what they are going to need from the mobile application.

What happens more often than not is that the enthusiasm of the development team can get the better of them. The development team then tries to think through the requirements without the help of the end users. Unfortunately, the end result of all of this that the initial adoption rate of the mobile application that has been produced is low. Although the new mobile application may look “sexy”, there’s a good chance that it’s not meeting the customer’s needs especially when they find themselves out in the field.

What’s The Right Way To Create A Mobile App?

So if we now understand that having the IT team hole up and not communicate with the end users is not the right way to go about developing mobile apps, what is the correct way? The first thing that any IT department’s development team needs to realize is that they have to keep the golden rule of software development in mind at all times: you always have to work closely with the application end users.

As the person in the CIO position, it’s important that you realize that developing mobile applications is very different from developing desktop applications. Mobile applications almost always involve both new technologies and new programming languages. This can quickly make a project become very complicated.

One temptation that a lot of people with the CIO job are faced with when it comes to creating a mobile application is to outsource it. This many initially seem like a good idea, but in the long term you are going to want to bring this expertise back in house. To make this development process work out, as CIO you are going to have to make sure that all of your IT departments have tight relationships with each of the business units. This includes the marketing department where many of your product requirements will end up coming from

What All Of This Means For You

CIOs are in charge of all of the software development that happens within their IT shops. In the past we’ve all created a great deal of desktop software. With the arrival of tablets and mobile phones, this is all changing. Our end users, especially the ones in the field, are now demanding that we create mobile applications to support them.

Creating a mobile application is not like creating a desktop application. It can be all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of creating a mobile application and forget the golden rule of checking with the end users to determine what they both need and want. When we create mobile applications, we use new technologies and programming languages. We need to take the time to work closely with our end users and make sure that all of our departments are working together.

The good news is that any IT department can create high-quality mobile applications. You need to take the time to think the software development process through the entire way just to make sure that what you end up producing is what your customers really want.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Should you target just a few mobile devices or should your mobile apps run on everything right off the bat?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The Netflix announcement back in August of 2015 wasn’t a very big deal. In fact it probably went unnoticed by most people. However, from the point of view of those of us with the CIO job, it was sorta like a bomb had gone off. The company sent an email out that announced that in a month they planned on shutting down their very last operational data center. What this means is that they are now running their company entirely in “the cloud”. Should you be doing this?