DRC Mobile App

A lot of time and money can be wasted in developing a Mobile App for your business if certain factors are not considered in advance.  Decision Research Corporation (DRC) VP of Technology, Stephen Korow, created the following Insider’s Guide to Mobile App Development – which outlines exactly what you need to consider upfront ~ to optimize your resources in the Mobile App development process.

Noted experts in Mobile App development, Korow and his team lead the way in Mobile Apps for the Insurance industry with the successful development of the dynamic iMingle Mobile App.

While it is true that mobile solutions are becoming a necessary avenue for customer contact, the introduction of mobile technology must be integrated into the company’s overall business strategy with clearly identified business goals before any time or money is expended.

Simply publishing an app without tying it to the company’s strategy will relegate it to the back shelf of your local online app store.  Unlike the early days of the web, packaging up brochureware and making it available is not sufficient for the mobile app world.  Anyone downloading your app or accessing your web site’s mobile pages will expect it to make their life easier and make dealing with you more convenient for them or they will move on and likely not return.

Developing and publishing a valuable mobile app requires a solid business case with clearly identified ROI.  The business users and marketing teams need to be involved from the very start in determining what system functionality to make available through the app.  This will ensure that the app is a part of an integrated marketing strategy.  If the development doesn’t take into consideration the target customer, and isn’t a facet of an overarching marketing strategy, it will be a waste of the company’s time and money.

When deciding how your company will “Move Forward with Mobile” – Consider DRC’s “5 Rules of Engagement” for Mobile App Development:

#1:  WHO: 

DETERMINE YOUR AUDIENCE:

Developing and publishing a valuable mobile app requires a solid business case with clearly identified ROI.  The business users and marketing teams need to be involved from the very start in determining what system functionality to make available through the app.  This will ensure that the app is a part of an integrated marketing strategy.  If the development doesn’t take into consideration the target customer and isn’t a facet of an overarching marketing strategy, it will be a waste of the company’s time and money.

#2:  WHAT:

HAVE A GAME PLAN:

Once it has been determined that mobile is a good match for your target market, the product, marketing and IT teams have to work together to determine what feature should be included in the app and what platforms it should be developed for.  Platform market share is very fluid.

#3:  WHERE:

PLATFORM IS EVERYTHING

iPhone is well established and sexy for development; Android is coming on strong and grabbing market share in huge chunks; and, Windows 7 mobile, webOS and BlackBerry are all moving along aggressively.  On newer devices, Geolocation API access along with JavaScript allows you to tap into the location-aware features of a mobile device so that you can provide services through the devices browser.  Determining where to commit limited resources to cover as wide an area of customers as possible will be key to successfully developing and being able to cost effectively maintain your mobile offering.

#4:  WHY: 

DETERMINE YOUR APPS FEATURES & FUNCTIONS

Once the platforms and the rollout order have been determined, you’ll want to identify features and functions that will appeal to your customers and which you should include in the app.  One of the biggest roadblocks to releasing an app is tying it into your policy, billing and claims systems.  If you have a services enabled system you are in luck.  If not, the cost of development goes up significantly and you may want to revisit whether or not this is your highest priority.

#5:  WHEN:

NOW…IS THE TIME.

At the end of the day, insurance mobile solutions can provide real benefit for your insurance company, especially when they are aligned with the company’s marketing and business strategy.  If you haven’t already begun work on providing access through mobile devices, it is time to start.  Just be certain to include all company stakeholders to ensure the success of the project.

Keep in mind that people will want access to all of the features of your app any time, day or night.  People don’t only get into accidents during normal business hours.  Therefore, allowances should be made for when your production system will be unavailable due to normal maintenance.  You will also want to tie into Google or similar web services to provide useful and relevant functions such as maps, searches and location aware lookups for users of the app.

Remember, that a good mobile app is simply a window into existing services; it should make your customer’s life easier.  Access to the services should be convenient to their schedule; not yours.  ~ Stephen Korow

Stephen KorowStephen Korow is the V.P of Technology at Decision Research Corporation (DRC), a leading software development and information technology company specializing in providing end-to-end functionality products and software solutions for the insurance industry.

 

 

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