Does your business need a mobile app?

Mobile apps have been around for a while, in fact, the first ever app was considered to be the in-built version of ‘Snake’ on the Nokia 6110 mobile phone back in 1997!

A lot has changed since then and apps play important functions for a wide range of businesses. One of the questions many ‘appless’ SME’s ask themselves is ‘do we need a mobile app?’ If you fall into this category, then read on! We’ve compiled 6 key questions to ask yourself if you are considering an app for your business:

1. What is the role for an app in your business?

Providing Information: Providing up to date timetables or schedules.

The ability to organise: Such as calendars, meetings, timetables.

Giving Progress reports: For example, live updates on how a service is running or even on a particular project

Enabling a transaction: Such as booking something (a hotel room, meeting room, ticket to an event), ordering goods or services.

Enhancing the customer experience: such as providing money off coupons, collecting points through a loyalty scheme or providing enhanced interactivity at an event.

2. Is an app right for you audience?

If your audience in an older demographic, then introducing an app may make them feel alienated or worried. That said, it doesn’t mean that an older demographic wouldn’t benefit from a mobile app, providing that it is built with them in mind and helps to solve a challenge or enhance their experience with your business.

3. Do you have the capacity to support an app?

Apps work 24-hrs a day and depending on the purpose of the app, could increase the demand on your business. You may need to consider a change in your team’s work schedules to meet demands at a different time of day, or increase the number of employees to meet an increase in demand on your business.

4. Do you have a plan for ongoing app support?

Like any software, apps need to be regularly updated and fully supported. You need to ensure that you have a plan and a budget in place to ensure that this happens and that it remains secure and virus free.

5. Do you have a contingency plan?

If you decide to build an app which completely takes over a particular function in your business e.g. a customer booking system, do you have a back-up plan in place if the app goes down? You need to ensure that you have a robust contingency plan in place which your business can quickly switch on and continue to function without the app.

6. What’s the return?

It’s worth considering the benefit that you anticipate an app bringing and compare that to the cost before you go ahead and build. This will give you an idea on the return and will enable you to better decide whether it’s worth going ahead with the development.

In terms of gathering a development cost, there are a variety of ways that apps can be built, depending on the requirements, the complexity and the ease of integrating to other systems. An initial conversation with your technology partner will enable them to give you an idea of what's possible and the sort of price you would need to consider.

If you decide to go ahead, once the app is live, make sure that you are clearly tracking its impact. This could be in monetary terms, or measuring whether it is successfully delivering against a particular objective. This all goes back to our first point of ‘what’s the purpose?’ Set up a clear and consistent method of measurement so that you can regularly evaluate performance and make any necessary tweaks to keep the app delivering against your objectives.

Need help? If you are thinking about a mobile app for your business and don’t know where to start, we could help you.

We are Olamalu, Drupal experts and experienced web developers. We’re a friendly and down to earth team based in West Oxfordshire, who work together to achieve brilliant outcomes. We’ve been building websites and designing tailormade tech solutions including apps for a huge range of different challenges for over 10 years. We work alongside clients and really get under the skin of the business, understanding not just what is needed now, but also how to plan ahead and consider the business needs in the future. If you want to get in touch with us, visit our website

May 2022