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How to Build an Enterprise SaaS MVP

If you want to build a Software as a Service (SaaS) product for your enterprise customer, then you must first think of a way to streamline the process. Building complete enterprise products from start to finish can be ultra-demanding from both a security and functionality point of view, and will require you to first conduct a deep dive into the specific industry workflows.

So, to do this you need a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), to validate the value proposition of your product with a minimal development effort. With MVP a new product or service is developed with core functionalities, to test how the target audience would respond. Then, the actual product, with a full set of features, is developed after feedback is received from the early adopters.

Here’s our step by step process to help you build an initial version of your Enterprise SaaS product, and some of the biggest potential pitfalls.

Identify the Problem

Really take your time to narrow down your focus to one important problem affecting the industry your customer is in. Really hone in on identifying a specific niche, a workflow process, or a department where your solution could really make its mark. By identifying a real problem, you would have created an opportunity for a viable SaaS solution.

Do your Research

Regardless of whether you are a startup or an established software vendor, it is critical that you conduct market research. You may think that your idea is the best thing since sliced bread, but is it actually? Might sound harsh, but in order to answer this question, you have to get in the heads of the people who may one day be your clients. Otherwise, your application most likely won’t take off.

Part in parcel with doing your research is, of course, evaluating the competition. Researching your competition also helps you define your own product, and analyzing what features your competition does or does not offer can be very useful in deciding how to design your application to make it better.

Keep the End-User top of mind

Once you’ve identified the problem you’d like to solve with your MVP, the second step would be to learn about the people whose work environment you’re about to improve. Who is the person or people that are most frustrated with the identified problem? Let’s say it’s a human resources manager in charge of drafting contractual agreements. How is this department going to benefit from the SaaS product?

Understand Team Dynamics

Employee tasks are very rarely performed in isolation. Usually, they are dependant on factors from other departments, meaning that one person’s task may be affected by another person completing theirs. Learning about the existing processes will help you design an Enterprise SaaS MVP in a way that can be harmoniously merged into the department with minimal changes to the team dynamics.

Think back to the HR example: an HR assistant is in charge of drafting a contractual agreement, but the creation of this work contract would also involve collaboration with top management and the finance department. Thus for MVP to be successfully adopted, it needs to account for other employees, while designing a solution to the problem.

Formulate the MVP Prototype

Once you have identified the problem and got super familiar with the team dynamics and workflow, it’s time to sketch out what your MVP would actually look like, which basically means formulating a prototype.

While this is not a full-fledged model of your product, a prototype is the first step in reaching your goal. It will help organize your ideas in a visual way and can be used to test the viability of individual features.

Develop the MVP

Now for the most time and resource-consuming part of your MVP’s lifecycle – the development phase. This stage involves getting designers and developers to work together to move your MVP from the design-and-prototyping phase into development. Having a good prototype ensures the developers to hit the ground running, as your application’s structure is already set up and all the design elements are ready for implementation.

In order to build the smallest functioning version of our product, we need to identify the core features that we can’t do without, and the ‘nice to have’ features we need to save for later iterations. To do this effectively, cut out features that are not solving a key problem and deploy the solution with minimal design. Focusing on the impact the MVP will have, rather than the number of features, will help to effortlessly prove to your end-users that it makes their lives easier.

Analyse and Tweak the MVP

Now that your MVP is ready, have the intended user’s test drive it and monitor how they respond to it. Gather and analyze all the feedback and data to make iterations and changes, prioritize feature suggestions, and track usage patterns to inform the next steps of your MVP roadmap.

Enterprise SaaS is not just a product, it is a package. One of the great advantages of building an MVP and adopting an agile approach to development is that you involve actual users in the process, creating the basis for your future vendor-client relationship.

As mentioned at the outset, achieving success with Software-as-a-Service applications can be full of pitfalls, but by following these steps, your chances of success are a lot higher.

How To Measure And Increase Your App Users’ Happiness

As a mobile app maker, if this question hasn’t crossed your mind from time to time, it really should:

Am I doing everything in my power to keep my customers engaged and happy, all while leaving them with a positive and memorable experience?

If you’re wondering why user happiness ranks above all other metrics, it’s as simple as this – if your users are happy with your app, they will engage more, convert more and spend more. They will talk about your app to friends and family, forgive the occasional technical glitch and most importantly, these happy app users are going to be the ones who become loyal customers. Let’s unpack some of the ways that you can ensure your app users are happy with your app.

Make onboarding painless

First things first – users downloaded your app for a reason. Help them address that reason as quickly as you can. Onboarding is a crucial process for app developers to get right: no bugs, no crashes, no usability problems allowed. The faster they get to using your app and fulfilling their needs, the better .

If they are there to play a game, then don’t have a billion pop up screens telling them about your other apps. Skip the upselling get the game started right away. Get to the point quickly, and first finish the primary task they downloaded your app for. All the other chores like logging in, creating an account and learning the new features can be done later.

Check the Metrics

One of the easiest ways to check that your onboarding process isn’t sending users away is to check the action cohorts tool, a visual that shows the relationship between one event in the app and another. By setting a filter to see how many users signed up for the app and then went on to complete a purchase in the same week, you can really measure happiness.

You can also keep an eye on app sessions, which will show the level of session user engagement. Keep in mind though, a shorter session duration does not necessarily have to mean a bad app. If the user got what they were looking for in your app fast, it can actually be a good thing.

Ask with Intent

When formulating survey questions, don’t ask about features that you don’t actually plan to develop for the app. That will just let the app user down as they will be expecting you to activate this feature in the future. Ask questions with intent, with the end goal being to improve the end users experience.

Short and Sweet Surveys

When surveying consumers on if they like an app, remember they don’t want to be given the 3rd degree. Get to the point with short precise questions, such as: Do you like this x and y feature? If the app is more complicated in terms of functionality, then in the next session on the app, ask another question, like: “Would you recommend this app to a friend?”

Reward Participants

There may be times where app users are not opting in to give you feedback. You could give them a nudge by offering incentives like a month free of the premium version of your app, or extra credits or points that can spend in-app.

Customer Service is Key

It is vital to make your support team easily accessible to the users at all times. Live chat, phone support, whatever means available to chat to consumers, just be there when the users need you.

Many consumers will uninstall an app that provides no support or is slow in replying to user queries. In online spaces like social media, public forums and app store reviews, how well you interact with a user will establish your persona with every other user who sees it. Answer questions, resolve problems and offer solutions promptly to make users happy. A mobile app with tons of poor reviews and dead silence from the developer spells trouble.

Another way to improve customer service is to create a community who can chat to each other or even solve each other’s queries within the app. By creating a community for your target market within the app, you can listen to your customers and then deliver.

Make Sure the App is Working at all Times

This is the most obvious way to increase the app users happiness – making doubly sure that the app works flawlessly. Make sure it is up to speed, loads up quick, no bugs and crashes. If you secure all ends and get the work done, your users will stay happy. Besides the obvious workings of the app, keep content short and sweet, and avoid practices that make reading on a small screen harder to do, such as columns of text or lengths of text that involve a lot of thumb scrolling.

Happy users make for successful mobile apps, which is why it is of paramount importance to make sure that above all the dozens of KPIs you manage, user happiness remains your core focus. Use the above guides to effectively measure and increase your users’ happiness and keep your app thriving in what is always going to be a competitive space.

Web Applications and What They Mean For Your Business

Like flies stuck in a web, we are all a part of the Internet in one way or another. It has become the platform on which our world stands and strides. But as with all master machines the frame only holds it all together, it’s the working parts inside that make the magic happen.

It is the same with the internet, on a daily basis millions of web applications are utilized like neurons in a brain firing to create what could be seen as cyber thought, and as thought leads to action, web applications can and do lead to productivity.  But what does this mean for the average person and by extension his or her business?

All over the world business are harnessing the internet to not only broaden their capabilities but also create new and exciting ways to pull in their much needed clientele, and this is accomplished by using web applications.

what web apps mean for your business

Different Types Of Web Applications In A Nutshell

There are numerous types of web application available for use today, and things are only improving as the world becomes more and more tech savvy. When it comes to benefiting from this type of solution, reaping true productivity and success comes down to determining which ones best suit your needs.

Enterprise Based Web Applications

Instead of catering to the general needs of a company like other apps do, enterprise based web apps are designed and created to meet specific needs or functions within the business.  These needs can include project types, teams, departments etc. A client database application is a good example of this, the data contained in this system belongs to the given company and should be easily available to all employees currently working there, because of this it makes perfect sense for the system to have an online-based structure.

Online Web Portals

Like a crossroad to the internet, a web portal is a link reference point created to direct users to a specific place, and in the business world it has been tweaked for the use of an online portfolio or client hub. By using this type of application a company has a vast array of capabilities including, hot topic association via search words, published content, direct contact information, a personal company profile and even financial transaction capabilities. Many kinds of web portals exist and are different in the set of features they offer.

Ecommerce Web Applications

Selling has always been the name of the game in business, it’s what keeps the world turning and the bread on the table, profit is the benchmark of success and is achieved through efficient supply and demand. The very fabric of this fact has been greatly affected by the rise of the internet, suddenly a company doesn’t solely rely on the foot traffic outside their front doors anymore. By using e commerce web applications, a business is open to an array of components including grids/lists of products or services, product/service details, as well as a shopping cart and secure e-payment options, everything is streamlined.

Microsites

Microsites are web applications with a small amount of pages and therefor specialize in concise, functional menus. The main idea behind this concept is to represent a business or promote an up and coming event online by giving an enticing overview and leaving necessary contact information for the users convenience. However despite its seemingly simple functionality, these web apps can be very multiplex, exceedingly interactive or immensely animated if a business is trying to make a strong impression or has to cultivate an already successful public image. Because of this they can be very useful when wanting to draw attention to a specific point.

Automated Web Solutions

Every business owner aims for a smooth well run business, where each and every worker does what is needed, where tasks are completed correctly and productively and things go according to plan. That is the very reason why automated web solutions have become so fundamental to the health of a business. These solutions usually involve the automation of routine tasks that have to be manually attended to by a person responsible for them, by choosing an automated solution instead time consuming tasks like data capturing, email response or order confirmations, stock checks and ordering can all be done automatically, leaving your team to concentrate on other more important tasks.

Using Web Applications To Gain The Benefits You Need

Programmers and companies have already invented dozens of uses for online web applications that have become a crucial part of how we do business. By knowing these tools and understanding which ones are efficient for your cause, one can effectively transform a simple business idea into a successful startup. Obtaining prosperity is not only a matter of applying yourself but how you do so, So the next time you are wanting to take that professional leap forward, consider online web applications they could very well be the punch line your company needs to get that standing ovation.

A Time & Place For All Things – Why Mobile Web Apps Can Be Better

Hybrid apps, web apps,native apps, mobile web apps and mobile-optimized websites, talk about a mouth full! In our modern and technological society online applications otherwise known as Apps are multiplying at an astounding rate, and it’s no wonder so many people are struggling to keep up or even make sense of what everything is.

Where once our greatest achievement was the internet and launching a website, now there is literally an app for almost anything from ordering food, delivering goods, checking the weather even step counting. Like walking into an exotic bazaar it’s easy to get lost in the sights and sounds and lose sight of quality over quantity.

So what is the correct time and place for an App? And more importantly how do our popular mobile apps rate against older giants like websites?

To clean up the mess that surrounds the various types of apps, you should make an effort to better understand the key differences between them.

mobile web apps

Time Old Websites VS Progressive Web Apps

Ever heard that saying “Back in my day…” If things are judged according to their lifespan then websites will win hands down. In truth it’s a human’s nature to cling to the familiar and name it indispensable. Because of this there are many that still swear by websites and refuse to budge on the matter, as they say ‘if it ain’t broke, dont fix it’. However as the times are changing and the young take over web apps have become a steady trickle mixing with the tides of trend, it has become common to see a website as an internet resource that passively gives you information, not really interactive but informative nonetheless.

This is where web apps show their greatest differences and possibly their greatest strength. Suddenly you not only have a resource for information but the jovial experience of interacting with that resource while you learn. User engagement has become the wind propelling our industries forward. Quizzes, questionnaire, puzzles, online chat forums. Suddenly the web is no longer something you can only look at and store things on, you’re becoming a functioning part of it!

Localised Native Apps

Mobile web applications are an interactive feature-rich and responsive website that exists in your mobile device browser, and can be easily found via a search engine which doesn’t have to be installed on the device you want to use. Its efficient, convenient and a great example of it would be News 24.

This differs to a native mobile app which is a piece of software written specifically for a target mobile OS in the OS-compatible languages and installed on the storage of a mobile device. For example WhatsApp.

Mobile Websites VS More Modern Mobile Web Apps

So just to get one thing straight, just because they have gone and put “mobile” in front of the word website, doesn’t actually mean that the original concept of websites has changed. They are still the before mentioned resource that passively gives you information. In Fact the only difference between a “normal” website and a “mobile” one is that you may no longer be confined to your desk and desktop by extension, now you can find and use that website on your phone’s built in browser.

This differs from Mobile Web Apps in the sense that it is a client–server computer program which the client runs in a web browser.

Hybrid Applications

As a simple definition check will tell you the term hybrid is used to describe a thing made by combining two different elements. Similar to a web app, this type exists within a browser but doesn’t have a complete and free access to the device its being used on. The perfect time in choosing to develop a mobile hybrid app instead of a mobile web app would be if you want to drive more engagement by asking users to install it on their devices, enable offline-use and have a possibility of sending push-notification. Great examples of hybrid apps would be Instagram or Snapchat.

Progressive HTML5 Web Apps

As one of the world’s leading programming languages, it’s only natural that it would lead to web app development. Being coined with terms like web app revolution these types of apps enhance functionality and bring out existing advantages of other regular mobile web applications.

For example, while still being discoverable via a web search, progressive web apps can also be installed on a mobile device. The technical capabilities of HTML5 apps are fast surpassing those of hybrid apps now and are approaching native app functionality. It has now reached the point where any HTML5 app is capable of push notifications, offline work, read all data input types and access functions on a device like the earphone, voice record and camera options.

Implementing Web Apps In The Name Of Success

Web applications have come a long way since they were first created, they have become the leading forum of interaction and outreach, changing the way things are done and helping create a more convenient world. There are many reasons why one should invest in app development and make it a part of our daily tools. Our future is not only bright but exciting as well! Who knows where we will be in years to come, perhaps a tech savvy populous evolving on the applied advancements of our current minds and capabilities of the future ones.

How to Make a Successful New App With a Used Idea

App creation has taken the world by storm and all but changed the very fabric of how we see the world around us.

For the last eleven years the world has gone from enjoying the simple pleasures of the infamous Snake app on Nokia phones, to using an app for practically anything you can think of; from checking the weather and news events all the way to monitoring bodily functions, shopping, and socializing.

In fact, app creation has become so prolific that startups can understandably feel daunted and pressured when wanting to make their own mark in this vast industry.

Measuring Up Against The Giants

There are so many big players on this court including Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Twitter, all offering numerous facilities that wow the masses already – how could you possibly hope to compete? The answer is simpler than you think.

As massive and glorious as these developments may seem, they all started in the same place and the shocking truth is that these corporate giants weren’t actually the first ones! Facebook stole the limelight from predecessors including Myspace and Friendster. Twitter did the same thing to former apps including Hipstamatic and Instagram.

With so many methods already mixing together in this pot of profit, it’s extremely difficult to invent something completely new. And honestly, in most cases it’s unnecessary. The trick is looking for loopholes or ways to do something common better than before. Tricks And Tips For Successful App Development

Tricks And Tips For Successful App Development

Working with a used method can take a little more effort and forethought, but with the right steps you can take any idea and make it your own. This avenue can also grant you the added benefits of a tried and tested industry and audience, and when done right it can be more beneficial and faster than starting completely from scratch.

Here’s what you need to do:

Find Your Gap

No matter how good an app may seem, there will always be pain points or weak areas that could be improved on in one way or another. One of the first steps to getting into this industry is finding these weak spots and looking for the opportunities within them. This is a fantastic way of taking a used idea and making it an improved facility in your own creation.

Create Better Designs For Limited Options

Product design has always been one of the most fundamental aspects of a successful app. However, there will invariably be one or two aspects that could have been designed differently or more proficiently.

One of the main reasons why Facebook has done so well and risen to the very top is not because they are new and exciting; they actually use the same concept ideas their predecessors did. The difference is that they designed their app better and developed it for a little longer. So, while they may have been out of the gate a little late, the way their app has been designed is their biggest success. Right from the beginning it included syncing features earlier apps lacked and ran much smoother than any others did. Faster development is not always better.

Tailor-Made Monetisation Strategies

Now as different as you may want to be, some app details will always stay the same. Making money is making money after all. On a general basis, there are already numerous ways in which businesses are using apps to generate extra income, including sign up fees, click baiting and adverts, upgrading packages, and content packages.

The trick to making your own mark is finding an income strategy that not only suits your product concept but is also user friendly. A great example of this is image editing apps that offer professional content for a select price by simply purchasing in app. It’s convenient and therefore users tend to be more open to paying.

Multiple Platforms

If you take a closer look at master apps like Facebook and Instagram, you’ll notice they are never just on their own platform or a singular platform. The more platforms your app is featured on, the better known you will become. Just because you are trying to outdo the big boys doesn’t mean you can’t use their platforms to give yourself a bigger boost. Advertising is still the majordomo and thanks to current upgrades, syncing is the new big thing. Placing links of your app on other more popular apps can lead to higher user traffic.

Relevance Is Key

One of the most important facts about supply and demand, even when it comes to apps, is that relevance is everything. You could have the fanciest hardware, the most complicated programming, and the most streamlined user interface and still not achieve your goals. If your audience can’t relate to what you’re offering, chances are they will be less interested and this will reflect in your app’s popularity.

A general rule is that keeping it simple yet capable is the best way to go. Just because you are using an old idea doesn’t mean you have to go overboard with your delivery to make up for it. In most cases convenience will always trump a flamboyant approach.

Realising Your Success Success

As of 2019, there are over 2.1 million published apps available to the public. With such a massive shoes to fill, tip toeing will not get you far.

It is possible to create an app of your own even if the idea has already been used by dozens of others. It all comes down to how you do it and more importantly how you make it your own.

Don’t let the numbers scare you. If you want to make an app then go right ahead and make it. Just do it well.

Web Apps Are Only Getting Better, So Make The Most Of It

The web wasn’t always the massive, interactive sprawl it is today.

When it was first created, it was basically just a collection of hyperlinked documents and the beginnings of its interactivity started in the early 2000s with the hype of “Web 2.0”. From the early IRC chat boards and plain HTML pages, the Internet evolved to its current form, in which users can shop, email, work and collaborate, all through the use of web apps such as Gmail, Twitter, Google Docs, Slack and Trello.

Some of these apps allowed collaboration or traditional desktop apps to move online, while others such a Slack and Twitter’s embeds, retained the nature of a hyperlinked document.

Despite the interactivity they’ve added to the web, the golden rule of web apps is that the native version is probably better.

Currently, native apps – the apps that are specifically designed for platforms such as Windows, iOS or Android – have many advantages over web apps, because no matter how many JavaScript is piled onto an HTML document, there is no way it could ever match the quality and performance of a native app. Though building web apps is quicker, and distributing them is simpler, those advantages mean very little in the face of the advantages native apps offer.

However, the web is a constantly evolving thing, and certain upcoming web technologies could give native apps a run for their money.

iPhone X beside MacBook

Progressive Web Apps

Essentially, a progressive web app is a website with a ‘manifest’ file which dictates the app icon, name of the app and whether it should show the browser UI or take over the full screen, which basically allows users to add the website to their home screen or start menu and launch it like a regular app. Instead of loading from a website though, PWAs are typically cached on the device to provide some form of offline functionality – from saving the CSS and Javascript to allow the website to load faster, to saving everything a user does locally, just like a traditional app.

 PWAs also support push notifications and other background work thanks to ‘service workers’ which sync local changes to remote servers and cache new content – meaning the app is as up-to-date as a web app, but as responsive as a native one.

The best example of a progressive web app right now is the Twitter Lite client which is minimal, fast and comes with a toggle to minimize data usage.

Though Microsoft’s February announcement of Windows’ support for progressive web apps made a big splash, iOS added PWA support in Safari 11.3, meaning they can be created and shipped to Chrome OS, Windows, Android and iOs.

The caveat at the moment is that Google and Apple seem to have different visions for how much a progressive web app should be capable off, and Apple’s support standards are scattered and incomplete.

WebAssembly

As computers have become faster and JavaScript performance has been optimized, the scope of work you can do on the internet has expanded from emails and writing text documents to creating music and intense graphic design.

However, an app written in Java or Swift for Android or iOS, or written in C or C++ will be much faster and more responsive than anything written in JavaScript. The speed of an app’s underlying code defines not only how responsive an app feels, but also limits what the app is capable of. Even something as simple as a Snapchat filter utilizes massive amounts of CPU and GPU power, and JavaScript just can’t compete.

WebAssembly, a binary format for the web, is beginning to change that. Being a binary format, it isn’t translated to CPU understandable machine code “Just In Time” like JavaScript is. Pre-compiled before being shipped over the web and full compiled by the browser once downloaded, parsing WebAssembly code isn’t as much of a burden on the browser, allowing it to run at near native speeds and almost as consistently.

Designed to work intraoperatively with JavaScript, web apps can have the majority of their logic written in JavaScript with only the speed sensitive parts such as the image processing algorithms running in WebAssembly.

One of the benefits of WebAssembly is not having to learn an entirely new programming language, as high performance code written in C and C++ can be compiled to WebAssembly, with even Unreal Engine and Unity having been ported to WebAssembly.

While many web technology proposals can sometimes get stuck in standards committees for years, or only enjoy spotty support, WebAssembly is already supported and shipped by all major browsers apart from Internet Explorer, and who uses that anyway?

Houdini

Though not many people say that native apps look better than websites, it is a fact that they do look different, and even if PWAs performed just as well as native apps, they would still look and feel like a website because web apps are limited by their CSS and HTML.

One of the web technologies that has, unfortunately been stuck in standards committees for years, Houdini is a set of features that would allow developers to talk directly to a browser’s CSS rendering engine. Rather than creating a set of style rules and letting the browser handle it, Houdini would allow developers to create custom styles, animations and layouts.

To understand just how powerful this might be, look at Google’s Flutter app development framework. Flutter simulates the feel of native apps with pixel-perfect accuracy, though it’s not for websites, it’s for making Android, iOS and Fuchsia apps. Fuschia uses the Skia graphics library, the same engine that powers Chrome’s browser rendering to do that styling and animation.

When creating a website, the content is defined an HTML and the style in CSS, but rendering engines such as Skia paint the pixels – meaning you can tell the browser to create a blue circle, but it’s up to Skia to decide how.

Houdini allows you to talk to these rendering engines, but instead of writing custom Skia code and shipping it as a native app, the CSS and Javascript can be written to talk to each browser’s rendering engine.

Houdini’s code will coexist with traditional CSS, providing another option should you need something to look a specific way.

Unfortunately, most of Houdini’s specs are still in the air and only Chrome allows you to test many of the ideas, but if web apps are ever to mimic the feel of native apps, Houdini is probably how.

To recap:

  • Progressive Web Apps offer home screen icons, push notifications and offline support

  • WebAssembly provides native or near-native performance

  • Houdini will provide the fancy style

What About Native APIs?

Native apps will always have a place, and native apps can take advantage of platform-specific advantages from Google’s Visual Core chip, Apple’s ARKit, native graphics APIs and all the other features which keep operating systems competitive.

However, for apps that value convenience and ubiquity, web apps are set to grow in both number and importance., though it’s difficult to predict which next-gen web apps are set to make the biggest impact.

While Twitter Lite is a prime example of Progressive Web Apps, lightweight WebAssembly-built games might soon be everywhere.