Everyone’s doing it – rushing to make their business more digital.
I know organisations that have assigned hundreds – sometimes thousands – of people to these digital missions. What’s more, they’ve hired or even acquired shiny new offices to house this army of digital drones. And, believe me, stepping inside one of these buildings really does feel like you’re entering a hive full of worker bees. The place is buzzing – but could all of this energy and expense be put to better use?
The answer is an emphatic ‘Yes’. So, let me tell you why…
Bees are social insects. They thrive in large, highly organised colonies with sophisticated channels of communication and precise divisions of labour.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many companies. In a chaotic jumble of good intentions, teams are attempting to digitise every customer journey and product. There is little cohesion. And no sense of shared goals. To me, it looks like a fleet of buses following their own routes with the vague aim of arriving at the same destination, at roughly the same time. It’s a recipe for congestion, frustration, delays and spiralling costs.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Anyone embarking on such a journey (and have no illusions, digitisation is a very complicated journey) needs to establish a number of upfront imperatives:
It’s a long list of imperatives and, not surprisingly, many organisations choose to focus, at the outset, on just a few of these priorities. I wouldn’t argue with that practical necessity – but I would argue strongly that the 8th imperative is possibly the most crucial priority of all. If you get it right, you will be able to spin up more work and make the fastest progress.
Let me explain…
The challenge is always to create flexible, extendable apps. This will allow you to release them, at MVP status, in the certain knowledge that you can add new features the instant they become available. And you can do this without having to rewrite any of the code. Effectively, this avoids any need to build monolithic apps that demand changes every time you want to add, alter or subtract a feature. That, I can assure you, is a total pain in the proverbial.
To achieve such flexibility, however, is a dark art. I know because I have recently spent some time with one of the UK’s leading app developers. They have been helping a global bank to develop their next generation of mobile app. It recently launched to national acclaim and an App Store rating of 4.8 – right at the very top of the customer approval scale.
This experience, and I will be happy to share more details and introduce you to the app team, has taught me that there are some absolute fundamentals in design development.
To put it simply, an app must:
Follow this path and you will create a far superior app for your customers/users. You will also be able to work – in parallel – on several journeys. This will allow you to implement them in almost any order you choose and so keep the apps fresh and up-to-date.
The alternative is monolithic apps that will suffer if any part fails. Apps that will take much longer to develop and end up being almost impossible to maintain. In short, apps developed by a hive of well-intentioned drones who deliver precious little honey.
Robert Baldock is the MD of Clustre – The Innovation Brokers
To find out more details and arrange an introduction to the app team – email email@example.com