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25Sep 2017

Why Enterprise Mobile Projects Need a Proof of Concept—Fast

To enterprise level product owners: mobile apps can seem like a no brainer, especially as custom solutions can be uniquely tailored and plug directly into the nuances of your workforce, operations and processes. Coming up with a great idea – however – does not always cut it. To secure buy-in and get a project up off the ground, that idea needs some meat on its bones – proof that the concept has tenable value and potential for long term success.

One common scenario: key internal stakeholders, generally at the C-level or above, don’t see the apparent value of a mobile app, so getting capital funding for the project becomes a major hurdle.

In building a case for a custom mobile app, no matter how well you communicate the objectives, use-cases, and business needs to stakeholders, project approval can remain elusive without a clear demonstration of how the mobile app will look, feel and function. But this does not need to discourage the product owner as there are worthwhile exercises to demonstrate value, at a fraction of a large capital budget. Among the most effective tools for proving investment in a mobile app is a well-executed proof of concept or minimum viable product.

Overcoming mobile project bottlenecks with a PoC

After nearly a decade of building enterprise-grade mobile apps for clients in the oil and gas, utility and industrial automation industries, the ChaiOne team has heard dozens of stories of product teams running into internal roadblocks on the way to getting a mobile project off the ground, resulting in:

  1. Long lead times for app implementation
  2. Negative impact on agility for DevOps teams
  3. Good concepts or ideas being scrapped
  4. Reduced morale among design and engineering teams

Because of these constant roadblocks, product and engineering teams can become understandably frustrated – hampering their agility and alignment for development operations. And, on a wider scale, the innovation trajectory of the entire company is put at risk of stalling out if teams can’t dedicate themselves to bringing transformative ideas to life.

The PoC effect

With a well-executed PoC in-hand, product teams can begin testing the product right away—gathering meaningful and measurable data to present to stakeholders. This is one of the most important things a PoC does in terms of relaying the ROI of an app to your audience.

Psychological impact

The impact of a PoC is also psychological because it shows key stakeholders everything you would otherwise tell them. By visually demonstrating the functionality of an app, compelling opportunities to tie the app directly back to the productivity metrics arise organically—resulting in a much higher chance for project approval.

Benefits of creating a PoC quickly at the enterprise level

Unfortunately, some PoCs can take months to build, which, as we’ve illustrated, can have negative impacts on the efficiency of product teams.

At ChaiOne, we recognized the quicker our customers could receive a PoC, the more successful their mobile projects would be. So, we leveraged our experience in the industrial enterprise space to create PoCs for our clients in just one month for three of the most impactful app types:

  1. Field ticketing

Digitizes paper processes for workers in the field

  1. Data visualization

Enables the mobile workforce to visualize and interact with time series or tabular data

  1. News feed

Delivers pertinent news, information and alerts to your workforce

Benefits of a quick PoC turnaround to DevOps

Yet another benefit to a short turnaround for a well-executed PoC is for DevOps teams because once engineers have a working PoC, they can start iterating to create more mature versions of the software quicker, ensuring the final release is the most refined, user friendly version possible. This has a very positive impact as the user universe can ramp up on the app faster and adopt its process with less friction – leading to long-term success of the project and the business goals.

The shift of every business to a technology-first mindset

The shift of the modern enterprise culture to a technology-first mindset has set the stage for custom software, include mobile apps, and emerging tech to be play a key role in business transformation.

In a recent interview on CBS This Morning, Walter Isaacson, a well-known biographer of industry transformers and disruptors, said this about Dominos CEO J. Patrick Doyle: “he realizes he’s not just a put cheese on top of bread company, he’s a technology company.”

The same can be said for today’s major oilfield services companies and utilities. Weatherford is for all intents and purposes a technology company that happens to be an oilfield services company. Exelon, a major U.S. utility provider, made headlines last year when it inked a major deal with GE in November 2016 to deploy GE’s Predix industrial operating system across several of its power generation facilities—adopting a technology-first mindset for its operations.

As industrial enterprise businesses from oil and gas to utilities undergo their transformation, demand for mobile apps will continue to increase—putting pressure on product and DevOps teams to create more solutions and better solutions.

To achieve increased volume and quality, well-executed PoCs, delivered in a fast manner, will be absolutely vital.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can move your mobile projects forward faster, you can find out how ChaiOne creates PoC for your vital project in just one month.

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