Sharing Know-How in App Development

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The story of the Abtran app began in December 2015 with a simple question: how do we make it easier for our employees to access the information they need, when and where they need it.

In this edition of the Abtran Service Exchange, we invited the Business Applications Development team, led by our Digital Services Lead, to share some of their learnings along the way.

While the driving force for an employee app might have been a simple one, the journey was deeply collaborative. From project inception right through to launch, staff across the business were invited to put forward their ideas and to continuously rate app features as they were introduced and developed.

The most compelling employee requirement was the ability to log in and securely view schedules remotely whilst making it easier to access communication channels across the business in one place. Exciting up-coming features include the introduction of ‘push notifications’ as well as the ability to upload in-app video, empowering staff to share insights and know-how across the business.

With over 78,000 in-app page views to date, the following are just some of the big learnings the Digital and Development teams had to share:

1. Focus on your customerMyAbtran App Pic
Its about listening to what the customer wants. In the case of ‘MyAbtran’, the customer is the employee. The in-app user feedback capability ensures we are continuously informed around how popular and relevant new capabilities are, whilst enabling us to enhance both new and existing features accordingly.

2. ‘To app or not to app?’
It’s important to consider whether or not you need an app. If it’s native phone-level functionality that you need – an app can be the best option. MyAbtran is a hybrid app – we used a responsive web based platform to achieve a seamless and intuitive look and feel whilst also leveraging the advantages of native code to achieve flexible app functionality.

3. Appoint one clear owner
Development of an app can cross multiple stakeholders and departments. Appoint one owner who has clear goals and accountability for driving delivery. This will reduce any possible delays from having a number of owners with varying priorities.

4. Small steps equal better results long term
Trying to achieve too much in one phase or lifecycle can sometimes backfire. We currently operate within eight-week development cycles. This gives us sufficient time to review what’s worked well and to take small steps that are achievable.

5. Manage it forward
When it comes to app development, it’s important to remember that development doesn’t end when the app goes live. In many respects, a lot of the work is only beginning. Apps need to be continuously enhanced, updated and developed. Listening to your customers through In-app analytics and user feedback will continuously inform and point to the next natural stage of development.

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