Markets and Markets research projects that the BYOD and enterprise mobility markets will grow at 15% CAGR, reaching $181 billion by 2017. Enterprise mobility isn’t a cakewalk. It can be very difficult to implement a successful enterprise mobile app and even more difficult to measure the success. "As enterprise customers make greater investments into their mobile application platforms, companies feel growing pressure to justify the money being spent. It becomes more important, then, for both vendors and procuring enterprises to demonstrate the return these platforms can provide," states Chris Marsh, analyst for Yankee Group.

Good From the Get-Go

One way to get your application off on the right foot is to define how you will measure success prior to starting the project. This is a critical step because it forces you to break down the project goals and pin down how they will align with your company's strategy. Think of it as your groundwork for clear-cut development.

No Success Without UX

60% of software development efforts produce substandard or ineffective products in large part due to lack of clear project requirements that address business and user needs. Remember that user experience and user research are keyholders to your enterprise app’s success. They can significantly affect your ROI and key performance indicators. We have previously detailed the influence UX possesses on your success- check it out here for more detail.

It is important to incorporate metrics around user experience so that you can pair them against your KPIs to make inferences about your application. Examples could be: number of active users, logs per day, how the application is being used, devices being used, etc.

Setting Your Key Performance Indicators

To be able to proceed with measuring success, you need to make sure that you have already defined the project goals, as well as how the project will align with your company's overall strategy. The next step will be to distinguish your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). For this purpose, you can define KPIs as quantifiable measures which are crucial for your project to achieve its goals. Below, I have listed some examples of potential KPIs:

  • Reduced number of off-site visits.
  • Decreased wait time for maintenance.
  • Quicker response time in communication between mobile workers.
  • Reduced paper costs.

When you set these KPIs, you need to make sure that they are measurable, specific and relevant to the goal you wish to achieve with your enterprise application. By themselves, the number of user downloads, time spent in the application or how many times a user has logged in won’t tell you enough. However, when you start comparing these against your KPIs, you will start to see the bigger picture.

Be sure to make your goals specific, the more specific they are, the easier to measure. Say for example that your company is having trouble with long wait times for maintenance requests, which has resulted in a lot of customer complaints. A good KPI would be “quicker response times for maintenance requests” or “reduced number of customer complaints”. You would then define what “quicker response times” would be, such as improving response by 10-15 minutes or 2 minutes. Do you get the idea? It’s all relative to what you are trying to achieve.

You Can Calculate Your Success Now

Now, you need to calculate all the costs of your enterprise application, including, cost of development, hours delegated towards the project, implementation, configuration, etc. Basically, any investment you have put into the project. This is probably going to be a good amount of money. If you haven’t realized it yet, apps can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime. Next, compare your KPIs to your ROI. You should have numbers in front of you that disclose whether or not you were successful.

Hornemobile of SAP’s blog wrote, “And, of course, there are a number of important intangible savings that cannot be realized from mobile enterprise business apps including better inventory accuracy, better order fulfillment, better customer satisfaction, and, best of all, repeat business. These are harder issues to quantify true value; but, they are vitally important never the less.” Not all of your ROI will present itself neatly wrapped with a bow but you should still take it into consideration. Remember that your user metrics are also important factors to gauge success.

Successful ROI is not achieved easily. It is something you purposely steer towards that guides every step of your decision process. Don’t view success as the stopping point with your application. Enterprises constantly evolve, users evolve, needs will change and so will your application.