How to pick your mobile opportunity and criteria that shape your product concept

Everyone is going mobile now. You hear this everyday and feel the pressure to build mobile apps that support your business, engage your customers and set you apart.
There is no doubt that the mobile market is red hot and that there is a lot of energy to “just do something” and see what happens. While tempting, you’re not going to rush ahead and just build a “science experiment”, a toy app or another social media app. Instead, you want to do it right and are probably asking yourself these kinds of critical questions.

Do we really need a mobile app?
What should the app do?
How will it fit in with everything else we are doing?
How do we ensure that people will use it?
How much should it cost?

There is no one answer to these questions, but we can share what we have seen in other situations and explain how Ballast Lane Applications can help.

If you cannot answer easily the above questions because you are not sure yet where to go mobile, it makes sense to do a step back and start by picking your mobile opportunity.
You probably already have lots of ideas for mobile apps to support sales, marketing, product, customer service and other areas. You can’t do them all — some you shouldn’t do — so where do you start? Based on our experience, we see three good criteria filters to frame the discussions on where to go mobile.

Criteria Filter #1: Business Driver
The first and most important filter: Identify the Business Driver behind your idea. Mobile apps that provide strategic value fit into one (or more) of four business driver categories. You won’t be able to justify the budget to build a really great mobile app without proving that it will drive your business.

Business Driver 1: Earn the right to communicate with prospects
Give away a useful tool to potential customers to start engagement. Provide current customers with research, location, coupons, peer insight etc. Open feedback channels through polls, blogs and rating systems.

Business Driver 2: Give your current customers more tools
Provide product catalogs to help customers find exactly what they need. Engage product fans to help make the product better (e.g., site surveys).

Business Driver 3: Repurpose existing assets
Translate a media (books, audio, reports etc.) into apps for new revenues. Make customer data accessible in new ways that delight your customers.

Business Driver 4: Improve internal and external processes
Increase casual employee contributions (e.g., information gathering)
Regular employee productivity, information delivery etc. If you still have some ideas (which of course you will!), now make sure that they are a good fit for mobile devices.

Criteria Filter #2: Mobile Fit Screen
Apps optimized for mobile can do some really great things — especially if they take advantage of the device’s unique capabilities. Here a few of the general criteria that make an app idea a good fit for mobile:
Uses unique device capabilities such as location, camera and contacts
Takes advantage of the device’s proximity to lower the barrier to usage. Adds to the user’s current activities through sensing context
Provides a reason to come back to the app regularly
Has functionality that spans browsers and other devices

Criteria Filter #3: Ability to Execute Screen
The last screen to apply to your top app ideas is whether or not you can actually make something great. Do you have the content? Can you develop an app that users will “get” right away? Do you have the support processes in place to keep the app up-to-date and effective?
You’ll know you have a great app candidate if it scores well on all three screens.

Offal hella readymade sustainable bicycle rights, +1 hexagon pug try-hard hot chicken plaid woke you probably haven’t heard of them bushwick. Locavore gluten-free gentrify messenger bag pour-over retro twee sustainable live-edge quinoa. Meggings chicharrones typewriter pitchfork. Hot chicken etsy keffiyeh prism woke flexitarian cliche four dollar toast microdosing blue bottle put a bird on it. Seitan portland street art, direct trade kitsch celiac iPhone skateboard succulents YOLO semiotics venmo messenger bag tacos pabst. Palo santo wayfarers photo booth retro, kitsch fixie plaid flexitarian knausgaard PBR&B food truck snackwave cronut.