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The bad news: no matter how well you plan and execute your mobile app, at some point after publication, it is going to have to be changed.

The good news: Change is good. Change is beneficial. And with ViziApps, change is easy and free!

Nimbleness is a key factor in the core development of any mobile app, be it business-to-business, business-to-consumer or business-to-employee, and it is a factor that needs to be considered from the very beginning of your development process.

Why would you want to change your already published app? It could be for any number of reasons – maybe you want to change an offer or coupon to customers, or maybe your users suggested you integrate a camera or location-based functionality to you app. The decision to make a change may also have to do with your internal decisions. You may make strategic decisions that warrant a change, or your employees may make discoveries after using the app for a while that further increases productivity.

But if you have had your mobile app custom built, such changes can be timely and costly. The change needs to go back to the development team, which needs to implement it into the overall architecture, and then needs the programmers to code the actual changes. Then, there are more costs for testing the changes.

With an app that has already been quickly deployed using ViziApps, the process of change is far easier, and free. Just log into the ViziApps Studio, make your changes, and update the app.

Truth be told, this is the way app development should be – like updating a blog.

And aside from giving you flexibility in your app, this nimbleness also extends the life of your mobile app. There is no reason to release multiple apps over the years to keep up with change. This can eliminate the need to hold off on needed app changes.

Flexibility also allows you to keep up with technological change. Any standard features that are added to the ViziApps arsenal of functionality will be available for use on your already published app, for free.

So go ahead – publish your app with ViziApps. Don’t worry about what changes may come down the pike, as when you are ready, you can make the change quickly, easily and on budget.

So you hear us talking a lot about mobile apps in this space, and perhaps you’re wondering why. With all of the other marketing vehicles available, what makes mobile apps so critical to businesses?

First of all, let’s identify some of your other marketing options. They include websites, email campaigns and e-newsletters, webinars, blogs, and social media. All well and good, and each has its own particular value.

But what sets mobile apps apart from the field is their immediacy. Mobile apps take your business’ brand and put it literally into the hands of your current and prospective customers immediately and on-demand. This gives you a tangible branding vehicle that sits at their very fingertips and pockets of your customers at any given moment.

At MobiFlex, we think about this as POST – People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology – and here’s what we mean by that.

When it comes to putting together a mobile app strategy for business use, you must first consider the people: who are your target users, what devices are they using, and how should your app get to them?

Next, consider your app’s objectives: Are you looking to increase revenue? Increase customer loyalty and repeat sales? Reduce costs? Perhaps the goal is to close sales faster. Whatever the case, determine what data your business needs to get into the hands of its customers or employees.

As for strategy, it’s critical to consider how mobile apps fit into your business’ overall marketing and sales game plan. Don’t build an app just for the sake of having one; build an app that’s going to bring benefit and value to your business. Then be sure to think about how you’ll pilot and test your app, and beyond that, how you’ll upgrade it when the time comes.

Finally, put some thought into the technology involved. Will a native app orweb app best suit your business’ needs? What features will be most beneficial to your business? Does your app need location-based services? Will it use the camera? How should it be published? See our earlier post:The Differences between native apps and webapps to help you decide.

Whatever your answers to these crucial questions, remember that withViziApps, it’s free to design and test your apps, and our publishing fees are the lowest in the industry. ViziApps apps can be published in mere days. When inevitable changes or new features are needed, they’ll be free to make and can be implemented in a matter of hours or days.

And no matter what your business objectives are, before you start building your app, take the time to frame it out, and understand how you want your business to benefit from your mobile app strategy.

Whether you use ViziApps to build a native app or web app for your business, it’s important to consider the role of data management as it applies to your mobile business app. Think about it. Your business runs on data: data on your customers, products, services, inventory, pricing, and more. Therefore, any business app should leverage the collective intelligence of your company to efficiently deliver information to your employees and customers.

For a mobile app designed to engage and enhance employee productivity, information can be culled from internal systems such as customer relationship management (CRM), inventory control, pricing, purchasing, and expense control systems. Mobile apps targeting customers commonly include product information, pricing details, coupons, and promotions. An ideal mobile business app should be able to access all this information from corporate databases that store critical business intelligence. We’ve built ViziApps to enable you to do just that — easily and without coding.

Depending on the mobile strategy you’ve developed for your business app (a topic to be covered in a future post), there are different types of data that will need to be accessed to power your app, and different ways to access that data. ViziApps gives you the flexibility to access and update your back-end data with the app in three simple ways: through a web service interface; directly to your database; or by connecting to Google Docs spreadsheets. As always, this integration with ViziApps is done with no coding.

Data Interface Options

So which data management connection is right for your business app — and why?

It really depends on your mobile strategy, who and what your app is designed for, how much information your app will need to access, how that information is currently stored, and how often that information will change.

To help you determine the right data management interface, we’ve defined how each works within ViziApps, depending on how your data is structured.

Web Service: If your information is already structured to drive your public or intranet web sites, you can access and update it with ViziApps’ web service data interface.

Database: If your data already exists in a database, the ViziApps database interface lets you map the fields of your database directly to data fields in your app.

Google Docs Spreadsheets: If your data is not yet structured in a database or for web service access, or if you want the data to be easily updated by employees through a simple spreadsheet interface, then you can use ViziApps Google Docs spreadsheet data interface. Google Docs spreadsheets provide the capabilities and ease of use of Excel and add powerful but easy-to-use database commands. This way, you can easily build or import information as a flat file database in a Google Docs spreadsheet for use with your ViziApps app.

Need more guidance on choosing the data management interface that’s right for you? Some practical, real-world examples might help. If your app is designed for field sales or service reps, other employees, or channel partners, then you can connect through a web service interface because it provides direct associations to your organization’s critical and securely stored data. It also provides more flexibility in the types of information provided, and in all likelihood, the web-service-accessible databases are already built through internal systems such as CRM. If your app is designed for nimble customer interaction, connecting through Google Docs spreadsheets can give you a quickly customizable solution for data to be changed and updated easily to accommodate frequently changing dynamics, such as coupons and promotions. ViziApps is built with safe and secure direct access to your backend data using any of the three data management options.

If you still aren’t sure what method is best for your business app, sign up for a free account on ViziApps and schedule your complimentary one-hour online training session. A ViziApps representative will be happy to answer your questions.

As you build your business app, consider how best to leverage your business intelligence by utilizing strategic data management to power engaging and efficient mobile apps for your employees and customers.

We’ve talked a lot recently about ViziApps extremely varied capabilities: with ViziApps, users have the option of creating and publishing both native apps and web apps — quickly, inexpensively, and without coding.

So what are some of the major differences between native apps and web apps, and how best to choose between them.

An effective way to break down the key differences is to look at the areas of speed, function, and cost.

When it comes to speed, web apps can be created very quickly and published immediately, either with a URL link or QR code. Unlike with native apps, there is no lengthy app store review process. Someone can scan your QR code and have immediate access to your web app. Native apps for the iPhone simply cannot get to market as quickly as web apps because they must go through Apple’s App Store review process.

On the other hand, when it comes to function, it’s hard to beat a native app, which can use on-device resources such as GPS, calendar, contacts, and camera. These native resources are critical in terms of location-based marketing functions such as pushing coupons to nearby users. That’s a real key differentiator for native that you don’t get with web apps. Also, if you want your brand in the App Store, or you’re targeting a public app user base and you want to say, “Just go to the App Store for our app”, native is the way to go.

As for cost, web apps tend to win here. Web apps are generally less expensive to create and publish because they involve simply repurposing existing HTML or other content that’s already been created for other marketing or business purposes.

Of course, whether you’re creating native or web apps, ViziApps features the lowest cost options available, and even offers free options for certain users. With ViziApps, both web apps and native apps are free to design and test; publishing costs run from $7 to $149 per month for web apps to $10 to $199 monthly for native apps.

ViziApps makes it affordable for small-to-medium sized businesses and business units in larger enterprises to build either native apps or web apps at a fraction of the cost of custom app development.

Create a free account on ViziApps and find out for yourself how easy and quickly you can build your own native apps and web apps.

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