Many people are still confused with the term, “mobile app” and typically associate it with applications that are built for a single platform and downloaded from an app store. On the business side, organizations see how popular mobile apps have become among consumers, and wonder how they should approach mobile app development for their business.

Obviously, there’s more to know before racing ahead to build a mobile business app.  In order to meet your users’ needs and your company’s return on investment (ROI), consider the following:

1. Make sure there’s a need.

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Many companies have unnecessarily wasted countless hours (and dollars) either building apps they didn’t need, or building the wrong type of mobile app. It’s important to perform a survey or identify your target audience and the type of devices they are using before deciding what app to build.

2. Choose the right process.

What type of process are you trying to automate with the app? A mobile app can deliver all sorts of ROI, like productivity improvements, improved customer engagement, process automation, and more. For example, one company built a mobile app that nearly automated their inventory receiving process. The ROI?  Instead of spending 35 minutes scanning new shipments, employees now spend “almost no time.”

3. Know your user.

An app won’t have a high adoption rate unless the audience wants it. Even if you build the greatest mobile business app in the history of apps and even if it has the potential to increase productivity by 150 percent you’re wasting your time if you’re not building an app  employees are willing to use.

4. Have an integration plan.

What is your plan to integrate the mobile app with back-end systems? Ignoring integration is one of the biggest mistakes a company can make with mobile apps. After all, the last thing any company needs is another disparate system. If your mobile apps don’t communicate with your existing business systems in real-time, you’re only opening your company up to data errors and maintenance difficulties.

The rise of mobile devices drives a demand for mobile business apps. And mobile apps hold great potential for all types of businesses. They can help automate manual processes, bring additional capabilities that allow you to better connect with your customers, employees and much more, and boost productivity for willing users. The simple question is: How will your company take advantage of mobile?

To learn more about improving productivity through mobile apps, watch AT&T’s video series, 4 Forces of Mobility — Force 2: Productivity. In this episode, industry analysts walk through the game-changing mobility environment apps create and discuss how organizations can move from reactive to proactive mode.