With the rapid pace of modern-day technological improvements, business efficiency is becoming easier than ever before.

You can streamline and automate a long list of tasks within your business, allowing you to shift your focus and attention to the strategic elements of your company.

Effective business process automation depends on a clearly-established workflow. You must intricately understand each part of the entire process for this approach to work. That’s the only way you can ensure an automated process is efficient, and not clunky and time-consuming.

But with more and more workflows being automated with both off-the-shelf software applications and custom developed internal programs, clashing technologies can create new inefficiencies within a business. Especially when users of these apps are accessing them from multiple locations and on different devices.

That’s where understanding the power of cross-platform apps comes into play.

This article will make a case for developing a cross-platform app as an excellent method to improve efficiency and get better results from your business process automation.

What Is a Cross-Platform App?

Simply put, a cross-platform application is a program that you can use on various web browsers, and from different operating systems (OS).

A few years back, developers would build different versions of an app so that it could function on each operating system, rather than using a holistic approach. Today, new technologies have given programmers the capability to develop cross-platform apps and streamline the development process.

Why Would You Develop a Cross-Platform App?

Here are 3 reasons you would consider developing a cross-platform application:

1. It Costs Less.

Cross-platform applications are less expensive to create and maintain if they are correctly built. You only need to invest once to get the app developed and don’t need to spend additional money every time you want to include another operating system.

As far as maintenance goes, cross-platform applications register lower expenses. Simply put, such an app will have user interface elements specific to each platform, that are then integrated into a common codebase. That means that potential bugs can be fixed a lot easier because you can go directly to the primary codebase to do so.

2. You Can Build It Faster

It takes a lot less time to create a cross-platform app than it does to make several separate operating system specific ones. Think of it as a win-win situation both for your company (you can have the app sooner and start integrating it into your workflow) and the developers.

3. It’s Consistent

By opting for a cross-platform application, you are ensuring that it will look and perform the same way on various operating systems. If an app feels different or requires different methods to use it depending on the OS, it becomes a user experience challenge.

Tips for Developing Cross-Platform Apps

1. Start with the User in Mind

You are not creating an application for the sole reason of crossing something off your company’s bucket list. You want to provide something of value to your employees and help them streamline different processes. Therefore, you need to put them at the center of your development process.

Look beyond the design and basic functionalities and ensure that you can integrate the app fully into your workflow.

2. Map out an In-Depth Development Timeline

Development teams usually have a timeline that maps out every stage of creating the app from start to launch. You need to know that timeline.

Your app is part of a wider strategy to raise business efficiency, so it’s necessary to know when this particular piece of the puzzle will be ready for action. Not to mention that monitoring the timeline will let you stay ahead of things and bring in any modifications you see necessary.

3. Bring Together the Right Talent

It doesn’t take just one person to make a cross-platform app, at least not one meant to streamline a complex business process. Developers, contractors, designers, testers, project managers all play a vital role in developing your application.

Choosing the right team is vital. Not doing so might cause a domino effect that leads to a useless application, forcing you to either start over, or scratch the idea altogether.

This process requires a team effort, so you must make sure that everyone involved:

  • Knows and understands the project (what it does, what it’s for etc.);
  • Is good in their respective fields;
  • Can see a few steps ahead (to avoid common mistakes);
  • Can work in a team (can communicate and interact with each other);

Keep in mind that app development can be a costly exercise if you don’t resource it effectively, so seek to understand the financial commitment you are getting into.

4. Use Reliable Cross-Platform Modules and Technology

The quality of a cross-platform app depends on using the right modules and technology. There are multiple popular tools currently used for cross-platform apps such as PhoneGap, Sencha, or Xamarin.

Modules help with an app’s cross-platform handling, meaning it does not need extra time to work on multiple engines. They also offer flexibility when integrating some added features. The technology needs to simplify the task at hand, so it’s best to choose it based on the individual needs of your application.

5. Create a Consistent UX across All Platforms

The look and feel of your application is not something you want to ignore. Its success depends on whether people like how it looks, and like to use it.

So, your app needs to look great but keep in mind that it also must be consistent across all platforms, both regarding how it looks, and how it operates. You don’t want an Android user to feel as if the app they are using was, in fact, created for iOS, and vice versa. There should be no difference between platforms from a user’s perspective; the app has to look and feel the same regardless of the operating system.

Conclusion

It’s becoming increasingly clear that businesses that jump on the digital bandwagon are performing better than the ones that remain stagnant. Markets are incredibly dynamic, and trends can change in the blink of an eye. Companies that stay ahead of that change, and offer the necessary means for a smooth transition from yesterday’s processes to today’s cutting-edge capabilities are usually the ones that last.

Of course, a cross-platform application won’t magically improve your company’s workflow overnight. It is, however, essential to understand that these digital solutions can have a substantial, positive impact on process optimization, and might even improve employee productivity.

Create an app that will ultimately help your staff with their tasks. Have their needs in mind when you’re discussing app functionalities, and think of ways to optimize their workflow. You’ll then reap the rewards.

About Greg Kohl

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