5 Myths About Custom Mobile Applications

Many businesses are enjoying the benefits of using a custom software solution, which can save the company time, money and resources. Good business software can effectively manage the day-to-day activities of a business. It can also collect data to provide analytical insight so management can make smarter business decisions.

Yet, there are still common misconceptions around custom applications that can deter businesses from going custom. Let’s debunk them:

  • Myth #1: Custom apps come with a high price tag. 

Custom applications will cost more than off-the-shelf applications, but the same is true for any product or solution that is customized. The cost of a custom app depends largely on the desired features, the complexity of the design, back end complexity, and platform compatibility, among other factors.

For a custom option at a lower price point, FUSION OF IDEAS offers a Dynamic Content System, in which the app design is templated, but allows for custom fonts, colors, designs, and logo to fit your brand. 

FUSION OF IDEAS' Dynamic Content System is a simplified content application that can be customized to fit your business.
FUSION OF IDEAS’ Dynamic Content System is a simplified content application that can be customized to fit your business.
  • Myth #2: Custom apps are only useful in niche markets.

Businesses in any industry can benefit from custom applications. Fortune 500 companies have seen an increase in revenue with custom software. This can also be the case for smaller, local businesses, and even startups. According to studies, business mobile apps have a higher conversion rate when compared to desktop or mobile websites. 

  • Myth #3: Custom apps take too long to build.

The reality is, the amount of time required to build a business app depends on the requirements of the company. There are a variety of factors involved in building a great mobile app. Some companies need multiple functionalities to serve different business units, which adds to the development time. Understanding the steps to develop a custom app can ease any apprehension about the time it takes to build your custom software.

  • Myth #4: Off-the-shelf apps are more convenient and easier to use. 

Off-the-shelf apps do not offer the two main benefits of a custom application: security and scalability. Let’s look at both.

First, custom software offers security for your business. Because a custom app is used by only one company and there is no public documentation to shed light on possible attack vectors, it’s more difficult for hackers to crack into your system. 

The second benefit is scalability. Off-the-shelf applications may be easier to use and faster to set up at first. But when your business grows in size, these apps may not be able to handle the load. When you build a custom application built solely for your business, updates can be made and the app can expand with your operations as it grows. 

  • Myth #5: Custom software does not integrate well with existing IT systems.

The reality is actually the opposite. Rather than needing your system to fit a pre-developed software product, custom software is built to fit your existing IT ecosystem. A good app developer will provide a solution for app integration, which includes a private, secure and dedicated cloud or internal server. For seamless integration, have your API (application programming interface) accessible for the developer. 

Why Choose A Custom Mobile App For Business Training?

There is a surge in the number of remote employees in the workforce. According to Deloitte’s 2018 “Global Human Capital Trends” report, 37% of the leaders surveyed said they expect an increase in contractors by 2020, 33% predict a rise in freelancers and 28% foresee growth in gig workers.

As a response to the growing number of remote employees in the ever-changing world of technology, many companies are undergoing a digital transformation, which is the integration of technology into all aspects of a business. And in the digital transformation journey as it relates to business training and education, finding the right software to digitize your existing business training program can be daunting.

With an abundance of software solutions out there, how do you ensure that your employee’s Learning Experience will meet the goals of your organization? And what do you need to consider when implementing new training techniques for your business?

Mobile Application For Training

Most mobile users can agree that most of what is done on our devices, from looking for a nearby restaurant to getting the latest news, is done through apps. That’s because mobile apps are faster, easier to use and more engaging.

The usefulness of mobile apps can be carried into business training and education. Mobile applications are driving the market because they are easy to use and do not require a new IT infrastructure when implementing them into the existing training programs.

A Customized Learning Experience

Mobile apps are remarkably different from traditional business training formats. While traditional learning modules follow a linear learning format, digital learning on a mobile application allows for a personalized experience.

While there are many options for training mobile apps, one size does not fit all. There are pros and cons to each software and you will either have to compromise your program to fit the software or utilize more than one software to fit your needs.

A custom-built mobile application allows organizations to remove, alter or add content to fit the needs of the business. Through a portal, admins can push updates and adapt to varied training needs, including compliance, soft skills, products and change management. Training can be delivered to mimic the organization’s actual work environment, and content branded with company logos and corporate color schemes.

If the idea of a custom application is appealing but the thought of developing an app from the ground up is daunting, consider a customizable content management system (CMS).

A templated application that displays content using a list or menu view, a customized CMS allows you to personalize the fonts, colors, designs, and logos to fit your brand. You can add, modify and remove content to fit your training module. With just one template, you can create various versions of your program, depending on your training needs. And finally, you can create rules to qualify how each course is approached.

On the admin side, you’re equipped with an easy-to-use web admin portal where you can continuously make changes to the content on display. This gives you a streamlined way to create and manage an app without having to hire a dedicated developer. After an initial design and development period of the app, the system is entirely yours to control. The end result, a cookie-cutter setup process with unique, personalized results.

Ready To Build?

If you are ready for a custom application for your workplace training program, a good place to start is with the leadership in the department where the training is coming from, as well as your IT team. Getting your IT involved early in the process will alleviate potential issues when implementing the application into the existing IT ecosystem.

It can also be beneficial to survey past or potential trainees who may be using the app to understand the level of their technical knowledge. The more information available, the more prepared your company will be when speaking with an app developer. Start with your end goal in order to properly communicate direction and insight to the app developer.

Custom applications should be tailored to your business to allow greater efficiency. Employees who use a mobile application will get the maximum Learning Experience, ultimately saving the company time, money and resources.

This article was originally published in eLearning Industry.

5 Must-Have Features for Your Mobile Business App

As a business owner, you see the benefits of having a mobile application to help create efficiencies, cut operation costs and increase mobility.

Before you rush into the development stage, you should clearly identify your primary goals for your mobile solution and secondly, understand the features that you may want to be included in the app.

While most app features are discovered during initial conversations with the developer and discussed throughout the development process, it is still important to know and understand the elements of an effective mobile app.

To help you get started, we’ve put together the top five features of good mobile apps:

1. An Attractive User Interface

Visual design is not only about selecting the perfect images, colors, icons, fonts, but also determining how the appearance of the application impacts the user experience. The architecture and design phase is typically the first phase of every app development process, as it lays the foundation for the look and feel of the app.

2. Ease of Use

Eliminating any barriers to entry when using the app is another important element in creating an effective workplace application. You may lose users if they find your app difficult to navigate. In order to create the best user experience, it’s important to test your app with different user groups to find out how comfortable they feel while interacting with the app’s content across different platforms and environments. The journey throughout each section of the app should be smooth and seamless.

3. Fast and Reliable Performance

Have you ever used an app that loads slowly, crashes or completely shuts down while running? Understandably, most users have little patience for poor functionality and end up uninstalling or abandoning the problematic app. The most successful apps have fast response times and run continuously in the background. This is generally tested during the quality assurance phase in the app development process.

4. Simplicity

While it’s tempting to throw in fancy features on your mobile app, you lose your user when there are too many buttons and clicks in the app journey. Sometimes a simple, templated app, such as FUSION OF IDEAS’ Dynamic Content System (DCS), can be the best choice to meet your business needs.

5. Updated Content

When you have a system for pushing new or updated content and features to your app, you can continue to improve the reliability of the software. For businesses, it’s important to keep policies, sales messages and security issues up to date.

 

While understanding these qualities and features is essential to creating an effective mobile app for your business, it’s even more important to find the right partner to build your software.

The FUSION OF IDEAS dedicated in-house app development team follows a rigorous nine-step process when designing and executing a mobile application. Our number one priority is to create a custom mobile software solution that is tailored to your organization, and we are proud to have developed more than 300 mobile applications for companies of all sizes and budgets.

Contact our app development team to start a conversation about the possibilities of using technology to take your business to the next level.

DCS Promotion Ends Jan. 31

Do any of these apply to you or your business?

*You have field employees and need a mobile solution that offers real-time, two-way communications.

*You have an e-commerce company and want to boost your online presence.

*A trade show or special event is coming up and you are seeking a user-friendly mobile application to share relevant content with attendees.

*Your business needs an app solution for information sharing that doesn’t break the bank.

 

If you said yes to any of the questions above, our Dynamic Content System (DCS) is for you. Take advantage of our half-off promotion for DCS application development. We proudly build all of our applications in-house at our Lake Forest headquarters, and when you work with us, there are never hidden charges. Contact us today to find out how this content delivery solution can enhance your business. Special pricing ends Jan. 31.

Contact us today to get started or email our app development team for a live demo.

La Prairie Turns to DCS for Employee Training

La Prairie, a luxury skincare and cosmetic brand best known for its iconic Skin Caviar, was seeking a solution that would provide a cost-effective way to educate and train its retail beauty advisors nationwide. The Swiss company turned to an easy-to-use mobile app that allows for content to be updated regularly and pushed out to the remote team. The app model, Dynamic Content System (DCS), has become an invaluable resource for La Prairie’s education team to cut costs on travel for training.

DCS is FUSION OF IDEAS’ version of Content Management System (CMS). Essentially a templated mobile application, DCS is much like CMS in that you can easily create, display and manage content. Think of it like an user-friendly app that is customizable, yet simple.

In the case with La Prairie, the DCS app features a product catalog and embedded videos, current promotions, tutorials and the company’s history. Because La Prairie’s products are typically sold at department store cosmetic counters, its reps are on the sales floor and not behind a desk. It is important for the app to be accessible on a mobile device, such as an iPad. New content is updated and pushed out on a regular basis so La Prairie’s beauty advisors are always equipped with up-to-date information.

Limited-Time Promotion

DCS is an easy and more moderately priced app solution for e-commerce, information sharing, trade show or events, or employee onboarding and training. For the first time, FUSION OF IDEAS is offering half off the regular price of our DCS application development. This promotion will only be offered for a limited time so contact us today to see how DCS can enhance your business. Check out the La Prairie video below or email our app development team for a personal demo.

Neiman Marcus: The Ultimate, Interactive, Client Gifts

By Jennifer Fujimori

To many people, Neiman Marcus and other department stores might warrant the occasional stop when wandering the mall or looking for something in particular. But for an elite circle of customers dubbed the “Chairman’s Circle,” shopping at Neiman Marcus is part of a lifestyle – and one that comes with perks. Members of the Chairman’s Circle (the highest loyalty level under the InCircle Neiman Marcus reward program) must reach a designated annual spend using a private label credit card. Once they’ve met those requirements, customers unlock a treasure trove of exclusive benefits, including in-store dining, salon services, access to tickets for in-demand events, hard-to-get restaurant reservations, and premier getaways.

It was the last item on that list that Neiman Marcus sought to optimize with Fusion’s help. Working with the team at Neiman Marcus, our app developers created a completely custom mobile app for Chairman’s Circle members. When a user opens the application on an iPad (customized of course!), a message is displayed describing the purpose of the app, which is to detail the amenities available at Chairman’s Circle level. The app then shifts its focus to one particularly notable amenity: a complimentary trip to one of eight destinations around the world. Using the navigation at the bottom of the screen, users can tap an icon labeled “Itineraries.” This leads to a selection of clickable photographs with destination names, which users can click to view the details of the excursion and corresponding hotel.

To present this as a gift from Neiman Marcus to Chairman’s Circle members, we created a fully customized package including an iPad wrapped in matte silver Stealth Armor, a sleeve to house the iPad box, and a high-quality box with magnetic closure encasing the entire bundle. It’s the best kind of gift: one that contains another gift inside.

We have worked with high-end retail clients before and we dove into this project headfirst, gathering information from the client until we felt confident enough to build the app they were looking for. “Neiman Marcus knew they wanted to gift their Chairman’s Circle members with a free trip, but they were looking for a truly memorable way to package that information,” said Hollie Go, App Development Project Manager. “Instead of sending a letter or an email, this app is an interactive way for recipients to see full color photos and details about each destination.” With Fusion’s custom branding, packaging, and mobile app services, Neiman Marcus found the level of prestige they were looking for in a gift for their most valued customers.

Simple Content Delivery with DCS Apps

By Jennifer Fujimori

The mobile application landscape in 2018 is saturated with a dizzying array of apps, ranging from straightforward and simple to complex and colorful. Business owners are faced with the challenge of building an app that is visible, user-friendly, and detailed all at once. At Fusion of Ideas, we’re aware of just how easy it is to gravitate towards a “more is more” solution. After all, there are countless technologies and functionalities available in the app development world. But we also know that an excess of options can lead to a chaotic and overly complicated final product. That’s what pushed our app development team to come up with a much simpler app solution for clients: the Dynamic Content System.

Imagine that you are the owner of a small consulting business. You have a well-designed website with sections to address every topic of your business. But you’ve noticed that most of your competitors have mobile apps in addition to their websites, so you decide to seek out an app development firm. Your mobile app checklist might look something like this:

  • Simple design
  • Easy to use
  • Menu of 6-8 sections, each covering a service your business provides
  • Sections featuring photos, videos, and text
  • Ability to add, remove, and change content on an ongoing basis

The DCS approach, our version of what’s known as a CMS (content management system), can check all of those boxes without breaking the bank or overly complicating your app. It’s customizable yet simple – the general concept of displaying content using a list or menu view does not change, but the format, fonts, colors, designs, and logos can all be customized. As the client, you’re equipped with an easy-to-use web admin portal where you can continuously make changes to the content on display. This gives you a streamlined way to create and manage an app without having to hire a dedicated developer. After an initial design and development period with the Fusion team, the app is entirely yours to control. The end result: a cookie-cutter setup process with unique, personalized results.

This is the user view of the Kidd’s Kids DCS App.

One of our clients, Kidd’s Kids, is a nonprofit group that strives to bring joy to kids who are dealing with life-altering conditions and their families by sending them on an annual trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The organization was looking for a way to display event information as well as a photo of each child with their name, hometown, and favorite Disney character. The finalized app features the Kidd’s Kids branding and logo as a backdrop, with a simple menu of options to choose from. Each of the families received an iPad equipped with the app, so they could easily open it up and scroll through the photos or look for event details. The app placed important information at their fingertips, and gave them a simple way to learn about the other recipients on the trip.

This is the admin view of the Kidd’s Kid DCS App.

Fusion of Ideas strives to meet a higher standard than most other companies that offer a CMS-type service. Because our development team (which is entirely based at our headquarters in Lake Forest, California) have gone through several iterations to perfect our DCS solution, your app can be delivered in just a two week time frame. Our designers will also build a custom application icon with your company’s branding, logo, and/or artwork, depending on your aesthetic preference. Your app icon will be yours – not that of a third party app development company. You won’t see any Fusion of Ideas branding within the app either. The focus is completely on your company and your content.

Check out the complete list of what’s included in our DCS package below.

  • Custom application icon
  • 1 platform (iOS, tvOS, or Android)
  • Multiple groups and users (5 groups and up to 100 users)
  • Initial product training
  • Access to web admin portal to manage content being displayed to groups and users
  • Fusion customer support

Fusion can also provide additional design and functionalities, along with full custom development services outside the scope of the DCS solution. Contact us today to get started!SaveSave

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