In the last blog we talked about the concept of Microservice apps. Since then we’ve been talking to a lot of Operations Managers and Directors who are interested in exploring how apps and digitising processes can benefit their businesses. They are looking for operational gains in the form of increased efficiency and productivity. The question we’re asked most often is: “How do I know if my business is right for Microservice Apps?” In this blog we’ll answer that question.
Step 1: Can you keep it simple?
The secret to successful app deployments is to keep it simple. The best apps solve a single problem neatly and elegantly and become essential work tools. If you try to solve multiple problems with a single tool, you will overcomplicate the app that will probably lead to extended delivery times or project failure.
The best way to get focus is to answer a straightforward question: “What problem am I trying to solve?”
Only develop the function you need to solve your problem. We call it a Minimum Viable Product or MVP. MVPs only deliver essential functionality. When you release your app, encourage your users to test, test, test. Then ask them to tell you what works and what more they need. Use their feedback as the basis for developing either a new version or a new Microservice app. If problems are unrelated develop a new Microservice app. If they’re related, create a new version.
If can keep it simple and maintain focus on delivering only the functionality you need, you’re on the right track.
Step 2: Are you digital ready?
Business process re-engineering was the watchword in the 90s as businesses looked to streamline and reorganise processes to improve customer service or cut operational costs. The march of digitisation unlocks a new wave of efficiencies that can be achieved by deploying digital tools to replace legacy operating procedures, that are often paper-based or labour intensive.
But, how do you know if your organisation is ready to digitise?
To make the investment worthwhile, the app has to deliver easily measurable value to your business. If you recognise any of the following, then you should probably be looking to see what value you can delivery with Microservice Apps:
- You still have processes that rely on filling out paper forms. Your forms are submitted periodically to a head office where they are collated for reporting or invoicing.
- You have a dispersed field-based force of technicians or salespeople. Allocation of tasks or order taking is still very manual and there are delays between order taking or issue reporting and the process that triggers fulfilment.
- You have personnel that are mobile either inside your facility or externally, who are forced to return to a desktop-based system to update notes, records and initiate tasks. You know that this slows decision making and reduces the time they are able to spend with your workforce or clients.
Step 3: Do you really need all that data?
API integration with business platforms and server-based tools can harvest the data you need to give you management insight. It can be very tempting to harvest as much data as possible, but the more data you collect, the more you need to do with it. Only harvest data that gives you insights and beware of user privacy!
You’ll only gain insight if your users actually use the app. Keep it easy to learn and your adoption rates will soar. Make your data collection policies transparent so users know you’re not using the app to keep tabs on them
Here are some recent examples of projects that have worked:
- Digitisation of a paper-based waste management ticketing system
Drastically reduced ticketing time and automates invoicing for booking in and out waste vehicles on site.
- Medical app for Consultants to access patient data at the bedside, order tests, read notes, move beds, etc.
Drastically reduced admin time with live visibility and eliminates manual data entry errors.
- Automation of Health & Safety forms for engineering
App-based registration and completion of H&S process for subcontractors, improved compliance and reduces wasted time, giving more time spent on task.
- Staff timesheets and geolocation to log and track onsite engineers automatically
Enabled increased productivity and efficiency across multiple locations.