Mobile Enterprise Apps

Mobile apps get the crowdsourcing treatment

Savvy organizations are using social media tools to tap the brainpower of their staffs, and they’re using the feedback to build more innovative mobile apps.

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When developing mobile enterprise applications, there are two basic options: Plan the process in advance in exquisite detail or listen to user feedback and iterate as you go. The latter approach, by all reports, can speed things up dramatically. But don't attempt it without a strong social media framework in place, experts say.

Dynacare, a Brampton, Ontario-based provider of medical laboratory services, used customer and staff feedback gathered through social media to produce an app that allows users to check the wait times at the company's clinics and labs, and add themselves to the queue.

The developers then continued using feedback, culled from Twitter, emails and phone calls, throughout the development process. "We created a very small prototype, let the users supply feedback and then evolved it through the feedback," says CIO Daniela Crivianu-Gaita. "You see common themes in the feedback and then deliver the next release with the features that address those themes.

"[Developers] fear that [crowdsourcing] will take them longer, since the [process] is not spelled out on paper," she adds. "We found that's not true -- it takes significantly less time. And it was a success story, in terms of the number of downloads and the feedback."

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