Remote work is the future. According to a study published by Upwork, close to a third of all workers will be fully remote by 2028. Collaborating with your remote team members and ensuring a streamlined work set up can be a challenge when a major chunk of your workers don’t log into your office .
Cloud and apps have made it easier for employees to work remotely. But here is the challenge – every business has its own unique needs. What works for one organization may not necessarily work for another. Also, using the cloud to operate all components of your business can be expensive. Most cloud apps are subscription-based–signing up to even a handful of these apps can cost you several hundreds of dollars.
In such cases, you might consider building an app from the ground-up, at least for the part of your business that needs of custom solutions.
Here’s a quick guide on how to implement a mobile app strategy to deal with remote teams.
Identify your needs
Make a laundry list of all things that your business needs to run your operations seamlessly. This starts with setting up a scalable recruitment process, training them, offering tools to collaborate, running marketing processes, dealing with customer support, and finally, accounting.
Some of these needs are universal and are similar to what most other organizations face. For example, you’ll need applications to track job applications, onboarding recruits, handling employee records, manage employee absence and vacations, etc. You could make use of popular HRMS apps for this purpose.
But this is not the case for several other aspects of your business. For example, consider the case of Graviteq, an Australian company offering businesses with qualified rope access technicians across various industries. This is a niche industry that may not have many reliable third party apps that help with its operational aspects. Such businesses may consider building their own apps to deal with employee and operations management.
Building your own apps
Once you have identified the specific functions that need to be fulfilled by custom-built apps, it is time to chart out a strategy. Some functions can be fulfilled by standard app elements like forms, messaging functions, live chat, online payment gateways, video chat, etc. Such apps can be easily integrated with no real coding required.
There are, however, a lot of other use-cases where custom-development is desperately needed. In such cases, you must consider investing in a trusted mobile app development company. Doing so will help you build an exhaustive plan of your needs and translate them into applications that your remote team will need.
Here are some use cases:
- A sales-driven business can build a sales management app for SDRs to come together to plan strategies and keep others updated.
- A company that offers Virtual Assistant services may build an internal app to assign tasks from clients to various VAs.
- A web development company that uses freelancers to build their product may build a custom application to handle the bidding process and also manage various open projects
- An agency that offers audio transcription services may build an app that records phone and video conversations from the clients’ end to be automatically create new projects for transcription
Things to take care of
There are several factors that decide which of your remote business functions need to be handled with third party apps and which needs to be handled with custom app development. Budget is definitely a factor. Would you rather invest a few thousand dollars upfront to build a custom app today, or spend a small chunk of it in subscription fee over several years?
Also, how sensitive is the data being handled? Would you rather give access to a third party app like Google Drive or Amazon AWS to store and process your data, or keep them in-house? The answer to this question depends on the regulations in place, how secure your local server is compared to security on third party cloud services, and definitely how much you would trust the service provider with your data.
Thirdly, you must also consider cloud data portability. Some third party apps tend to lock in the data generated using their apps. If the data you generate using these apps is critical to your operations, then it is important to pick an app that makes it easy to port your cloud data.
Lastly, also consider the impact of using multiple apps on the productivity of your remote teams. Operating with a remote team is challenging as it is. Using dozens of apps could make the process even more cumbersome. It is worth pointing out that not all members of your organization may use each of your apps. It is a good idea to ensure that the average member of your team does not have a need for more than 3-4 apps. This brings better organization to your workflow and makes it more seamless.
The cloud can help remote teams significantly improve their workflow and efficiency. Making use of mobile apps help teams of all kinds (those on the field or people working from home) collaborate with internal and external stakeholders in executing their tasks successfully.