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Agree that Apple makes great products and improves them with just about every update and with every new product release? Yes, (even grudgingly). So when Apple misses, it makes news. By now, you have probably heard about the new IOS 6.0 launched with the iPhone5.  Users are complaining about the new Apple Maps app, which replaced Google Maps, for not living up to their expectations.

Apple device users are accustomed to tapping on and opening quality apps, like Google Maps. However, Apple’s substitute doesn’t measure up right now. Mapping the Google way incorporates years of experience of integrating different data sources, as well as producing their own images. Given that complexity then, why are users and companies so surprised when apps fail to please, even for a company like Apple?

If it’s simple to use, it must be simple to create.

There is an undertone of thought that “if it’s simple to use, it must be simple to create.” I just tap an icon on my mobile gadget and I see something useful, engaging, entertaining, or productive in return. The more important the information is to the user, the higher the expectations, the harder the fall when the app fails to meet them.

Move over to the business apps arena. Unfortunately, this perception is leading some companies astray as they decide on their mobile app strategy. Many organizations have legitimate customized needs for business apps in regulated industries or have highly-specialized sales processes. And many of them have great apps built by internal dedicated resources. There are others that fall into the “simple to use, simple to create” trap and end up on taking on a project internally that takes on a life of its own.

Building Apps for your Business

Building custom business apps in-house is not simple or easy. As we’ve seen with Apple Maps, even companies who are “experts” in building software and apps struggle with development and getting it right. There are some other well-publicized failures. Facebook admitted their previous app that relied on HTML5 weren’t providing users with the desired Facebook experience. As a result, the company went native (coding-wise) and released new native IOS and Android apps. Netflix and Salesforce.com have both add issues with apps not working or meeting expectations.

We hear every day from companies that tried to build it themselves and were not happy with the results. It’s not really surprising though. If companies, who specialize in software products and services, have difficulty, maybe it is even more of a challenge for your company.

Can you build and maintain an internal development team and software project while still focused on improving manufacturing, creating new products, hiring more sales people, satisfying customers – your core business? If so, be prepared for those high user expectations. Ultimately, if the app doesn’t provide more value than what users have now, your experience might be similar to Apple’s Maps App.

About J. Rusty Bishop, PhD

I've spent the last 5 years helping great brands create amazing experiences for their sales teams during one on one sales interactions. Helping sales people do their job is my passion. When I'm not working, I am on the ocean fishing in San Diego, Ca.