Best practice in… iOS app development

Best practice in… iOS app development

From corporate strategy to handheld reality, we present the best practice guidelines for app development

The trusted pen and paper looks very old-fashioned in an age of tablets and touch-sensitive applications. Appearances, however, should be the least of your concerns – after all, a reliance on paper-based administration could cost your business a competitive advantage in the digital age.

Just ten years ago, companies were taking a tentative approach to the web and organisations shied away from creating transactional sites. Huge increases in broadband capability mean it would now be anathema not to create a great web presence – and, in the digital era, that type of access means mobile first.

Your workers and consumers have powerful pocket computers and they want to interact on the move. But to make matters even more complicated, the creation of a mobile-ready site will not be enough. Research suggests as many as 85% of consumers using a mobile device prefer to use apps to interact with a business, rather than a web site.

Apps, then, are what your clients want. Any created apps need to meet an identified business objective. And once you start creating apps, you must set apps at the core of your IT strategy. Put apps at the centre, and you will be able to cope with future changes in consumer and worker mobility.

What are the differences between internal and external apps?

There are two main types of app: those that provide a new channel for businesses to interact with end customers, and those that allow internal users to use corporate information on the move. Customer-facing apps boost client interaction, while employee-facing apps improve workforce efficiency.

Customer-facing apps must work across multiple channels and, probably, operating systems. Consumer preferences mean your organisation must consider all mobile eventualities. Internal apps, however, should be aligned to your corporate device strategy – will you standardise on one particular system or will you, at more cost to the business, choose to keep your options open?

There are a number of different frameworks that businesses can use to develop apps for individual, or cross-platform, mobile operating systems. Long-term maintenance costs can be high, so executives need to make the right decisions early because there is no point supporting a niche platform or device.

Businesses working in Apple’s iOS mobile operating system should make the most of the Xcode environment, which includes a series of development tools for iPhone and iPad. A large amount of development effort for your public-facing apps will be centred on user experience and look and feel, such as corporate branding.

Apps that move into transactional elements will require special attention. Such transactions will need to operate with the application programming interfaces (APIs) that connect your app into your backend processing systems.

Look and feel will be also crucial for employee-facing apps and will help dictate whether your tool is used. Data management and verification will be particularly important in the case of internal apps. Pre-filling forms with regularly used data, for example, will help ensure workers are able to update information on the move and without the need to return to the office.

How can your business create an app?

The huge amount of already-verified tools means your business might be able to take advantage of an existing app. The size of the Apple ecosystem means that, even if an app isn’t exactly what you need, it could be fit for purpose with a small amount of modifying.

The end of the line, of course, isn’t reached if a tool can’t be found in the App Store. You might need to engage with specialist developers or you might decide to produce the tool in-house. In both cases, external expertise is available to guide you through the process.

The crucial matching of technical capability to business need must be kept close to home, so you should make sure functional specification is understood in-house. The intellectual property – the area of the app that will provide competitive advantage – must be internally controlled.

Whatever parts you choose to develop or manage in-house, you will need to ensure your employees are trained and up to date. The Xcode development environment includes a series of tools and helps IT workers operating in iOS to hit the ground running.

But large elements of app development and support work can be externally managed. Just as in the case of traditional IT outsourcing, a specialist external partner can help ensure non-core elements, such as technology development and app delivery, are realised in a cost efficient manner.

How Jigsaw24 can help

You need to make apps central to your business strategy, but your executives will want assurance that the move to mobile is going to work out well. One sensible approach is to reach out to external experts who can help the organisation make the right decisions regarding potential app developments.

Jigsaw24’s ‘A Day in the Life’ programme evaluates your current business processes and customer experiences, before making recommendations on where creative IT solutions could provide a business benefit. Our team of analysts spend a day analysing your options around mobility, data availability and information processing.

Executives can use this specialist advice to ensure any proposed app meets broader business plans and can deliver a return on investment. When it comes to platforms for app development, Jigsaw24 holds expertise in Xcode and can help you make the most of the mobility offered by iPad and iPhone devices.

Jigsaw24 can also help you engage with developers who have undertaken work in a related field of app development. We can assist you as your team develops its iOS app in-house. And if you need to make this new app cross-platform, we have the contacts to create a true multi-channel tool.

Want to find out more about iOS app development and how Jigsaw24’s in-house app team can help you? Get in touch with us on 03332 409 234 or email

Video killed the radio star: A new level of digital interactivity

Video killed the radio star: A new level of digital interactivity

Businesses can use Enterprise TV to develop a level of digital interactivity that is far in advance of traditional communication channels.

What makes video great?

Leading executives suggest the ability to stream live and pre-recorded content represents an opportunity to collaborate with customers and employees in a distinctive manner.

Rather than having to rely on written text, static images or spoken audio, the digital revolution presents an opportunity to push content across the network and to communicate interactively. The amount of digital advertising money dedicated to video is set to rise by more than 50% through 2015, according to researcher eMarketer.

However, the overall share of digital spending for video is still small, standing at just 3% in 2012. The reason for the lack of uptake is simple enough – while business executives recognise the potential of video, they also believe there are a number of significant business and technology challenges to overcome, including cost, flexibility, integration and implementation.

So, what should leading executives do in their attempts to make the most of video? Help comes in the form of Enterprise TV from Jigsaw24, a platform that executives can use to run their own TV channels and push content through a dedicated iOS or Android app channel to customers and employees.

How can my business overcome cost concerns?

Video conferencing is expensive. Prices can vary from hundreds of pounds for a low-level desktop solution to hundreds of thousands of pounds for a full-on telepresence suite from a major provider. Add in networking costs, and your chosen approach to enterprise video can quickly become costly.

The effects of the downturn are still being felt and spending on dedicated videoconferencing systems declined in 2012, according to Infonetics Research. However, video conferencing helps improve the quality of interactions and executives do want to find cost effective solutions.

Recent Frost & Sullivan research suggests spending on video conferencing systems and services will almost double from current levels to $6.3bn by 2016. Enterprise TV provides a means to stream content, create video-on-demand and run conference sessions across multiple formats.

How can my business ensure system flexibility?

Executives can use Enterprise TV’s live and video-on-demand formats to push content to employees and customers in a variety of ways. Businesses can upload training videos to their TV channel. Tests can be added to video channels and HR information can be viewed at a time that is convenient for each individual, rather than having to disrupt an entire department.

As well as on-demand company announcements, Enterprise TV allows organisations to hold webinars through live channels. Or additionally executives can have company presentations to hand ready for meetings with clients. Further platform developments mean businesses will also be able to use webinars to create a two-way interaction, increasing the potential for video-based collaboration.

iOS video delivery through Jigsaw24's Enterprise TV
iOS video delivery through Jigsaw24’s Enterprise TV

When it comes to your customers, your clients can access public channels via the downloaded app. Content can be streamed live to digital signage, so customers visiting your firm are greeted with video on different screens. Businesses can also run advertising between scheduled programming and ensure targeted messages are pushed to customer-facing channels.

How can my business create an integrated platform?

Video requires a simple user interface. The success of video on-demand services – such as BBC’s iPlayer and Channel 4’s 4oD, and streaming providers like LOVEFiLM and Netflix – shows the potential for allowing people to select content of their choosing. Your users, both internal and external, are already used to on-demand video.

Enterprise TV provides a platform for your business to take advantage and to create a corporate version of popular consumer channels. The system uses a simple user interface and can be hooked into existing platforms and directory services, allowing staff to log in using their standard credentials (and other users to request them). Once inside Enterprise TV, it’s a simple click and select setup for accessing both live and on-demand content. Enterprise TV allows businesses to run up to 36 channels, so executives can run a mix of live and on-demand video for internal and external requirements.

There are no restrictions on video size or length. Executives can alter storage requirements to suit business needs. And rather than having to rely on the basic branding features of other platforms, Enterprise TV allows businesses to use their own designs across icons and headers.

Security is also a concern – some content, after all, is too sensitive for general consumption, such as HR and corporate information. While YouTube and Vimeo can help increase exposure, Enterprise TV can ensure such coverage is restricted to a targeted audience.

How can my business implement the technology?

The benefits of video might sound great in theory but your business might need more practical evidence. As proof of concept, Jigsaw24 can provide executives with access to our own servers to see how well the system works.

Once your business peers are convinced, the software and hardware required for Enterprise TV can be run either on premises or at a data centre, depending on customer need. Your business can work with Jigsaw24’s design department to customise the interface in line with your corporate branding.

Our workflow specialists can also provide advice on every aspect of the video process, from live production and editing through to final delivery and management of content. And if you want more hands on expertise, Jigsaw24 can manage and schedule the uploading of your content. We can then provide on-going support to ensure your business is making the most of video.

For more information on the features in Enterprise TV and to download the Jigsaw24 app, head to our Enterprise TV page here. Or get in touch with the team on 03332 409 234 or email if you want to find out how to make the most of video content.

Taking preservation into the digital age: An interview with National Trust CIO Sarah Flannigan

Taking preservation into the digital age: An interview with National Trust CIO Sarah Flannigan

National Trust CIO Sarah Flannigan says creative mobile solutions can help organisations overcome the challenges associated with customer engagement.

Sarah Flannigan, CIO at the National Trust, recognises creativity and innovation are crucial elements when using technology to successfully meet business objectives.

The former sales and marketing director for manufacturing specialist David Salisbury became IT leader at the conservation charity in 2010. She says her business background makes her fully aware of the need to engage with customers in innovative ways.

“We need to make the most of consumer and mobile technology,” says Flannigan. “Cost is important because we’re a charity but the business benefits associated with new forms of technology can help produce a quick return on investment.”

The Trust already employs digital media specialists who deal with social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs. The creation of real-time content is devolved to Trust properties and employees engage with the wider community. Rangers, for example, are encouraged to write blogs about anything ranging from plant health to coastal footpath maintenance.

“Communicating about nature has to be real time,” says Flannigan. “We want to let our members know that the bluebells are out or a cow is in calf. We’ve realised our website is our biggest property. Joined-up communications presents a huge opportunity.”

Flannigan’s proactive approach includes allowing users to bring their own technology (BYOT) to work. While other CIOs have chosen to shy away from consumerisation, the Trust was an early adopter of employee-led choice.

“We tell workers that we’ll support their technology if they want to use it,” she says, recognising that some individuals chose to use their own iPhones and iPad. “We’re happy because iOS is carefully locked down. We only support Apple devices for BYOT because of the in-built security options.”

Flannigan’s BYOT strategy includes clear guidelines for employees, such as instructions on how to receive work email, signed forms for personal liability and systems for remote data wiping. By allowing employees to use their own technology, Flannigan can repurpose previously allocated mobile technology, saving costs and increasing flexibility for other individuals in the Trust.

Some iPad devices have already been deployed in Trust properties. Volunteer room guides armed with the mobile device can give additional information to visitors, or can allow individuals to interact with the technology themselves. An example includes the Long Gallery at Montacute House in Somerset. The collaboration with the National Gallery allows visitors to use iPad and see more information about paintings.

“The technology brings properties to life,” says Flannigan. The Trust has embraced mobile development and created its first iPhone app for visitors more than two years ago. The GPS-based app allows customers to view nearby properties and see opening times, historical information and events. “It helps us to show that we’re not the stuffy organisation people used to think we were and it can breathe new life into a return property visit, ” she says.

The Trust has also launched a gardens app that allows visitors to obtain rich information about gardens at Trust properties. The app includes an augmented reality experience of the garden, which identifies and tags shrubs and trees. “Mobile development is helping us to reach a non-traditional audience,” says Flannigan.

Further mobile developments are being considered. The Trust is keen to investigate how tablets can help rangers conduct tree surveys at sites. Flannigan says challenges abound, such as battery life, device fragility and screen glare. One possible avenue is via the implementation of iPad mini.

Tablet devices will also be used to help recruit members at sites. Visitors are currently signed up through a manual process. Flannigan says automation through iPad would be more intuitive and help speed up the enrolment process. She hopes to have tablets on site from summer 2013 but must first overcome challenges surrounding access to power and network connectivity in remote locations.

“Whatever device we use will have to meet our criteria and we’re currently wrestling with the challenges,” she says. “But the digital age is definitely allowing us to think about engagement in terms that would have been impossible ten years ago.”

National Trust CIO Sarah Flannigan on digital media

Sarah Flannigan, CIO at National Trust

Working with a trusted IT partner

The National Trust runs an in-house publishing division that produces magazines and marketing collateral. On joining the charity in 2010, CIO Sarah Flannigan discovered workers in the department were using various versions of the Apple Mac computer, which tends to be the default choice for workers involved in publishing.

The rest of the organisation was running Microsoft Windows-based PC technology. There was a misguided belief among in-house IT support workers that the publishing team should simply fend for themselves because the strategy then was not to support Apple technology. Flannigan, with the help of Jigsaw24, established a support mechanism for the publishing department.

“I want IT to be under our control and I want to be responsible for end user support. We need our publishing team to be producing great content, not worrying about problematic IT issues. We had to find a way to deal with this specialist need. Jigsaw24 genuinely slotted in and supported our way of working,” she says.

Interested in finding out how Jigsaw24 can help your organisation? Call us on 03332 409 234 or email You can also find out how Stuart Page of Bauer Media and Chris Taylor of News International have used mobility and Apple to revolutionise operations.

Infographic: Your definitive guide to Adobe Creative Cloud!

Infographic: Your definitive guide to Adobe Creative Cloud!

In May 2013, Adobe’s Creative Cloud was launched. For some, it heralded a new creative workflow with improved collaboration and access to the design community; for others, it marked confusion. What exactly has changed? How is it different from Creative Suite? Is Adobe Behance a new type of anti-ageing creme? To make things simple and in answer to your questions, we decided to put together a definitive guide to Adobe Creative Cloud for Teams. Take a look…


Still got questions? Take a look at our Adobe Creative Cloud for Teams FAQ section here or get in touch with the team on 03332 409 251 or email


iBook: Getting started with iPad

iBook: Getting started with iPad

Let’s be honest, Apple’s iPad is pretty awesome. Everybody wants one, and now you’ve gone and got your hands on one. But, what next? If you’ve used one of Apple’s touch devices before, you’ll probably be au fait with most of the functionality available to you, but, if not, here’s our beginners guide to everything from the multitouch gestures to setting up email accounts and connecting to Apple TV. To download from iTunes click here or the image below.

Want to know more about getting started on iPad? Call us on 03332 400 888 or email us at



iPad: Meeting the needs of the mobile workforce

iPad: Meeting the needs of the mobile workforce

According to Gartner, by 2016, 40% of the workforce will be mobile. But what does that mean for your team and the technology they will be using?

From sales teams to warehouse teams and retail area managers, having access to the ‘right’ technology is as important as the skills they have at their disposal. Bogged down with a laptop that can only be used when it’s convenient, and it’s productivity that suffers. iPad allows people to be more efficient and more productive wherever they are, and all while reducing costs. See how for yourself…

Increased revenues through increased productivity – OK, we know it sounds like a load of hot air, but iPad will help productivity go through the roof. Aside from having an incredibly intuitive user interface that puts the tools you need all the time right in front of you, it gives you access to files and resources on the fly.

With access to presentation tools as well as lead and client information, your sales team have anywhere, anytime access to the resources they need to close a deal. They get realtime access to files on company servers and can use apps that hook into Salesforce and other CRM tools but present the information in a much more intuitive way.

Alternatively, foremen in a manufacturing plant might currently spend 20% to 30% of their time walking around the plant – having information on mobile technology means production concerns can be managed in realtime.

Apps that are made for your business. iPad is a great way for you to introduce a culture of crowdsourcing within your business. The App Store is home to thousands of approved apps that do everything from hook into sales information to monitor traffic and conversions on an ecommerce website.

Want to be more prescriptive? Bespoke app creation allows you to use an app that has been developed for a specific task within your organisation.

Bespoke apps sit perfectly within retail environments to help provide an outstanding customer experience. From personal shoppers to store assistants, they can give staff realtime access to everything from stock levels to guides for visual merchandising regardless of where they are in the store or in the country!

Save the planet, save your printing costs. A lot of businesses are already feeling the pressure of a shift to paperless workflows in order to reduce day-to-day costs. iPad allows you to view and annotate files as if you’re using a pen and paper, drawing and adding comments, while promotional teams who usually carry around forms for customers to fill in can do everything in a digital format.

iPad essentially eradicates the need to ever print again, and based on our calculations we reckon you could give every employee an iPad 2 and make back the cost in paper savings alone within a year! Get in touch with us for a better idea of how this would work in your business.

For architects, construction companies and anyone working with technical drawings, it’s not uncommon to have shed loads of paper. With iPad, everything can be digital and apps are already available that let you view AutoCAD drawings on the device rather than using printed drawings, while augmented reality (AR) apps are proven to help visualise designs in situ when on sites. Alternatively, for retail visual merchandising, interactive and AR apps not only save paper but provided a far more dynamic way of seeing the ideal store layout.

How Jigsaw24 can help you go mobile…

We’ll work with you to find out the best way to get the most from iPad and give you the tools and support you need to mobilise your workforce. We have 21 years’ experience working with businesses to implement Apple devices, and are an Apple Authorised Reseller and a nationwide Apple Service Provider with repairs centres in London, Manchester and Nottingham, meaning we can offer the very best sales experience great prices and ongoing support. With more than 25,000 customers, we’re already helping some of the UK’s leading businesses to deploy iPad.

Call us on 03332 409 306 or email to find out more about iPad. Or head on over to our iPad store here to buy now!

What is Adobe Creative Cloud for teams single app?

Adobe offers two Creative Cloud for teams plans – complete and single app. A single app plan includes access to the latest version of one CC desktop app of your choice such as Photoshop CC or Illustrator CC, updates and upgrades the moment they are released, and select services and business features.