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How To Build An Enterprise MVP Without Disrupting Your Core Business

Building An Enterprise MVP without disrupting your company’s core processes is no easy thing.

In our guide “How to effectively manage an MVP in your enterprise company”, I explained in detail how you go about managing the MVP process.  However, one question still remained, namely, how do you ensure adequate focus on your core business whilst doing this?

Managing a “Minimum Viable Product” in an enterprise context can be hard, and it takes plenty of focus and effort. Without this, you run the risk of interrupting or reducing your focus on your core business.

If you are a senior leader in an enterprise, you simply can’t afford to do that! Our guide on how to build an enterprise MVP without disrupting your core business will show you how to mitigate this risk.

Contents

Avoiding disruption to core business while building a minimum viable product: Why it matters
No disruption to your core business: What it means
Avoiding disruption to your core business while developing an enterprise MVP
Preparing to launch an MVP?

Avoiding disruption to core business while building a minimum viable product: Why it matters

mvp

You would build an enterprise MVP when you plan to launch a new product. At the conceptualizing stage of a new product, you had collected insights from the market. You might have run a market survey for this, and you had built a hypothesis about what your customers want.

An MVP helps you to validate this hypothesis. You build an MVP with the least number of features, and your focus is to build a working product as quickly as possible.

Subsequently, you launch it in the market and get feedback. You validate your hypothesis from this feedback, as explained in “Product Management: Minimum Viable Product (MVP)”.

Building an MVP is involves the following:

  • You ought to identify the business and market needs.
  • An intense discovery session follows.
  • You need to create a “Pain and gain” map, subsequently, you need to identify the features for the MVP software.
  • A detailed planning session follows.
  • You need to manage the MVP development process.

Naturally, you will need some of your best people to work on this complex set of tasks. At the same time, you must serve your existing customers.

As explained in “What are the top ten core business processes?”, your enterprise must focus adequately on the core business processes, e.g.:

  • Marketing;
  • Human resource management;
  • Quality and change management;
  • Financial analysis, reporting, and capital management;
  • Sales;
  • Product development;
  • Product/service delivery.

While developing an MVP contributes to the product development function, you still need to manage all the other functions. Avoiding disruption to these is key to your success.

No disruption to your core business: What it means

mvp

What does it mean to avoid disruption to your core business when developing an MVP? It means the following:

  1. Your core business operations will continue normally.
  2. You will ensure that that you have sufficient manpower to support your core IT assets.
  3. The core IT assets should continue to have the necessary computing infrastructure.
  4. You will need to ensure the security of your core IT assets.

In this guide, I will focus on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of the above-mentioned aspects. The last aspect is especially relevant when you plan to utilize your core IT assets/capabilities in your “Minimal enterprise viable product” (MEVP). Let me explain why.

As an enterprise, you might have accumulated key data over the years that you are operating. Data is valuable, as you can read in “Data is the new oil”. It’s plausible that you might opt to use this data in your MVP. Therefore, you might access one or more of your existing IT applications, however, you need to ensure its security.

Avoiding disruption to your core business while developing an enterprise MVP

I will now explain the factors you should focus on while developing your enterprise MVP so that you don’t disrupt your core business. These factors are as follows:

1. People

You are currently managing your core IT assets to deliver your core business. These IT assets are of various kinds, e.g., infrastructure, applications, etc. You need to ensure that you have the necessary manpower to both build your MVP as well as maintain the existing IT assets.

You need to manage two aspects here, which are as follows:

1a. Skills

The skillsets for IT application development vary from those for IT application maintenance. You need people with technical design capabilities when developing an MVP, whereas, an application maintenance team doesn’t need the capabilities to create something new.

Depending on your MVP requirements, you could use cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), or Augmented Reality (AR). If your existing IT application portfolio doesn’t involve these technologies, then you might not have these skills in your organization. You would need to hire developers in such cases, and our guide “How to find a good software developer” can help you with that.

1b. Prioritization

Furthermore, if you task the same team with both MVP development and application maintenance, then you will likely face priority conflicts. An application maintenance team will likely accord higher priority to bugs and incident tickets that arise in the existing applications.

This will interfere with the flow of your MVP development since the team members will not be able to dedicate time to the development work. A key consideration in MVP software development is the speed of development. You will likely not gain optimum speed if the team members are pulled into application maintenance and support.

Given that enterprises have a large and varied IT application portfolio, the probability of this risk is high. You ought to mitigate this risk, therefore, you would need to onboard a separate team for the MVP development project. Our guide “Freelance app development team vs. field expert software development teams” can help you with this.

2. IT infrastructure and computing resources

Your existing IT application portfolio utilizes IT infrastructure and computing resources, moreover, your proposed MVP will also need them. How do you ensure that your current IT application portfolio gets what it needs?

You need to plan carefully and consider the following:

2a. Cloud vs on-premises for IT infrastructure

Your business requirements influence the choice of your IT infrastructure, and you will need to choose between cloud and on-premises infrastructure. However, MVP development project teams aim to launch a functional product quickly, therefore, quick provisioning of IT infrastructure is important.

Cloud infrastructure is better on this count since managed cloud services providers use advanced solutions for quick provisioning of IT infrastructure and computing resources. Leading managed cloud providers like AWS or Microsoft Azure provision resources quickly.

Your on-premises IT infrastructure team might not be able to provision servers, databases, etc. so quickly. Note that this team will also need to serve the requirements of the existing IT assets portfolio.

Opting for cloud is often the right choice for developing a minimal enterprise viable product (MEVP), as you can read in “Creating a minimum viable product for the enterprise: No trivial task”. Depending on the security requirements of the MVP app, you can opt for multi-tenant cloud deployment. This helps you to manage your costs.

2b. The cloud strategy of your enterprise

This aspect assumes importance if you plan to utilize any of your existing IT applications in your proposed MVP. Enterprises are aggressively embracing the cloud since it offers efficiency and cost savings.

However, their adoption of the cloud is nuanced! Enterprises have confidential data and sensitive IT assets, therefore, they can’t always use a multi-tenant public cloud. For some of their workloads, they will need to use a private cloud.

In many cases, enterprises use a hybrid cloud, i.e., a mix of private and public clouds. Read more about this in “Public cloud vs private cloud vs hybrid cloud: what’s the difference?”.

What if your proposed MVP intends to utilize one or more of your existing IT assets? Well, if these existing IT assets are on a private cloud, then you need to design a solution to access it from there.

In this case, your IT infrastructure planning for the proposed MVP needs to dovetail with the cloud strategy of your enterprise. This way you ensure that you aren’t disrupting your existing IT applications.

3. Utilizing APIs to access the core IT applications

This factor comes into play if you plan to utilize existing IT applications in your MVP. You can create application programming interfaces (APIs) for your existing IT applications, and call these APIs from your MVP app.

Using APIs deliver plenty of advantages, e.g.:

  • You can access an existing IT application flexibly with the help of APIs.
  • APIs make this access efficient and consistent, moreover, they make new data easily available.

Read “8 advantages of APIs for developers” to find out more advantages of APIs.

You need to find the most efficient way to create this API and consume it. “Representational State Transfer” or REST is a well-known method to create and consume APIs, however, it’s not the only one.

In recent years, GraphQL has emerged as a viable alternative to REST. It’s a query language for APIs, moreover, it’s a runtime for fulfilling API queries. I recommend that you use it for building APIs to represent your existing IT systems, and for consuming it from your proposed MVP app.

There are several advantages of GraphQL over REST, and you can read about them in “GraphQL vs. REST”. I will focus on the one advantage that matters when you want to develop an MVP that also utilizes an existing IT application. This advantage of GraphQL will help to ensure that you don’t disrupt your core application.

The software development teams that use RESTful APIs tend to structure the API endpoints in line with the views they have in the application. You create a view in the app and call the API to get all the information required in that view.

While this is advantageous, it also imposes a constraint. If you change the view, you will likely need more or less data than before. You now need to change the API too, to align with the modified view.

When you develop your MVP, you will likely have several iterations on the front-end. Assuming that you are utilizing an existing IT application in the MVP, you will need to change the corresponding API too with every iteration!

GraphQL offers a better way. You can specify which data elements you need using GraphQL, and it fetches data from the relevant APIs.

Your API for the existing IT application is no longer tied to the front-end view, therefore, you can iterative rapidly without disrupting the existing application. Read more about this in “GraphQL is the better REST”.

4. Information security and API security

Information security is key to the success of your MVP development. If you plan to utilize existing applications in your MVP via APIs, then API security is also crucial.

You need to consider the following two factors for avoiding disruption to your core business while developing your MVP:

4a. Information security for the MVP app

Given that cyber-attackers try to steal sensitive information like identity, PHI, etc., you need to mitigate top application security risks while developing your MVP app. If hackers successfully attack your MVP app, you could face severe impacts.

Recovering from a cyber-attack takes time, and many key people in your enterprise need to work on such recovery efforts. You will need help from information security experts, experienced developers, IT architects, and your legal team in this effort. This will certainly impact your reputation as well as your core business.

You should proactively mitigate top application security risks, e.g.:

  • Injection;
  • Broken authentication;
  • XML external entities (XXE);
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS);
  • Using components with known vulnerabilities.

Read the “Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) top 10 application security risks – 2017” report for more guidance.

4b. API security

If you are utilizing your existing IT apps in your MVP via APIs, then you need to mitigate the API security risks. If cybercriminals attack your API successfully, then they will steal sensitive data from your core business applications. This will seriously disrupt your core business, and you can’t afford that!

You can ensure API security in the following ways:

  • Use tokens for controlling access to APIs.
  • Utilize industry-standard data encryption and digital signature technologies.
  • Proactively identify security risks.
  • Use API quotas to control its usage and monitor the usage.
  • Use an API gateway.

Read more about this in “What is API security?”.

Preparing to launch an MVP?

While this guide can help you to build an enterprise MVP without disrupting your core business, such projects can often be complex. You should engage a reputed software development company for projects like this, and our guide “How to find the best software development company?” can help you to find one.