A comprehensive survey from Adobe found the top three reasons for the change in enterprise mobile apps was driven by the “Need for instant communication”, an “Increasing mobile workforce,” and the “Need to remain competitive.” Trailing closely behind was the “Increasing importance of user experience”, which reflects the understanding that the experience matters, and mobile applications have to be purpose built for real-world mobile use. The survey also found 61% of the respondents believe a company that does not deploy enterprise mobile apps is at a significant competitive disadvantage.
Enterprise mobile applications provide companies with opportunities to improve productivity, foster more meaningful collaboration, and offer more impactful experiences to the end customers. Mobile applications also help companies to manage the pace of change. For example if a big news announcement (positive or negative) comes out in the press about the enterprise, management can use mobile apps to push out their version of events to staff members. It broadens and accelerates their ability to communicate with staff at the widest and narrowest levels.
Large companies that are shifting to mobile-based strategies should understand how to develop mobile applications for internal staff, the security concerns, and the importance of streamlined consumer-facing mobile solutions.
Enterprise Mobile Apps and Strategy
According to data from a 2017 Gartner survey, “those enterprises that have undertaken mobile app development have deployed an average of eight mobile apps to date, which has remained relatively flat when compared with 2016.” The study found that mobile app development is not keeping up with employee demand for mobile-based tools.
Gartner research leader Adrian Leow says “Application leaders must turn around this trend of stagnating budgeted spend on mobile app development, as employees increasingly have the autonomy to choose the devices, apps and even the processes with which to complete a task.” “This will place an increasing amount of pressure on IT to develop a larger variety of mobile apps in shorter time frames.”
Enterprises looking to transform their operations through mobile initiatives should first look at how they can replace desktop applications in order to provide mobile capabilities. So if the firm is transitioning large numbers of workers into remote-work arrangements, or the employee base has the need for “on the road” connectivity, they’ll want to focus on apps that offer collaboration, customer service, sales field activities, and other areas. It’s wise to tackle areas one at a time, and then reassess the process and the results of the new mobile application. Integration with other systems and applications is essential. For example, transitioning customer service functions to mobile would mean mobile connectivity to customer account information and other data sources that would allow the team to perform full customer service functions. The impact on customer satisfaction KPIs is profound in these cases where the service team is prepared with all the data needed to resolve the customer’s concerns.
Companies should also leverage an app dashboard that will provide them with analytics into the performance of every business app running on their platform. It’s important to closely monitor the app over its lifecycle, with the understanding that updating and improving the apps needs to be a dynamic and constant process. Look for ways to further personalize the app for the internal or external user and find errors or inconsistencies in how people interact with the app. Another piece of this review is to survey actual users, to measure adoption and usage rates, satisfaction with the apps, and any concerns about training. These apps only hold value if they’re used by the employee base, function as intended, and contribute to the company’s bottom line through enhanced efficiency and productivity.
Working with an IT consultancy can pay dividends here as they can guide you on the best initial applications that can be replaced or amended with mobile, as well as multiple design and implementation best practices.
Increased usage of mobile devices among employees raises a host of security concerns. IT departments lose sleep at night thinking of the multiple attack points that come with mobile devices that aren’t desktops that are protected by the corporate firewall. Mobile devices are also easily lost or stolen, so enterprises need mobile monitoring and tracking capabilities so they can remotely detect and wipe the devices if necessary.
And wireless communications, whether they are cell or Wi-Fi are more easily intercepted than traditional network traffic, further exposing mobile users and applications to risks. And IT also has to manage the BYOD issue, where many employees want to use their own familiar device to check email or perform other work-related functions.
Enterprises should look for Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that can properly handle the issues with mobile in the enterprise. A skilled IT consultancy can guide an enterprise firm on the right solutions needed for their particular industry and applications. They can offer an infrastructure roadmap that helps protect various connected systems from the threats that can come with mobile apps.
Enterprises that want to improve customer-centric KPIs need a mobile strategy that takes into account the needs and mobile habits of the customer population. Mobile users create data, and this information can turn into insights for the business, so they can present timely promotions that are targeted and segmented to the right customers. Firms can reach out to customers in real time to present cross-promotions, by knowing what actions they’ve recently taken, and then presenting another item/action that correlates. Mobile applications that reach the consumer require immediacy, and enterprises should create structures that allow them to communicate with their customers in personalized and contextually-relevant ways. This can greatly improve customer satisfaction metrics.
Enterprises should adopt a “mobile first” approach to app design, by approaching website design from the needs of mobile users first, by implementing a clean and uncluttered design. They have to worry chiefly about the user experience, and design the apps and mobile website in such a way that the user can perform the intended action (purchase, review, content retrieval) as quickly as possible.
The modern enterprise presents its products/solutions in a variety of channels, and mobile allows them to capture more market share. Whether the mobile app provides a transaction function, or simply an informational app that allows the user to explore the functions of the offered product or service, enterprises need to cover the mobile channel. Consider a shopper browsing through a retail electronics store and it’s likely they’ll also be comparing prices, checking reviews, and gathering info through their phones. Enterprises need to build apps that enhance this experience, instead of allowing customers to shop with them in person and conduct the purchase elsewhere. Vital KPIs on revenue and “average spend per customer” can be increased through smart development of mobile apps that tie to the consumer’s other related brand interactions.
TechBlocks can guide your enterprise through a complete mobile needs assessment and development of the mobile tools your employees and customers need. Visit www.tblocks.com to learn more about turning your company into a mobile enterprise.