Mobile has been one of the catalyst for major disruptions, causing businesses to rethink technologies, services and techniques; and to evolve traditional roles, responsibilities and organizational cultures accordingly.

Apart from being much more prevalent today, Mobile has become increasingly important in people’s lives – both personal and professional. Mobile is now a necessity; in fact much more than a TV or even a cup of morning coffee.

There are over 2 billion smartphone users all over the world who are communicating, searching for information, buying products and creating new opportunities for businesses.

But what does all this mean for businesses? And how is your employee using a smartphone going to help your business in any possible way? And why should your business invest in apps for employees?

Mobile for business?

​It’s simple. Smartphones have transformed us and it’s only now that Businesses are realizing the power in the palm of their employees’ hands.

This unique transaction is allowing Mobile technology to create a new layer of interaction between businesses and customers that was never present before. Businesses (in the form of Apps) are speaking directly to their customers with instant notifications, messages and offers. Customers love it and businesses who speak the language of the customer are growing quickly.

Think of this from a business context – think of the many times you’ve compiled an important email to someone on the go. Or think of the times you’ve booked a hotel room or a cab for a client using your smartphone. Or the times you have had to use your phone to get on a quick call with a colleague while you are on the train back home. Mobile apps have allowed us to do things in a way we couldn’t have done before – all this while not requiring to use the desktop, enjoying life and still being highly productive!

The usage of mobile apps is growing day by day. People use more apps on their phone for specialized tasks than anything else. In fact in a 2013 survey conducted by the Aberdeen Group, over 62% of 348 organizations surveyed said that they already formulated a mobile initiative of some sort in place to enable their employees use their mobile phones to perform specialized tasks on the move.

It is true that mobile apps are no longer a luxury. They have become essential tools in enabling organizational efficiency, enhancing customer engagement, streamlining operational workflow and in most cases, reducing costs too.

Gartner predicts that 25% of enterprises will have their own corporate app stores set up by the end of 2017. Their employees can visit the app store and download apps that they would need to get work done. In a survey conducted by PwC, 81% of CEOs acknowledge mobile to be strategically important to their business. Clearly, it is critical to know that if your organization is not developing enterprise mobile apps, your competitors are.

What apps can I build?

Enterprise mobile apps are built to create the impact. What is also important is to build cross platform solutions that work across multiple mobile platforms including smartphones, tablets and laptop (and Desktop) computers.

Beyond simple marketing apps, organizations can take advantage of mobile enabled workflows to increase productivity, improve business processes or engage with stakeholders or customers.

Before foraying into going mobile, Enterprises need to have a well built mobility strategy. Typically, an enterprise mobility strategy follows a maturity curve that progresses through multiple steps. As the organization moves up the curve, they face more numerous and difficult challenges such as training, integration and deployment, but also start to realize the transformative benefits from the apps they deploy.

Enterprises can begin looking at mobility strategy through the following lenses. Think of these as step-wise progression that Enterprises can make:

  • Apps for Marketing and Branding
  • Apps for Productivity
  • Business Workflow or Process Apps
  • Revenue Generating & Cost-cutting apps
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Apps for branding and marketing

Marketing and Branding apps serve only one purpose – to spread the word.

Well designed marketing apps are an essential tool for generating awareness, acquiring new customers and engaging existing customers. They are usually an extension of an enterprise’s marketing efforts.

Apps for Marketing can be quickly built by mobile app development companies since they rarely need to expose the pain of connecting to enterprise systems to record or retrieve data.

There are thousands of highly polished marketing apps available on the Google Play store and the Apple App store today with more being added everyday.

One example could be a company like RedBull building games apps to engage with customers.

Apps for productivity

In a recent survey of 100 CIOs working in enterprises with more than 500 employees, 76% are looking to increase employee productivity.

So what really are productivity apps?
Businesses are taking business processes and converting them into a secure mobile app that can allow employees safe and efficient access from mobile devices. These apps can have a significant positive impact on workforce efficiency as employees are no longer tied down to their desktop devices to accomplish important tasks.

Productivity apps see a major hurdle in integration with legacy backend systems at enterprises. Since many backend systems use legacy, mobile-unfriendly APIs, it becomes a tad difficult to integrate a mobile solution with these legacy systems.

​Even so, an Accenture survey reveals that over 46% of mobile apps currently deployed across enterprises are productivity apps such as those that enable report updates or access to sales data, etc.

Business workflow or process apps

It is one thing to bring current business processes to a mobile app, but it is truly transformative when organizations create apps that improve or enable new business processes.

Apps must be able to harness the true potential of technology built into mobile devices such as gyroscopes, accelerometers, location data and so much more in order to improve or create new workflows to enhance business outcomes.

For example, mining companies utilize mobile apps to quickly inspect their equipment, their work site and also order machinery or parts. Construction companies utilize mobile apps as an efficient alternative to existing time sheet management systems that include capturing photo or video of work completion.

Revenue generating and cost cutting apps

Organizations can only fully harness the power of mobile when they begin to realize the potential mobile has in generating new streams of revenue or explore how apps can cut costs.

While apps in the previous lenses improve productivity and improve profitability, they are not typically creating a new revenue stream.

​Most mobility experts will suggest that revenue generating and cost-cutting apps are the last and most difficult stage of the mobile maturity model for an enterprise. It is in this stage that mobile can disrupt entire business models and cause widespread changes in business processes.

For example, businesses using training apps have reported higher employee engagement. This is due to the fact that rather than using a simple PDF or PPT, a mobile app can incorporate videos, interactive graphics, gamification features such as points and badges, making learning via mobile a flexible and fun process. Another feature to include would be exams and quizzes allowing employees to test themselves.

Getting started

There are more than just these ways in which mobile apps can help your business. Mobile leaders and experts suggest building a mobile strategy that is short term and highly focused at some of the most important aspects of your business.

The best way to get started is to look at how you can impact working with your customers – what value can you offer them? What problems can you solve? When it is time, enterprises can then work their way backwards into their organizations to utilize mobile technology. Of course, it is also (and always) important to see a strong connection between your digital investments and business objectives.

Mobile is taking businesses ahead. Don’t be left behind.

Need help getting started in building your own app? We can help you.