Consumer applications (translation: everyday apps available to the public) are great. Who doesn’t love a good Candy Crush binge or round of restaurant roulette with UrbanSpoon? Now take that same concept—entertainment or information available at the tip of your fingers—and apply it to the workplace.
Enterprise applications (apps that help you do your job) are equally as valuable. In particular, mobile-friendly enterprise apps can be the secret weapon of any B2B organization. Though plenty already exist, their universal creation and adoption are going to be key in 2015. That is, if companies are not investing in mobile applications to increase productivity among their workforce (or making their own software products mobile-friendly), they are going to fall behind or, worse, become obsolete.
But why should we invest in mobile?
Well, according to this Harvard Business Review article, the average person interacts with their mobile device 150 times a day. And if that’s not enough to get your attention, by the end of this year, there will have been 5 billion enterprise app downloads.
Joe Panepinto, vice president at Jack Morton Worldwide and author of that same article writes that the value of apps in the workplace is in the control, consistency, creativity, and credibility that they foster. Not only do mobile apps allow you to streamline assets that are being used (in contrast to the “dumping ground” that is most companies’ intranets), they only require compatibility with two major mobile platforms (iOS and Android), making consistency much more feasible.
Moreover, mobile gives you the opportunity to integrate creative solutions using cutting edge technology (think cameras and GPS) and to gain the respect of the tech savvy recruits and employees at your company.
But how will we use the apps?
How won’t you use them? A whitepaper published by Jack Morton Worldwide, Apps@Work –The world of apps beyond Angry Birds and Words with Friends, highlights the use cases for mobile enterprise apps, calling out sales and learning specifically: “Learning sticks when it’s experienced in context, when it’s needed, and immediately applicable.” All the more reason to leverage mobile apps to enable sales reps (for example) with the right content—both for informal learning and for sharing with prospects to close the sale.
But the real key to the success of mobility is the productivity it enables. The same whitepaper sites a survey done by Mobile Helix, in which 50% of enterprises surveyed said that if all enterprise apps were to go mobile, productivity would rise by 40%. Because of this belief, 20% plan to develop business intelligence or dashboard applications that can be leveraged by sales teams.
Are we ready for mobile?
Jack Morton offers these five questions to ask when determining if and when to build your mobile enterprise app:
1.) Does a good sized chunk of my workforce work remotely?
2.) Do I need to tightly control the information people use everyday?
3.) Would this information be more powerful if it’s delivered on-demand and in context?
4.) Will people be expecting mobile access (and disappointed if they don’t get it)?
5.) Can I improve a process we currently do by integrating a camera, GPS, or messaging into it?
If you answered “Yes!” to any of those questions, it looks like my prediction is already coming true… and you’ll be full steam ahead with mobile enterprise apps in 2015. Good luck!