Smartphones are the new de facto computing devicez, so enabling employees to quickly complete key transactions from their devices can transform how effectively your business runs. Mobile apps need to be simple, fast and capable of delivering the right information. Studies show that the average employee uses a smartphone dozens of time a day for about a minute at a time. To complete a workflow in 60 seconds requires a simplification of the process.
However, most enterprise software vendors try to force-fit their business applications onto mobile devices, ignoring the reality that today’s mobile-first users simply won’t use apps that can’t perform to their level of expectations. Gartner has predicted that by 2017, 50 percent of today’s deployed mobile enterprise apps will be completely rewritten or replaced.
It’s critical that enterprises look for ways to rapidly develop apps that will meet users’ expectations around usability, mobility, and simplicity. To realize value and see return on investment quickly, companies should develop a strategy that focuses on:
- Existing workflows: Companies have already invested time and money into these business-critical processes.
- Workflows that impact core business drivers: Organizations can improve business agility and gain a competitive advantage by focusing on workflows that drive more revenue, bring in revenue faster, or cut costs.
- Customer-facing to high-volume workflows: A good rule of thumb for ensuring the success of mobile apps is to focus on them in this order: customer-facing, customer-touching, high-value, and high-volume.
Based on these criteria, here are seven types of business applications that organizations would benefit from mobilizing:
- Customer-facing applications: Remove barriers in the customer experience by enabling customers to complete activities without having to call into a central line or go to a store in person. This helps decrease drop-off rate and avoid having fed-up customers who could switch to a competitor. A national insurance provider mobilized their account creation system after realizing that they were experiencing a 30 percent dropoff in online sign-ups because its system wasn’t mobile-enabled.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software: Provide a better service to prospects and customers with the ability to generate sales quotes and request sales discounts from mobile devices. When the sales team can update leads and accounts on the go, there is also more predictability into upcoming revenue. Clari’s mobile app sets a good example of how to increase sales productivity with mobile: Notifications prompt reps to view account history before a meeting and update the account after the meeting.
- Supply chain management (SCM) systems: Service customers faster by providing immediate access to inventory information. Imagine if a customer inquires about something in stock at a retail store and an employee can answer the customer’s question on the spot by accessing the SCM system from a smartphone.
- Service applications: Provide a more efficient experience for customers before or after they buy. DIRECTV replaced a cumbersome, error-prone set-top box activation process that relied on technicians being required to phone in to a call center. Now technicians can activate boxes by scanning the barcode directly from their smartphones, saving 15 minutes for each in-home appointment.
- Enterprise resource management (ERP) software: Remove bottlenecks in processes and deliver quick wins to executives and managers. Tasks like approvals require busy executives to return to their desks, and when they aren’t done promptly, business is held up. Brocade sped up its supply chain and reduced the burden on managers with the ability to approve from their smartphones. Purchase orders are now approved in one day instead of 10.
- Business-intelligence (BI) tools: Enable decision makers to make faster, more informed decisions by mobilizing key dashboards and reports. Salesforce’s recent rollout of Wave underscores a growing recognition that mobilizing business intelligence and analytics will help business line managers make smarter decisions on the fly that will impact the bottom line.
- Human resources (HR) systems: Deliver quick productivity wins by mobilizing processes like timesheets, expense reports, and paid time off (PTO) requests. These necessary tasks are usually complex and difficult to access, so HR departments are bogged down with questions from employees. Concur is setting a great example with its mobile app, which enables employees to easily file expense reports from their smartphones. It consistently receives five-star reviews on the App Store.
With mobile, companies have the ability to transform how they win and retain customers, as well as streamline and improve internal processes. Mobilizing the business applications above help lay a good foundation for increasing customer satisfaction and driving employee adoption.
Mayank Mehta is vice president of product at mobile development platform startup Capriza.