Enterprise Mobility Apps – Can They Really Deliver Bottom Line Results?
It’s like the Wild West out there. Mobile device technology is advancing at a breakneck pace, and mobile internet usage is expected to outpace desktop usage in the next year or two – depending on which analysts you subscribe to. More workers are bringing their smartphones and iPads to work hoping for increased workplace efficiencies and more opportunities to be un-tethered from their desks - and more enterprises are making significant investments in IT to support these efforts. Developing a custom mobility app that is fit for your business is one of the most effective strategies corporations are embracing to take advantage of the increased access to workers that the mobile internet has provided.
For the business, the most significant returns from mobility apps should be derived in the form of hard, measurable returns like increased revenue or decreased costs - achieving these goals is going to be critical to the success of the mobile program. There are some hard-to-measure impacts that could be tied to your mobile app, such as increased productivity or customer satisfaction, but those metrics will be harder to sell to the executives in the C-suite as a justification for future investments in mobile.
If your goal is to drive increases in revenue, then your opportunities are more likely to be found in the front of the shop – within the sales and marketing processes. Many businesses are making significant strides in using mobile in their marketing automation efforts – adding intelligence to their lead-qualification process and passing better information on to the sales team. Others are putting highly-specialized apps in the hands of their sales representatives with demonstrations, interactions, and real time access to customer data, all of which combine to speed customers along the buying process and shorten the sales cycle.
If on the other hand you’re looking to cut costs, then you should focus more on the back of the shop where on-location access to real time data or more immediate access to decision-making personnel can drive increased efficiency. The target systems that are most likely to deliver value in these cases will be in the ERP and CRM systems where off-site access to business-critical systems can streamline the business and also help to increase data accuracy (data entered in the field goes directly into the system reducing transposition errors).
In either case, enterprises can absolutely get great results on their bottom line by making investments in a mobility app. Company executives need to partner with a strategic consultant that can help to identify the best opportunities within their business for mobile to deliver value. Look for companies that have experience analyzing their clients’ businesses and isolating choke-points that can be cleared with the use of mobile. Look for companies that can help clients design a mobile user experience that will increase the odds of app usage and therefore increased revenue from your sales force. Each incremental user, each incremental business process improvement, will add up to a big mobile win.