Mobile Apps Can Transform Business Processes
Mobile apps can kick start business process transformation initiatives, especially in areas like sales and field service.
By Robert Lacis, Apperian
Mobile apps have taken the consumer world by storm, and businesses are rapidly following suit. The enterprise mobility market is expected to reach $500 billion by 2020, according to a study conducted by Enterprise Research Store. Organizations increasingly see mobile apps as a tool that can not only strengthen external customer engagement but also spur business process transformation.
Looking ahead, there are exciting opportunities for businesses to achieve quantum productivity gains from mobilizing daily tasks and business-critical workflows with enterprise apps.
In mid-2015, Apperian conducted an analysis of two million enterprise app deployments to help company leaders gain a better understanding about the types of mobile apps that are gaining momentum across the industry and the classes of apps that offer the greatest ROI potential. With mobile leaders spending $500,000 to more than $1 million per custom mobile app, it’s critical to ensure that apps that are being developed are distributed and adopted by a high percentage of targeted end users.
Most Popular Mobile Apps
According to The Apperian 2015 Enterprise Mobile App Trend Report, sales and marketing apps are the most popular enterprise mobile apps being deployed by companies today.
The reasons for this are fairly straightforward: As salespeople spend a significant amount of their time visiting prospects and customers, investing in mobile is helping to support on-the-go sales requirements such as quoting contracts and accessing CRM data.
Given the direct impact that salespeople have on driving revenue, it’s critical to develop mobile sales force automation apps that make their day-to-day activities as convenient as possible.
For instance, many companies are building additional functionality into mobile sales apps that make it possible for salespeople to close deals on-the-fly when opportunities arise and to shorten the sales cycle with prospects and customers. This type of functionality includes the ability to capture a customer’s electronic signature during a client meeting when the opportunity to close a deal quickly arises. In addition, many companies are embedding how-it-works videos into sales presentations that can be shared with clients and prospects.
Another popular domain for enterprise mobile apps is field services, which makes up 15 percent of all deployments identified in the Apperian study. These include apps that assist field service workers in looking up parts numbers, equipment configuration, work order processing and other tasks.
For companies that have a sizable population of service technicians working in the field, mobility offers numerous opportunities to create more streamlined processes without requiring access to full desktop applications. Mobile field service apps enable workers to report incidents, to estimate jobs on site with greater accuracy and to log in to service records to see what other work was done at a customer’s location prior to arriving. Simplifying each of these steps can save time and money.
Office productivity apps, such as apps for expense reporting, project management, document creation, business intelligence reporting and meeting tools, currently comprise 12 percent of all enterprise mobile apps that are deployed. Mobilizing work processes improves workforce productivity by enabling employees to complete tasks on any device, at any time, from any location.
Mobile productivity apps can also change the way a company does business, introducing faster ways to complete tasks and unleashing greater efficiency within the enterprise. For instance, a mobile conference call app can streamline how employees communicate with one another and collaborate from their mobile devices, connecting with one touch without having to remember extensions or dial-in numbers and conference lines.
Companies across all industries have an opportunity to increase productivity, drive revenue, reduce costs, and deliver efficiencies of scale through enterprise mobility efforts. There are hundreds of thousands of apps that organizations can purchase or develop that offer the promise to fundamentally change how business is done. As mobile needs advance, IT can customize these apps or even build mobile apps themselves.
Companies are finding that just one or two transformative mobile apps can have a measurable impact on their business and change how a critical business function is performed. This is leading many to broaden the use cases that they are mobilizing, with the goal of transforming a wide range of business processes with mobile apps.
Robert Lacis is senior director of Customer Success at Apperian, an enterprise-class mobile application management and app store platform for the secure delivery of critical apps to 100 percent of users across an organization.