Are your mobile apps must-have or me-too?

  • Businesses are approaching the tipping point from siloed mobile apps to the need for a joined-up mobile strategy

  • Understand the five key considerations to smooth your path towards mobile mastery

Our appetite for apps shows no sign of waning: tens of billions of mobile apps are downloaded annually to smart phones and tablets. Many companies initially joined the mobility revolution with an opportunistic “we need an app for that” mindset. But as mobile increasingly becomes a way of life – and business – a more considered mobility strategy is called for if you want to go beyond “me too” to achieve lasting value. Here are my top tips for expanding your mobile horizons:

1. Set clear goals

Setting goals can be easier said than done. In today’s culture, many organizations look for an immediate fix or quick spike in margins. But when we’re talking about mobility, we’ve got to make sure we have clear KPI’s. Is it as simple as making your first app? Or are you looking to reduce time in the office for field employees? Each company will have a unique set of goals, but one thing should not vary: goals should be clear and measurable.

2. Start with low-hanging fruit

To gain confidence, begin by mobilizing aspects of your own operations before progressing to externally-facing apps that allow you to connect with other businesses or to consumers. Once you have a few projects under your belt, you’ll be ready to innovate by using mobile apps to create new revenue generation possibilities or transformative ways of working.

3. Understand all the moving parts

Once you get serious about mobile, there are multiple considerations to weigh. What are the respective benefits and challenges of native versus web apps for your organization and your user base? As company data is increasingly accessed beyond your four walls, how will you balance corporate risk appetite with end-user freedom and adoption? How will you distribute and promote your app? How will you scale apps without compromising performance or user experience? What mobile devices, form factors and operating systems will you need to support, now and in future?

4. Enterprise mobility isn’t a ‘one and done’ job

The simpler a mobile initiative is, the faster you can get it to market. But business never stands still, so nor should your apps. Mobility involves a continuous cycle of design, development, deployment, measurement and management.

5. Know that you’re not alone

If you’re relatively new to enterprise mobility, you’d be well advised to partner with a full-service third party that can help you navigate mobile waters. They’ll show you how to apply best practices, gained through their wider experience of working with businesses like yours. They’ll be able to help you objectively prioritize processes or functions that are good candidates for mobilization, and they can provide the support and guidance you need to achieve repeatable mobile successes.

Is your requirement for customer-facing apps, employee-facing apps, or both? Any which way, it’s vital to establish what strategic value or business outcome you intend to achieve by creating a mobile app. That might be direct, such as growing sales or reducing costs, or indirect, such as informing decisions, streamlining business processes, or simplifying interactions. For any mobile initiative to be sustainable, you need to be able to measure return on mobility, whether that’s monetarily or in terms of indicators such as productivity or loyalty.

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