How can transactions drive enterprise mobility strategy?
From killer apps to 10-second apps – how simple transactions can drive your enterprise mobility strategy
Most of us have heard the term ‘killer app’. Even if you don’t know what a killer app is, chances are you’ve used one. In the early days of PC-based computing, it was desktop apps like spreadsheets, while search apps became essential as the internet grew.
When mobile working first became a viable reality, access to corporate email was seen as the killer app. Now, out-of-office email access is the norm.
Today, enterprise mobility is driven by sophisticated apps that enable complex business functions above and beyond email. One company might wish to provide its employees with mobile access to the sales pipeline while another may want a travel and expense reporting app.
The quest for the killer app in this new era of enterprise mobility continues. But is there such a thing? And should companies even be searching for it?
The potential cost savings of an effective mobile strategy are clear – for example, Nucleus Research found an average productivity bump of 14.6% among companies that had empowered employees with mobile CRM software. Another survey from the Aberdeen Group found that with mobile expense management, nearly 40% of companies lowered expense processing costs while 22% enjoyed a higher rate of compliance with T&E policies.
However, instead of seeking to develop a single killer app, most companies today would be better off deploying a mix of sophisticated apps with simpler, highly-focused applications, or ‘10-second apps’.
To ignore functions that can be satisfied by a 10-second app is to miss out on the full potential of an effective mobility strategy.
With a single swipe and a couple of taps of the screen, users can update the business with a holiday request and have it instantly approved. Alternatively, they can input their latest expense and have it sent directly to the finance department in seconds.
Such 10-second apps are usually focused on relatively simple transactions or workflows, but have the potential to save significant time and money, generating a quick return on investment.
For example, one company wrote a simple mobile app for the self-approval of flight arrangements, providing that flight cost under a certain limit. Prior to this, all corporate flight arrangements required supervisor approval and should managers not get round to approving fast enough, the delays often resulted in costlier flights.
The app is quick for the user, and preferable to the old system, yet also of huge benefit to the business because of the instant cost savings it generates.
This isn’t to deny the importance of ‘composite’ apps, those that draw together data or business processes from multiple back-end systems, business intelligence systems, or third-party sources of information such as news feeds or stock market results.
Of course composite apps can deliver value, but they typically take more time to develop and to get right. 10-second apps can be developed relatively quickly and generate momentum for a company’s mobile initiatives while the more complex apps get built, adopted and refined over time.
So, how should companies go about introducing the most beneficial mix of complex and 10-second apps?
Both IT and business leaders should devise a list of potential quick wins for the company that could be achieved by 10-second apps. Be creative! A good 10-second app can look beyond the employee-to-enterprise relationship.
There are numerous examples of simple solutions in the consumer market that are flourishing – credit card readers for iPhones, for instance.
The initial focus for enterprise mobility might have been a single app, often driven by the needs of a key business function such as sales or service. However, companies would be wise to also embrace the huge world of opportunities that quick win 10-second apps can deliver.
An enterprise mobility strategy will benefit from a portfolio planning process that mixes apps that solve the big problems with a few of those that solve the smaller ones.
Mobility requirements come in all shapes and sizes - companies need to recognise this in order to fully realise the potential of their enterprise mobility platform.