Today, a successful enterprise has to live up to a certain digital innovation image. Else, it would soon be out of business. Consumers and employees alike have high expectation from mobile apps and this truly can be your differentiator. The future is going to see the steep increase in the use of wearables and connected devices and mobility is the foundation for these capabilities. Enterprises are challenged to adopt the changing landscape of mobile technology. Here are 5 ways your mobile teams are going to change this year and what you can do about it.
1. Mobile center of excellence team is no longer optional:Until now, you might have had a lean mobile team.
You might have pulled an ad-hoc team together to develop something fast. Both approaches are no longer sustainable since you would need a solid, consistent and high-quality team to meet your business goals of A. boosting revenue B. increasing employee productivity and C. beating competition.
2. Consumers and employees demand mobility:It is 2016 and if you haven’t yet looked at apps for your employees, you must do so now. A cellular phone has become as ubiquitous as a daily shower and any reasoning of unavailability of apps for employees would be a key factor in retaining that talent. It showcases the culture of your company in poor light and might lead to huge attrition rates. Consumer apps on the other hand might have to be re-evaluated against the business goals and revamped with newer technology initiatives.
3. The number of mobile apps are increasing:Mobile apps are quicker and more-targeted in their function than desktop applications. Hence, they produce accelerated and better results in Operations. But how do you deal with the multitude of desktop applications that you currently have? This can be overwhelming if you do not look at the business functions and combine into a single app versus one-to-one mapping of desktop applications to the mobile screen.
4. Be Agile or be left behind:Traditional waterfall techniques and large requirements documents fail in the mobile world. Mobile is a visual medium and the UI drives the integration, orchestration as well as security of the data. Hence fast, iterative cycles (Agile) are best for development of the mobile apps. The development and testing would be an ongoing activity where there are continuous deployment cycles. Minor releases with business value will give you the edge to be successful with both your customers as well as your employees.
5. Prioritize mobilization of your business: Until now, your apps might have catered to the customers for the highest selling goods or services. Sales or field service engineers might have also had access to certain apps. But now, the time is right to take a look across other business functions. It is time to ponder about the employees who access it and whether it is CRM/ERP or supply chain applications. The key is in prioritizing these requirements and not porting them onto the mobile device directly. The best apps are those that are intuitive but add complex functionality from multiple data sources.
The good news is that you have help on the way…
While the complexity of building mobile apps has gone up, the ability to execute has become relatively easier. With our experience of engaging with such teams, you can confidently build a successful enterprise mobile team.
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I talk to a lot of enterprises about the use of mobile apps. While some of them are happy with what they have, many are challenged with how to utilize them for business benefits. It is a pity since just like businesses use the web; they can use mobile apps to boost their sales or efficiency.
I am sure you will find something in the list of 34 apps below that you can use for your enterprise. I also urge you to download a free report to avoid the 3 biggest mistakes of mobile app development. It’s free and will give you extra stimulation to get started.
You have watched Starbucks, Dominoes pizza and others launch successful mobile apps.
You have tinkered with your own mobile projects and wondered how successful they would be.
But despite all the mobile apps advice out there, you sense that enterprise apps are different from building the 99c apps for consumers.
And you are faced with the challenge of finding how to effectively use mobile apps in the enterprise.
The one-thing enterprises need to be successful today
Latest technologies have turned traditional businesses on their head.
No longer can you simply be good at what you manufacture, sell or provide. You better have a solid foundation of how consumers, partners and employees reach your product and services.
For today’s businesses building a mobile app is non-negotiable.
But how do you go about it? How do you make it work to produce results?
Presenting 34 mobile apps that you can shamelessly plagiarize for your business
Revenue generating apps: These include apps for customers to either buy your products or know details about your services. It also includes tools for sales or business development personnel whether they can easily demonstrate the product features. Customer service where customers can easily reach a representative in a chat window on their phones to answer questions or issues related to your products. Apps can be powerful tools when combined with location-detecting capabilities of the users’ phones to send promotional material and attract them to your store. A partner portal app can help your distributors and re-sellers to access your product catalog.
8. HR apps - benefits/vacation approvals /performance
9. Reimbursements - From work-related travel, conferences
10. Time management - Time sheets etc.
11. Meetings on the go
Internal Collaboration apps: Today’s workforce uses a multitude of collaboration apps – whether it is internally developed share point sites or pre-packaged solutions like Jira or Slack. Determining the important functionality that can be accessible on the go is crucial for your mobile apps success of internal apps.
13.Product management dashboard
14.Employee chat /collaboration platforms e.g., Confluence
Order management and fulfillment: Order management is a revenue supporting activity for most retailers, distributors, vendors or manufacturers. Ensuring the availability of inventory and updating inventory as soon an item is shipped can also be controlled via the mobile apps. This is in-turn integrated with invoices received and tracking it with respect to the payment terms.
15. Inventory management
16. Order management/shipping/tracking
Procurement: Every organization has procurement crucial to supporting the business. Tracking vendor delivery of raw materials, performance of vendors as well as timely requisition approvals are some of the functions that can be effective when leveraged on the mobile app.
18.Procurement - requisitions and purchase orders/approvals
19.Supplier portal / performance of vendors
20. Contract management.
Manufacturing: Manufacturing enterprises are often bogged down by complex applications and are challenged with translating it to mobile. The key is in identifying six or seven of the crucial tasks for performing on the go – confirming that a work order is complete or an engineering patent search can be a few examples.
23. Work order management
24. Plant operations control
Logistics and Distribution: Outbound logistics can realize huge efficiency gains through the use of functional dispatch scheduling app that tracks the vehicles’ location as well as optimizes routes for delivery. This in-turn can be tied to order-tracking and warehouse automation.
25. Remote tracking of vehicles
26.Dispatch scheduling/Route optimization
27. Warehouse automation
Operational efficiency: The costs of running daily operations can be drastically reduced with just-in-time action with a mobile app. Whether it is facilities of the commercial building or data center management, any issues are instantly notified to the facilities managers on their cell phones and action can also be taken remotely via the apps to rectify the situation.
29. Data center management
Real-time Reporting: Update trends in online shopping, performance metrics of people and systems e.g., business unit performance or cost and profit levers visibility.
32.Performance metrics dashboards.
Disruptive technologies for enterprise efficiency: With the growth of sensor based connected devices(IoT) as well as wearables, it is even more imperative to ensure that mobile apps are in place. That is the only way to adopt these disruptive technologies for staying ahead of your competitors.
In conclusion, there are multiple use-case scenarios for using mobile apps in your enterprise. But, what is important is that a mobile app does not translate well if you just convert a web application onto a small screen. Identifying what are crucial business functions that would be effective on the go is key.
"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” said the phone to the MDM or why do you need Mobile Device Management?
Imagine that you have a 1000 sales folks in the field and everyone has access to their CRM application on their phone. They are now requesting access to submit their travel receipts via the phone. The regional sales director wants to see the sales reports on the go.
So you decide to roll out all these apps and folks are super happy. So everyone walks into sunset happily , right? Wrong! The next thing you hear is complaints about lost or stolen phones and you are worried some hacker is going to compromise your sensitive enterprise information. You wish that there is a magic button that you can use to remotely control your information.
What the heck is MDM? Enter, MDM or Mobile Device Management - this would typically be that “magic button” that you can use to remotely wipe your enterprise data in case of lost or stolen devices. But that is not their only function. They also have the ability to remotely distribute your application, new apps , configurations settings for not just smartphones but also tablets.
They optimize the functionality of the mobile devices while at the same time protecting the data as well as configuration settings for all devices inside the firewall of your enterprise. This helps in lowering the support costs and business security risks.
BYOD Nightmares resolved!Increasingly employees are using their own devices at work(Bring Your Own Device) and would rather not opt for an enterprise provided device. But, they do request the access of enterprise data on their personal devices. So what do you do?
The latest features of MDM tool offers security at the app-level so that employees, contractors or remote workers have complete control of their devices. That way employers can attract, retain and inspire talent by giving your employees power over the way they engage with your systems.This also avoids any legal issues as well as assurance to employees of it not being intrusive. Administrators have an intuitive dashboard where they obtain detailed reports as to the apps that have been installed or removed. Via this portal, administrators can also send important notifications and alerts to employees.
Does it consider all my security scenarios?
Data protection:This is best achieved by containerization, where in MDM tool creates a partition on the mobile device, limiting all corporate data, apps and communication within this container.It requires a separate login apart from login to the device.
Device protection: Jailbreaking into a device can be prevented as soon as an MDM administrator is alerted about the jailbreak.MDM also ensures that PIN and password security are routed through the MDM tool.Of course the option to remote wipe the data is a lifesaver.MDM also allows only whitelisted apps to be installed thereby limiting the risk of infection. MDM also assists in enforcing encryption on all mobile devices, hence protecting the device.
Mobile connectivity: How can the connections between the devices and company resources be guaranteed secure? With MDM, organizations can mitigate the risk of insecure communication by blocking third-party configurations to remove certain functions on the mobile device and enabling certain features within a mobile management product. For the former, one area to review is the ability to enable VPN connections on mobile devices so they communicate back to the organization securely.
So is it foolproof? Like with every application, MDM has many pitfalls. The most important of them is the ability to support the multitude of devices along with the OS versions. The second thing to consider while selecting the tool is how intrusive can it get when employees have their own devices. This helps in assuring employees that their personal data cannot be accessed by the enterprise.
Adding mobile app security features like single sign-on, copy and paste restrictions, and encryption are tedious and requires quite some time by the MDM administrators.
What does the future look like?
Gartner predicts that Demand for Enterprise Mobile Apps Will Outstrip Available Development Capacity Five to One.That combined with workforce owning multiple mobile devices means that enterprises have to have more robust MDM policies.They would also embrace newer solutions presented by MAM (Mobile Application Management) and MIM (Mobile Information Management). All these indicate that the smart phones and MDM are here to stay for a long time to come.
This is a series of my original posts in Tuesday Tech Tempo.
As a bonus, Get a free report on How to avoid the three biggest mistakes of Mobile Apps Development!
Every CIO has heard of the Internet of things at the Gartner conference and for the first few weeks even discusses it at the staff meetings. But, there ends the story. Before enterprises can think about Internet of things, you need to do a health check and see if there are opportunities for adopting mobile to improve revenue, productivity, efficiency or innovation.
At this week’s “Intel's coming-out party for the Internet of Things”, the dancing robots and death-defying bikes took the center stage. You must be thrilled at this announcement and look forward to adopt these chips in your organizations. Yet, there is a long way to go before these things can become mainstream. The first step in this process would be to adopt mobile in your enterprise.
Unless you start adopting mobile, IoT would become a far-fetched dream that competitors would embrace and forge ahead of you.
Why is that important you might ask? Having worked on enterprise mobile for a few years now, I have seen enterprise mobility providing tremendous functionality at the fingertips of employees. This is powerful when the mobile functionality can be extended to the sensors that can detect and send signals (this is the foundation of the IOT) Unless enterprises step up and embrace mobile to 1. Increase revenue 2.boost employee productivity and 3. Increase efficiencies, the chances of them adopting IOT is remote. Once the mobile tools and techniques are in place, the transition to Internet of things would occur organically.
So, how can enterprise mobile bring value to the table? Take a look at this article Five digital disruptors talk successes and strategies And you will begin to understand why it is such a big deal.
Michael Nilles is the CIO of the Schindler Group, a 141-year old elevator and escalator manufacturing business. He is the winner of this year's MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award, and alludes to "a real-time maintenance system that connects sensor technology with mobile applications, creating a "digital tool case" for the company's more than 20,000 field workers. If a machine goes offline, sensors send an alert to a central dispatch, where the next course of action is automatically decided, including assigning and even prioritizing the work to a technician in the area"
If you are a warehouse supervisor and you are wondering how to replenish your goods, what orders to be placed is at your fingertips on your device and you just need to approve a PO against the contract with your supplier. Since you are not tied down to your desk, you can walk around the warehouse ensuring that the desired goods are indeed depleted and deactivate temperature control under the replenishment occurs.
And similar to this article, you can also find uses where a driver on the move is tracked with the map feature and also clicks on delivery confirmation, which is in-turn connected to the back end system where inventory is deducted. The trick is to ensure that you act just in time along with no superfluous activities on the device.
It is not just logistics or manufacturing as described above. You can see healthcare, transportation, education, energy and other industries use the enterprise apps to increase their daily efficiency.
The question is not should you but when do you plan to adopt mobile applications internally as well as extend to your customers. This will be the single differentiator to beat competition in this ever-adopting world of digital innovation.