Realizing the ROI of Mobilizing your Applications

In part III of this blog series, we will discuss how to realize your ROI by mobilizing the applications you have identified. Additionally, enterprises and organizations must understand the different scenarios that exist when approaching app development.

By this time you have hopefully identified which applications you need to mobilize and understand how much ROI will be realized. Additionally, you should understand how long it will take you to realize this ROI, whether it be for an enterprise or an app that is public facing.

The BYOD Challenge

The next step in realizing your Return on Investment is taking a look at what technology you are using today. You need to get a handle on what types of devices are being used by both your internal and external customers. The cost to go mobile is greatly decreased when everyone is using the same platform. However, with the global acceptance of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), this has become more of an issue with regards to creating applications. While BYOD has saved organizations huge amounts of money, developing applications for each device type for internal and external customers can be quite costly.

In this scenario, you need to identify if the application(s) you are creating can be fitted to the variety of devices using mobile web or a hybrid app and must always be connected to the Internet, or if they need offline capabilities as well.

Choosing the Right Solution

Furthermore, The type of solution you need is dependent on the data you need to communicate. For apps that are data heavy, you must be prepared to use multiple threading technology. Both hybrid and mobile web apps are not the ideal solution for this, as customers have grown to become very impatient when gaining access to data. In this scenario you will most probably need a native app that can be used both online and off.

Lets take a look at the qualities of each to provide you with a better understanding of the types of apps, so you can choose.

• Mobile Web – This type of app solution is the least expensive but is single threaded so not recommended for apps that are data heavy. They require an internet connection to run. They are extremely popular due to the widespread use of web browsers and support of the HTML5 programming language.
• Native – The most expensive to develop on, it has become the solution of choice for most enterprises. It boasts multi-threading which makes it great for apps that are data heavy and can be run offline without an Internet connection. Because they are built for specific devices they have the ability to utilize hardware and software that is specific to those devices. Creating a native app for the Android platform can increase the costs of app development since a different version would need to be coded for each specific device.

• Hybrid – It is single threaded so heavy data apps aren’t recommended to use such a solution. The way this type of app is structured consists of two parts, web and native. These two parts are completely separate and communicate with each other via sending messages between each other in order to complete tasks. This type of app can work offline.
In any case, you should be analyzing how the app’s users go about dealing with data and create a mobile user experience that is as close as possible to their way of doing things. In doing so, you will be making it as seamless and adoptive experience as possible. For instance, if they are using a pen and paper to communicate data, you might want to create an app utilizing a pen-like stylus and handwriting recognition.

By not arriving to a strategy for developing your app to match your customers’ way of doing things, you may need to invest more money in redesigning or refining the architecture of your app.

Utilizing an App Prototype Strategy

When you are ready to roll out your app, it doesn’t need to be in a full fledged way. If you want to test the app waters with a prototype, there are a plethora of tools that exist on the market that will convert existing applications. There are also a number of third party services that empower you to convert existing technology into web or hybrid apps. This will allow organizations to quickly deploy the app to their internal and external customers, analyze their experience, refine the app as needed and re-release.

For more information regarding Mobilizing Enterprize Applications, download our Whitepaper: MOBILIZING ENTERPRISE APPLICATIONS: OBSTACLES, BENEFITS, AND KEY CONSIDERATIONS

Calculating ROI for Mobile Application Development

Calculating ROI for Mobile Application Development

Enterprises can at times use scores of different applications within the context of their business. You can have salespeople, agents, customer service representatives, sales managers, etc…

Identifying what applications or sections should be mobilized can be quite a chore. You have to consider not only your internal clients but your external as well. Though, it doesn’t have to be so difficult. Once you’ve identified which section(s) of your applications are prime for mobilization via a simple analysis, it can provide your organization with maximized ROI.

Double Work Eliminated

For example, a government agency tasked to monitor certain requirements for grocery goods utilize pen and paper for personnel to note certain specifications at a physical location. They then go back to their office desks and input all this information manually, an unnecessary chore and a waste of valuable time, especially with the state of technology available.

This time can be extensively reduced by capturing the data and transferring it to the server instantly.  Mobile Spectrum provides terrific examples of our applications that capture data on forms and submit it to the server on demand.

Capturing and Consumption of Data

We have two different issues regarding the handling of data. One is that of capturing data, the other is to prepare data so that it is fit to be consumed. Let’s take a sales rep visiting with a client. If the rep needs to show something to their client and are not fitted with mobile technology, they will need to pull out binders with product descriptions and sometimes another with photos of the product(s). If they are more advanced they might have a laptop with an excel spreadsheet with many sheets and columns and rows with a plethora of data.

All this is a waste of time, both to the customer and consumer. What’s more, in today’s world where every second counts, this may hurt the ability for the salesperson to make the sale and will give more time for the customer to start thinking that they need more time to think about completing the purchase.

Mobilizing → Increased productivity

The time that it would take for both parties to share and consume information can be greatly curtailed by mobilizing these tasks. The rep may be able to visit more clients per day and customers will become enraptured with the way the product information is communicated and will be more likely to purchase.

Based on this specific scenario, organizations need to assess the Time X Cost that it takes them to perform certain business-related functions without the use of mobile. Then they can make decisions with regard to what sections of their sales application they see fit for mobilizing and will gain them the highest ROI.

Say for example, a salesperson on average visits 7-10 customers per day, and spends an average of one hour with them. Without mobile, just the setup time takes them 20 minutes and an additional 40 or so minutes to find what they need to present to the customer. This hour can be cut to half an hour or even less by mobilizing a rep’s sales activities and even going further, you can mobilize elements of your application that a customer can use to browse product pages and choose the items and quantities they want, hence minimizing the rep’s time at the customer. Thus, making it a win-win for all parties.

For more information, download our whitepaper: DEVELOPING MOBILE APPLICATIONS

The Need to Go Mobile

The Need to Go Mobile

The Mobile boom is well upon us and is part of the reason companies, both large and small are accelerating their mobile application strategies. That being said, enterprises are deeply involved in mobilizing applications that are already existing and in many cases are going with the mobile-first concept in developing new applications for licensing or internal use. This mobile-first strategy is quickly establishing mobile as the platform of choice for enterprise applications.

Now is the time that both companies large and small must understand the importance and necessity for going mobile. Beyond just going mobile, organizations must understand the ROI they stand to gain by mobilizing their enterprise applications, whether they be cloud or software-based.

Check out this whitepaper: Developing Mobile Applications

Your Users

The most important step when developing apps out of enterprise applications is knowing your audience and identifying who are your users. Are they internal, external or both? The bottom line is that mobile devices are not just about convenience. They are also about productivity. You want to be able to get the most out of your workforce. There are a plethora of business models that are based around the knowledge of users. These users are much of the time, if not all the time mobile.

When you make them more productive, they can bring more value to the organization internally, as well as externally to partners and customers.

Externally, you want to create mobile engagement that is slick and turn-key. You partners and customers must be able to access the most current data, get information about such things as shipments, delivery dates and contact information. You want to be able to empower your external user base. This will increase engagement and make them more loyal.

Choosing What to Mobilize

Next, you need to decide which applications or parts of should be mobilized to best benefit your users.

There is no shortage of corporations that are developing such a diverse mix of applications, and in some cases, thousands of them. To mobilize them in a timely manner is simply impossible. That is why it is paramount that you choose the business processes you see as the most ripe for mobilization.

Much of the time users just need access to data, so you would want to conduct an analysis of what data they need to access and to provide a mobile experience that gives them what they want when they need it most.

Many times, users just need access to sections of the most robust applications that they will utilize on the go. Whether they need access to just data, parts or all of enterprise applications, what needs to be provided to the users is data and/or access to applications on demand, whether they are offline or online.

Organizations also must decide which devices they will develop applications for, that will most increase the productivity of the users and give them unfettered access on the device they want, when they want, be it an iPad, iPhone or Android.



5 Tips for Developing a Mobile Enterprise Solution

5 Tips for Developing a Mobile Enterprise Solution

In business, ideas are the impetus for great things, things that are so great and all encompassing that they change the world. Over the past few years, this idea has been mobile, which is indeed changing the world. It is changing the way people communicate, the way they consume media, the way they shop, work and live.

It is also changing the way enterprises do business. Developing a cohesive 360 degree mobile solution is something that much of the time eludes enterprises both large and small. In the age of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) it is paramount that you hop on the mobile train or get left behind.

Estimates by analysts predict that mobile devices will be utilizing business applications at a rate of over 50%. Many enterprises are seizing the opportunity to implement business-based programs that maximize use of mobile. A large part of the reason is that enterprises today identify mobile as a technology that gives them an opportunity to mold their business in new ways and create practices that will ultimately maximize their offering to their customer base.

Below are 5 actionable tips to guide you in your quest for developing a mobile enterprise solution:

• Identify the mobile habits of key industry leaders and see how they are utilizing mobile to solidify relationships among partners, customers and suppliers.

• Make sure you implement the appropriate safeguards for security as well as support to enable you to manage mobile more effectively and in a way that is scalable as your enterprise grows.

• Constantly request feedback from end users. What are they happy with? What not so? What challenges are they facing? This will allow you to extend the mobile footprint within your enterprise.

• Give both light and heavy users of any ERP systems you might be using the ability to access information, wherever they are, whenever. This will give them the power to act upon any information in real time from any location. Get their feedback and refine as needed.

• Gain in depth understanding of your business’s essential needs. Learn what your staff needs to access remotely. Give users the ability to extend all communication beyond the desktop to increase their effectiveness in getting tasks done. This should be implemented no matter where they are or what device they are using.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to implementing a solid enterprise mobile solution.


State of Mobile Apps: 2014

State of Mobile Apps: 2014

Judging from the record number of attendees (70,000+!) at Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, the largest mobile event in the world just last week, it would be safe to say that the dawn of mobile is upon us. Adding to that, last year’s sale of Waze (community based driving navigation) to Google for over a billion dollars, the recent sales of Viber (Internet Based Phone) for over 900 million dollars to a Japanese firm and WhatsApp to Facebook for a mind staggering 19 Billion Dollars is only a testament to the rise of mobile apps.

In the US alone, Internet users are relying more and more on their Smartphone and Tablet apps to gain access to the Internet. The first time that the use of mobile apps to access the Internet surpassed PCs was just last week. Overall, the use of mobile devices was responsible for 55% of total Internet usage in the US in January. The breakdown was dominated by apps at 47% and 8% was from mobile browsers. This was according to data gathered by comScore. PCs on the other hand accounted for 45% of Internet traffic.

Even though this is not the first time mobile usage accounted for more Internet traffic than PCs, it was the first time that the use of Apps alone eclipsed the PC. This shift comes after a massive slowdown in Personal Computer sales, which have been lagging for some time and posted their worst decline ever in 2013.

According to research powerhouse IDC, the adoption of smart devices has increased just under 40%. As apps are optimized for a truly streamlined mobile experience and high-speed access introduced by such technologies as 4G is introduced, this trend will more than likely continue.

In the US market, 55% of the population owned smartphones while 42% had tablets. Just look at the phenomenal growth potential there alone!

Now, with the growth of m-commerce and apps such as PayPal and Google Wallet making the shopping experience fluid, more brick and mortar retailers are getting in the app game.

So, as you can see, the app explosion hasn’t peaked. In fact, it’s just getting started.


Creating Event BUZZ with your Mobile App

Creating Event BUZZ with your Mobile App

With Mobile World Congress (MWC) coming up fast in Barcelona, Spain, and apps being the flavor for that week, we thought we’d write a post about how to use your app to create event buzz.

Out of thousands of vendors from all over the globe, being pulled, directed and even sometimes pushed ever so lightly to different product booths, seminars and presentations, here are some ways that you can create buzz about your event using your app.

  • Implement photo and video sharing capabilities within your app so all your attendees can share photos with other attendees and add their own that would become instantly available to all.
  •  Provide your app users with all the information they need such as hotel accommodations, interactive city maps, currency exchange info, restaurant and nightlife information. Provide commenting, reviewing capabilities Make sure all this information is sharable.
  • Any additions, updates or changes to your event such as speaker schedules should automatically be made available to your event attendees with push notification functionality.
  • Provide keynote speaker info and and an interactive maps of the event grounds.
  • Constantly provide status updates so that your followers can keep abreast of what is happening. Include catchy photos. Keep them updated as it happen . When it happens.
  • Use the power of contests by announcing it on your app. Everyone will be updated automatically through their notification settings. This builds interest and anticipation.
  • Include maps of all physical event booths and associated info. Encourage sharing and the ability to review businesses.
  • Provide real live updates from conference central. Perhaps, you can even utilize a web cam to show traffic as people enter the conference
  • Use your app to create short videos of people talking about why they came to the conference, from where they are from, what they do, their favorite booths, speakers, etc….Provide commenting and instant sharing capabilities.
  • Give your attendees the ability to view all sessions according to time, location, speaker topic and give them the capability to sync their calendars and invite others.
  • Include screens to your individual social media feeds with mentioning and sharing capabilities

There are lots of ways to build buzz about your event using your app. You want to encourage all your attendees to use your app as their central information depot for anything and everything event related.

The Age of the Mobile Workforce

The Age of the Mobile WorkforceThe Age of the Mobile Workforce

The mobile business revolution is officially here. Some 200 million people currently use their mobile devices for work and that figure is expected to reach 350 million by next year. What’s more, the numbers are expected to double every two years. According to a recent survey, workers are using mobile devices to work longer hours and increase productivity. Employees use their mobile phones and tablets for work not just at the office, but also at home, in coffee shops, hotels, and airports as well as on public transportation. Quite simply, the age of the mobile workforce has arrived. Continue reading “The Age of the Mobile Workforce”

Will iOS 7 change the iPhone as we know it?

Will iOS 7 change the iPhone as we know it?

With the iOS 7 release just around the corner (and a beta already out to developers) technophile’s nationwide are buzzing about the features that are rumored to come with it. You’re not alone; we can’t shut up about it in our office! That being the case, we decided to highlight some of the features that are reported to be a part of Apple’s latest release.
Continue reading “Will iOS 7 change the iPhone as we know it?”