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Focus on Innovative Use Cases not just Cool Features
In our experience, once the “table stakes” consumer app has been released, and the necessary BYOD / MDM / Security conversations have taken place (and initial processes and controls have been designed) companies are ready to talk apps for the enterprise.
So, what makes a good candidate for a mobile app?
Our clients ask us this questions all the time. To answer these types of questions, we run innovation sessions with our clients. It’s no understatement that innovation is difficult. Our mobile conversations usually begin with the idea of “extending the enterprise”. This typically comes in the form of mobile ideas regarding the ability to provide access to enterprise applications on mobile devices. Accessing our CRM system, our SharePoint repository, our BI reports, our inventory system, etc.
But, the conversation about mobile use cases must move beyond mobilizing enterprise applications. This isn’t innovation. This is not where the largest value of mobile will be found.
The biggest bang for your mobile buck will be realized when you start thinking about what scenarios you can enhance by using mobile to make it easy for your employees to do their jobs, make it easy for your customers to purchase your wares.
Sounds great! But how do you identify these types of scenarios?
In our innovation sessions, one of the first things we do is identify the key actors, both internal and external, to the organization. These actors often include: customers, suppliers, sales team members, field service, technicians, etc. Some of the best mobile scenarios will come from an examination of a “day in the life” of the key actors.
3 Methods to Identify Innovative Use Cases
When examining a “day in the life”, there are a number of things that you should be looking for that will provide the makings for a great enterprise mobile app candidate. Let’s review 3 area of focus:
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Multiple systems are required for the user to achieve their goal
In addition to mobilizing point enterprise apps, look for use cases where employees need to use more than one system to complete their task. Once you start looking, these scenarios will consistently rear their heads.
Example: A pharmaceutical client of ours identified a scenario where Scientists, during their research process in the laboratory, are required to look up scientific information regarding chemical compounds on 3 different enterprise systems to get the information they need to do their jobs. These system to system lookups consume an inordinate amount of time every day and detract from the key goal of chemical research. A quick and easy solution was to develop a mobile app that brings together the scientific information from multiple enterprise systems in an intuitive mobile app that enables researchers to get all the information they need to do their jobs in a single interface. This simple solution has had an exponential impact on productivity and employee satisfaction.
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Complicated process flows imposed by enterprise systems
It’s no secret that a by-product of often-antiquated enterprise systems is the imposition of complicated process on employees. One of the biggest benefits of enterprise mobility is the ability to simplify the enterprise. Instead of extending difficult, complicated, sometimes-redundant processes to your employees and customers through mobile, identify end to end scenarios and look for ways to make them easier and more comfortable for the user.
Example: One of our clients offers back-up childcare as a benefit to their client’s employees. In order to make a reservation, employees are required to go through a relatively complex process involving many (too many) steps. When discussions came to mobilizing this process, one of the huge benefits was to re-architect this complex process, focusing the team on the most common scenarios. We were able to reduce a reservation process with over 12 process steps to complete a reservation down to 4 on a mobile device.
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Limited access to desktop technology at critical points in their daily routine
In the example above, in addition to the process simplification, it is a fact that when folks are in the greatest need of back up care, they are not in front of their computers. They are in their cars, at the doctor’s office, etc. These folks have limited access to desktop technology when they need it most.
Mobile can address this need. Not only can mobile untether a remote workforce, but also, it can equip a remote workforce with access to corporate information when they need it most.
Example: One classic example is your sales team. We do work with the business banking group at a large bank. They are constantly in front of clients talking about the bank, their products, their differentiators, reviewing portfolios, trying to cross-sell and up-sell. They have a very short amount of time to present a lot of information. There are a few issues that mobile can immediately address. First, mobile technology can put information in the hands of business bankers at the right time to help them prepare for their meeting (access to CRM, etc.). Second, mobile allows for the access to corporate information during the sales meeting enabling the sharing of information with the client / prospect, and finally, mobile can help sales managers ensure consistency in messaging across a remote sales team.
We encourage you to think beyond point apps. We encourage you to innovate.
Dig for mobile scenarios that help you tell your story, answer questions, build relationships, and close transactions. We encourage you to challenge your traditional employee and customer interactions and to examine how mobile as a form factor can help you change work patterns and create new business models.
There is no doubt that we are on the cusp of really great mobile innovation in the enterprise.