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Monday, April 07, 2014

How Mobile Business Apps are Increasing Productivity

Prepackaged mobile applications reached a plateau during 2013, but with more exciting advancements expected in 2014, North American companies are once again deploying a wide array of mobile worker software.

According to the latest market study by Frost & Sullivan, 48 percent of business decision makers report that their companies already deploy one to ten apps for employees on mobile devices.

They also found that the mobile app viewed as "most necessary" by businesses is wireless email, followed by mobile sales force automation.

The Frost analysis measures the current use of and future decision-making behaviors toward mobile enterprise apps -- specifically mobile asset tracking, mobile sales force automation, mobile workforce management, and wireless email solutions.

Convincing companies of the fundamental business necessity of mobile worker app solutions is critical to a provider's success.

Specifically, among the four mobile apps featured in this research, a "very necessary" attitude positively impacts adoption (current and planned) rates by as much as 41 percent.

"Today's businesses cite increased efficiency and productivity as their top reasons for providing mobile apps to their employees," said Karolina Olszewska, customer research analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

However, softer benefits such as enhanced customer engagement and improved collaboration also rate highly among the survey respondent's reasons for implementation.

Among the deterrents to implementation, the most prominent reasons were concerns regarding the security of company and customer data as well as the potential high cost of implementation.

Although pricing remains stable, with minor tweaks, app providers are showing a greater willingness to offer discounts for contractual commitments. In this scenario, service level agreements (SLAs) are receiving considerable attention.

"This is a fragmented market with many stakeholders," noted Olszewska. "Mobile app developers tend to be small and scattered, so direct sales are an insufficient strategy on their own. The correct channel partners are a key requirement for success."

Additionally, stakeholders must continue to clarify the business benefits of their mobile solutions, especially the hard- and soft-dollar return on investment experienced by current mobile app users.

Frost believes that participants not only must cater to sophisticated end-user demands with custom work and smart devices, but simultaneously must find an approach to mobile worker apps that is flexible and cost-effective (hosted, or non-native).