The Future of Mobile Business Strategies

Published on: February 27, 2012

The future of mobile business strategies won’t be found in an acronym. Sorry, but the future of enterprise mobility revolves around one thing: customers.

The right enterprise mobility strategy puts you in a position to better serve your customers. Mobile apps can help customers discover what they need most, in many cases, right at the moment and point of need.

For example, a physical therapist in a health care setting can access ongoing education on a tablet one minute. A minute later, the therapist could walk into the next room and use the same device to pull up a patient record and show the patient how to use a piece of new equipment set to arrive at the clinic in a few days. There is a process of education and discovery unfolding here that could not happen at the same pace without mobility.

In sales of industrial equipment, a sales engineer meeting with a plant manager can pull out a mobile device to build a 3D configuration of a new system for a plant, while also helping the plant manager understand why the current gear is trending higher on a metric like overall equipment effectiveness. Once again, mobile apps are helping a customer pinpoint needs and optimal solutions—at the right time, and the right place.

The best business cases for enterprise mobility often come back to being able to dynamically respond to customer needs. For decades, management theorists such as Peter Drucker stressed the importance of being customer-centric—now mobility lets that happen in a new and more real-time way.

We see these customer-centric innovations everyday from the users of our platform; from mobile apps that help college students set their schedules to mobile apps that let people identify healthy life choices and get health coaching.

Once the business case is identified, mobile strategy involves some technology priorities. Here are four key ones:

  • Support for multiple devices and form factors without having to custom-build apps on multiple platforms.
  • Speed in development and enhancements. Once users start reaping the benefits of the first few apps, they often come up with great ideas for new apps or enhancements. Configuration-based design gives you speed.
  • The ability to integrate with the back end.  Much of the power of enterprise mobility comes from tapping data or analytics resident in back-end systems. Does your platform have the interfaces to handle that?
  • Enterprise mobile apps should fit into the mobile ecosystem. This means being able to provide strong app-level security while being able to embrace the bring your own device (BYOD) trend. Since mobile app stores are a vital distribution channel, your strategy should also consider compatibility with app stores.

Technical enablers are important, but at the end of the day, mobility strategies are business strategies. That’s why it’s vital to look at mobility through the lens of the customer.

I am eager to hear from presenters at the Mobile World Congress’ sessions on mobile health on how the customer/patient experience is being transformed by mobile apps. These experts can tell us about these transformations first hand, and point out how user-centric improvements can be applied across industries.

In the meantime ask yourself these questions — do your apps make your internal people more productive while on the go, or bring their expertise closer to the point of use? Do your mobile apps help customers discover what products or services best fit their latest needs? If so, you’ve just created demand in a new, dynamic way. That’s good business.

What are some other mobile business strategies that we’ll see in the near future?

Christopher P. Willis is chief marketing officer for Verivo Software.

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