Build Apps that Move Needles

Part of the Top 10 Considerations for Enterprise Mobile Strategy

Build Apps that Move Needles is the fourth blog post in a series entitled the “Top 10 Considerations for your Enterprise Mobile Strategy”. To receive the rest of the considerations directly to your inbox, sign up using the form on the left!

The Mobile App Maturity Model

Following up on the previous post (Avoid the Wild West of App Development), many organizations are starting to ask a deeper question around internal mobile App development: "What makes a good Enterprise mobile app?"

We feel this question is still being answered, and the Apps we're seeing built today to shorten business processes and "extend the Enterprise" are quite low on the maturity scale of what's to come. Taking you back to one of our first info-graphics, we discuss the Law of Three:

The Law of Three - Enterprise Mobile Maturity from Propelics

Although we're seeing more and more organizations mature past the left side of the graph above (simple email/calendar and public AppStore usage) into porting of current process and Enterprise applications, these Apps are primarily built around "extending the Enterprise". What we mean by "extending the Enterprise" is that organizations are using 3rd party Apps, or building Apps that extend their current Enterprise applications and processes to mobile devices. Examples include a new mobile interface to a corporate CRM system, access to their corporate BI program, a mobile capable web-based front end to ERP, or a custom App to approve mortgages. Of course, these Apps have value. Having access to corporate data on the road or away from the PC is what this revolution is all about, but is there something more?

Can we think beyond "mobile access" and use these devices to have a greater impact on our employees, our partners, our customers? That question is the primary focus of our Enterprise Mobile Strategy engagements, and a huge piece of the mobile roadmaps we build for our clients.

Build Apps that Move Needles

So how do we build Apps that move needles? By moving needles, we're speaking of Applications (or mobile use cases) that have a direct impact on a defined business metric. That defined metric can be as grandiose as "revenue", as detailed as "the number of sales calls to close a sales opportunity" or as specific as "the averaged revenue amount per in-person customer visit based on geography and travel time". These Apps can drive behavior, so when discussing a roadmap of mobile Apps for a business, the answer is to step back and talk about the behavior and expected outcomes we're trying to establish.

Build Solutions Around Metrics, Not Mobility

The most challenging aspect of "Mobile Strategy" is that you're not building a "Mobile Strategy". Mobile strategy, at its core, doesn't exist. That's similar to saying that we need to build a telephone strategy, or a strategy for email. The mobile benefit is reducing the friction of communication between organization and customer, organization and employee, etc. When approaching the creation of an Enterprise Mobile Strategy, the first question is "What's your company strategy?" What metrics are important for measuring and impacting the strength of execution of the business? What methods of communication work today? Which do not? What are the trends within those communication channels? How will your customers choose to communicate with your business or employees in a year from now? 5 years? 10? How can the mobile device change and enhance these communication methods?

These simple questions drive how we move forward in discussing the business drivers we're trying to impact with mobile device usage. Many organizations begin their conversation with "What are our competitors doing?" Based on our experience across industries and the conversations we have daily, we can probably answer this question for you with a high amount of certainty - the challenge is that the answer is probably useless to you. Their challenges are not yours, and their solutions won't bring the same benefit.

Example of Sales Canvas Mobile App by Propelics

Begin your strategy by defining what metrics we want to change, what levers we have available to impact these metrics, and how we can use mobile to move these levers.

Client Example: We're working with a global manufacturing firm to build a "sales canvas" - an App that pulls in multiple backend systems to bridge many disparate data sources and processes to assist the sales team. This App not only better arms the sales team member with the content they need to answer prospect questions, it also includes a communication hub to discuss new product, incentives, and client communication points. Below the surface, this App has a very specific goal: Reduce the number of sales calls to close new business. Simply, the App functionality, navigation, and features are built around this single objective and functionality that didn't tie back to this goal were dropped from the roadmap. For this client, reducing the number of sales calls has a significant impact on business metrics - decreasing the time to close, increasing the efficiency of the sales team, increasing win rate, etc. All metrics that tie back to the organization's corporate objectives for 2012 and 2013.

We hope you're enjoying this series on The Top 10 Considerations for Enterprise Mobile Strategy. If you liked this tip, and want to receive the others as they're released, sign up using the form on the left. In addition, read more about our approach to Enterprise Mobile Strategy and see how we've helped organizations similar to yours.
 

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Eric Carlson

Partner at Propelics
Eric is a seasoned leader with a keen eye for emerging technologies. He is well respected in both technical and business circles, due to his ability to match up the right amount of technology "geekiness" with business understanding to craft truly unique solutions. As a seasoned executive, with startups through successful exits to his name, Eric has the experience to advise companies on the discipline and objective approaches that are needed to turn ideas into reality. Eric can be reached at eric.carlson@propelics.com or on twitter at @ericjohncarlson.
  • http://www.facebook.com/rob.pill Rob Pill

    good point - too common is business value foverlooked at the expense of gadgetry or "mobilising" an a solution for the sake of simplying mobilising it. In this space, one common theme resonates loud and clear- "more is less" . In order to attain the right delivery of information to the right user through optimising the capabilities of the technology, an understanding of the user must combine with the business objectives to capture the innovative needs that create game chaning solution while reflecting a broader strategy

    • http://www.propelics.com/ Eric Carlson

      Rob, thanks for the comment. You are absolutely correct with your commentary around the "value overlooked at the expense of gadgetry". Similar to other disruptions in technology, many organizations look at mobile as a "of course we should" situation and just start building what seems to be needed for the current process - not really thinking about how mobile may change the methods of how they communicate in the future.

      Thanks for reading.