January 09, 2013
Getting The Most Value out of Deploying Mobile Apps for Business
By Steve Anderson Contributing TMCnet Writer
There are an ever-increasing number of applications out there for the enterprise, and with them, the near-perpetual discovery process of attempting to find the most valuable apps for the enterprise. Recently, though, certain principles have come to light that help make an enterprise mobile rollout a lot easier, and a lot more successful, for businesses overall.
Naturally, a successful mobile application launch takes a lot. It requires extensive planning beforehand, it takes a careful release strategy to capitalize on that planning, and ultimately, it requires regular vigilance following the launch to ensure that the best results are being had from the launch itself. First comes the planning. A lot of companies are launching mobile applications with an eye toward improving productivity, and it's turning out that consumer mobile technology is actually outpacing traditional enterprise IT. That's leaving plenty of businesses looking to take advantage of that wider mobile technology for themselves.
That's leaving enterprise users to try and determine what apps out of the steadily growing number of apps coming available there are will prove most effective in their own operations. Thus, companies are looking for applications that can offer clear business benefits, and produce a clear transformational impact when used. Things like “improving responsiveness to customers” and “providing mobile access to existing applications to improve worker productivity” are tops on the list, and there are plenty more potential benefits companies are looking to realize from their use of mobile apps.
But that's where the planning stage comes into play. Once users have an idea of just what effects they want to see happen, then it becomes a matter of deciding which apps to use in the pursuit of those effects. Considering things like the number of users involved — some apps work better with small groups than with larger groups — how the apps work, and just how the users will be using those apps all come into play in making the decisions. Some apps work better under different circumstances than others; there are of course pre-packaged apps on the various app stores out there, but with the growth of HTML5, there are Web-based apps to consider, and there's always the option of custom apps built specifically for a company's needs. Each approach has its own individual benefits and drawbacks that need considering.
But once the decision is made, the next point is to monitor the performance of those apps selected. Are they meeting the goals? Are they at least making progress toward those goals? If they are, then congratulations: the job is done about as well as can be. Just make sure it stays that way. If not, then it's time to start the process again and look for better apps.
Continued vigilance is the price of success when it comes to mobile app deployment, but with that continued vigilance comes a terrific opportunity to take advantage of new technology in a way that can help provide the continuous improvement that all businesses crave. A slow economy means that businesses have to make the most of what they have, whether it's by lowering costs or improving revenues, or ideally, both. That means that mobile apps represent a significant opportunity for businesses, but an opportunity that must be bought with care, research and close monitoring.
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Edited by Rich Steeves