From the food we eat and the way we travel to the way we spend our money, mobile apps have changed the way we interact with the world around us. Since the launch of Apple’s app store back in 2008, developers have built a huge number of tools and solutions to make consumers’ lives easier. In 2015, the number of apps in the major stores looks a little like this:
Fig 1. Apps in the major app stores
Source: Statista. 2015
However, this massive growth hasn’t been mirrored in the enterprise IT market. Although there is a growing number of companies building their own internal apps to facilitate corporate activities, demand is massively outstripping supply. Gartner predicts that by 2017, “demand for mobile app development services will grow at least five times faster than internal IT organizations’ capacity to deliver them”.
Why is there such high demand, and why should you invest in internal apps? In today’s post, we’re going to look at the data behind the demand.
1. Mobile Has Changed the Way People Interact with Information
Just a few years ago, your employees were mostly productive while using desktop or laptop. While these devices are still important in the workplace, mobile devices are now a fundamental part of the way they live. The following chart shows the huge growth in time spent looking at mobile screens in the USA in the last five years.
Fig 2. Time spent on screens - hours per day on mobile and desktop/laptop:
Source: eMarketer 2015, available here
And this figure is likely to keep on growing. If your workers are spending close to 2.5 hours per day using their mobiles, it makes a lot of sense to allow them to use their smartphones and tablets to be more productive.
2. Mobile Apps Will Make Employees More Productive
If there’s a single reason that any manager would invest in enterprise apps, it’s to see a productivity boost. And enterprise apps certainly encourage this. From helping employees discover information to finding colleagues to communicating faster, well designed internal apps promise to boost productivity. In a survey with over 300 IT decision makers, respondents were asked to estimate the productivity increase they would expect to see in their organizations if all enterprise applications were mobilized.
Fig 3. Expected productivity increase from mobilization of enterprise apps
Source: Mobile Helix/Vanson Bourne, available here
The research shows most IT decision makers expect mobile would increase workforce productivity by between 30 and 40%. Over the course of an app’s lifetime, this could lead to a huge boost in employee productivity and concurrent revenues.
3. Do Specialized Tasks Faster
Intranets have helped colleagues work faster and more efficiently. They provide a digital environment for employees to get information on everything they need to do their jobs. However, no one can claim Intranets are always the fastest way of doing things. Simply because they put all company information in one place, it makes it more complicated to carry out specialized tasks. Of course, you don’t want to break your Intranet down into separate sites for different teams – that would undermine the purpose of an Intranet. However, mobile apps do mean specific teams can get at the information they need much faster, without having to log in to the general Intranet and navigate to the page they need.
Fig 4. What are the most important types of mobile applications to your organization?
Source: Citrix, available here
By having a specific app directly accessible from their smartphone, employees cut out a lot of the (off-putting) confusion of connecting to your company’s desktop-designed Intranet via mobile and having to navigate to the tool they want. A mobile app makes this much faster and saves them a lot of time.
4. People Telecommute More than Ever Before
Technology has allowed your employees to work from home, and the number of telecommuters is constantly growing. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, the US telecommuting population grew by 6.5%.
Fig 5. USA total telecommuters (millions)
Source: Global Workplace Analytics, 2015
With an ever increasing number of distance workers, there is a pressing need to allow them to be productive wherever they are. Providing mobile support for enterprise apps is therefore absolutely essential.
5. Improves Workflows
By going mobile, you can ensure your workflows – the processes and procedures which underpin your day to day activities – improve. Mobile apps mean employees can complete their ‘steps’ in the chain more quickly and conveniently, and aren’t stuck to the desk while doing so.
Say you’re the head of finance and need to check an invoice before it’s sent. A mobile app would let you quickly open up the document and approve the invoice while you’re on lunch, in a meeting or on the train home from work. When you have an enterprise app, you needn’t be at your desk all the time to do every little thing.
Fig 6. Amount of workflow change as a result of mobility
Source: Comptia, available here
As the chart shows, mobile enterprise apps can have a huge impact on the way your business works, making you more efficient, productive and successful.
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