In enterprise mobility, “there’s an app for that” is not enough

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/W1zzard)

Watching the explosion of mobile apps has been, in a word, incredible.

In less than a decade, consumers have gone from having low-tech cell phones to early-stage smartphones to powerful machines that house dozens of mobile apps that do everything from stream music to order you a ride to work.

But as mobile apps have exploded, a problem has followed—and it’s one that often follows industries that see tremendous growth and success. Now that a small handful of people have struck gold by developing popular mobile apps, everyone wants to get on board. And that worked. For a while. But now it’s becoming a problem.

In an article for ARC, Dan Rowinski explains this rather well:

In the end, “there’s an app for that” is not a business model. Successful developers (mostly) do not succeed because they are more talented or imaginative than the next person. The best app publishers, the ones that can distinguish themselves from the fray, are the people that attack the market with a full on strategy that takes advantage of the best aspects of the Web, optimized mobile Web experiences and apps that provide significant engagement opportunities.

Translation: mobility for mobility’s sake just won’t cut it these days. And Rowinski has a point. The mobile app space is so overcrowded that it’s difficult, if not impossible to get noticed and gain traction if all you do is build a good app. The best apps create experiences. They’re transformative. They do more than just take some everyday task and convert it to mobile. And they know how to sell.

Rowinski’s analysis may be directed towards developers of consumer-facing apps, but it’s good food for thought for the enterprise, too.

If you want to do well and sell the value of mobility to your leadership, you need to do more than just “go mobile.” You’ll never get your project off the ground and to the rest of your organisation if you don’t have a more cohesive and convincing selling point. And, even if you do happen to convince leadership to adopt mobility with your shortsighted mobile strategy, we can almost guarantee you’ll have a hard time driving user adoption if all your enterprise mobile apps do is take tasks and translate them to your employees’ smartphones.

So what does it take if “there’s an app for that” is not enough? It’s simple: highly functional apps paired with even more precise analytics. Your apps need to be great—they need to transform business processes rather than just translate them. But that’s only part of the puzzle. The more important part is having tools in place which enable you to track and manage analytics. That’s how you find ROI and make a real business case for enterprise mobility.

For your enterprise mobility efforts to succeed—from buy-in to execution—mobility needs to be fully integrated into your business strategy. It can’t just be a loose end or a box you check that says “we’re mobile.” Unless you take your mobility strategy seriously and prioritize mobile analytics, you’re more than likely going to suffer the same fate as that consumer app developer trying to hit it big on the next Candy Crush.

What do you think it takes for enterprise mobility to succeed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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