Enterprise mobility isn’t about access - it’s about context on the go

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One third of companies are planning to build enterprise app stores, according to Forrester’s State of Enterprise Mobile Security report, while Gartner claims that by 2018, more than half of all mobile apps will be created by business analysts without coding. As this market becomes more available to the masses, everyone seems to be jumping in head first to enterprise mobility through apps.

The mobile movement has offered businesses the promise of speed; from quicker access to information, to the ability to make faster decisions, to more rapidly streamlining business process. We’ve made massive improvements to the pace of work in general over the past decade, but mobility isn’t just about speed. True agility comes from accessing context, not information alone, and in an attempt to become more mobile, businesses seem to be getting too caught up in the idea of mobile app platforms, and in building mobile applications for the sake of having them.

At the end of the day, all the business user expects is to be able to interact with the information they need to make business decisions and perform the necessary actions to get the work done – the context – and in a platform that works – the delivery, or mobile application in this case.

Before diving into the creation of an app, businesses should be asking themselves questions about the intended benefits of the app for the end user. Why are employees using the app? Is it to sign a contract? Collaborate on a document? Access real-time data? Below are a few tips for making context the centre of your mobile app.

Bring the data to the user, online or offline

A recent report showed employees gained nearly a full extra hour in productivity each day, just through the flexibility of mobile devices. Mobility requires simplicity. As an example, instead of filling out customer data on an e-form, why not let the user type in a few characters and have it auto fill with information from your CRM system or, prompt the user to add or update a record right from the same form?  Line-of-business integration, delivered by K2 through SmartObjects just replaced several fields and a separate process.

Responsive design is key, but optimised for device capabilities

Building your own application, leveraging a low-code/no-code platform – K2 being an example – offers advantages that are typically not available in out of-the-box applications or custom coded scenarios. These designer experiences also automatically optimise for capabilities in each device (camera, GPS, pen).

Keep updating to meet ongoing needs

Listen to your users. Using these applications every day, they can offer valuable feedback to improve your processes. The benefits of a visual design platform is evident here, where business  can easily come up with new ideas to update their processes without requiring expensive developer resources and adding additional lifecycle costs. Enterprise applications should be looked at as a business opportunity, and not an IT challenge. Mobile processes that keep pace with your people will net the greatest returns.

The mobile world moves quickly - which means building an app isn’t a one-time deal. Companies wanting to invest in mobile should set their sights not on building mobile apps for the sake of it, but building context into those apps and committing to keeping that context up to date and easy to access. Leveraging a business application automation platform allows flexibility to keep fresh new ideas coming without worry of how to develop the next big idea.

 

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