By Wesley Lynch
Mobile apps already play an important role in enterprise content and application delivery strategies, partly because of the dominance of mobile formats on the computing landscape, and partly because of the proven success of apps with engaging audiences.
But while enterprises have for some time applied this knowledge in their design of customer-facing content or services, they haven’t explored the power of mobile to engage internal audiences as much.
As it happens, mobile can help drive consumption of corporate content and increase participation in organisational processes among all audiences – external as well as internal.
The opportunities are manifold.
Mobile apps can enrich or extend existing applications, or enable the creation of whole new bespoke applications, thereby further automating enterprise processes. Or enterprises can use them to completely revisit previously unsuccessful mobile enterprise excursions.
Breaking new mobile ground
Apps can provide new opportunities for automating core enterprise processes – for example insurance assessments.
Another example of an industry that could make innovative internal use of mobile apps is the car rental sector. An app for processing vehicle returns could combine damage diagrams and pictures with a picture and digital signature of the person returning the vehicle, with huge potential for fast-tracking contract finalisation.
Enriching current applications
Mobile apps can also enrich existing enterprise applications. For instance, tablets with barcode scanners can be used by staff in any number of industry applications, such as fleet management or retail applications.
Sometimes, mobile comes into play where the working environment precludes easy deployment of computing infrastructure. For example, the ground crew of an airline operates in an environment that is not managed by their employer. Tablets loaded with enterprise software would make computing tasks easier.
Revisiting old ground
Or mobility might simply be a smarter delivery mechanism for internal content. Training videos, for instance, can be disseminated via a private (password-protected) channel on a public app store, thus replacing intranets with all their management and maintenance overhead.
So much better
Enterprise mobility has had a long history, but it has never been as compelling as with apps.
Earlier incarnations of mobile enterprise applications were merely repurposed desktop applications. Clumsy and unappealing, their low uptake was predictable.
Mobile apps, by contrast, are written from the ground up with lavish, dynamic graphical interfaces featuring whole new levels of user interaction. Mobile app developers are held to high standards in a competitive public app store environment. Consequently public mobile apps stand out for their pleasurable experience –ease of use and visual appeal – as much as for their rich functionality.
It is for these and a range of other reasons that mobile currently enjoys a new lease of life, both among external and internal corporate audiences.