Consumers were first introduced to the modern smartphone in 2007 with Apple’s iPhone, followed by the first app store the next year, changing our lives forever. In the decade since, consumers have had the fortune of 24/7 access to the content, services and data that they want and need via apps on their mobile devices.
While the consumer app market has grown significantly in the last ten years, the business mobility market continues to lag. Most enterprise mobile apps that businesses use are a far cry from the consumer-friendly mobile apps that allow users to do personal banking, connect with friends, and book reservations at popular restaurants. In fact, many organizations still rely on paper-based processes and outdated legacy systems that were built solely to complete basic business tasks on desktop computers.
With mobile workforces increasing exponentially and digital-native millennials now making up the majority of the workforce, the archaism of such processes is frustrating, difficult for employees to use and creates a competitive disadvantage. That is, if employees are forced to spend more time completing work related tasks in outdated, legacy systems, while strapped to their desktop, they are much less productive.
Yelp’s app creates a seamless experience
Consider Yelp, a popular platform that connects consumers to local businesses in the U.S. and Canada. While available on desktop and mobile Web, traffic via its app is growing the fastest, with mobile users viewing more than ten times as many pages as website users.
From one mobile app, users can plan their entire evening, find restaurants and services in their area, book a table or appointment, write and read reviews, post photos, view directions in maps and even request an Uber. Yelp’s mobile app integrates with several applications to deliver multiple workflows in one place, providing an efficient and seamless experience for their users. As evident by its growth, the Yelp app is quickly becoming a mainstream favorite.
The case for consumer app experiences in the enterprise
“Yelp-like” experiences are commonplace for consumer apps but are wanted and needed in the enterprise, with users expecting to accomplish multiple business workflows that span multiple applications and data sources via one mobile app. Just as Yelp allows consumers to accomplish several different tasks, business users need the same capabilities to be efficient.
For example, a nurse usually carts around a Computer on Wheels (COW) as she visits each patient to perform vital checks and collect information. Aside from the COW, she also relies on a hand-held barcode reader to scan patient wristbands, another computer system to access patient records, and a separate application to dispense necessary medication. Instead of having to use all of these applications and systems to complete these necessary routines, what if this nurse had access to these multiple workflows in one single application? What if she could scan patient wristband barcodes with the native device camera and access medical information from one secure app on a smartphone or tablet?
Just like a consumer can access multiple workflows using their Yelp mobile app, nurses can access multiple business workflows in one place to make their jobs more efficient and streamlined. Imagine how much easier nurses’ jobs could be if they didn’t have to lug around a COW as well as multiple devices and barcode scanners?
Enterprise apps in the smart phone era
These seamless consumer-like experiences can apply to any industry, from manufacturing to banking and government. Just as accessing multiple workflows in one application can help nurses provide better care to their patients, other industries can expect an increased competitive advantage because their users can get more quality work done.
Both the demand and the need for Yelp-like experiences in enterprise mobility are greater than ever. Today’s on-the-go business users need access to the same functions that they have on their PC, but on a simple and seamless mobile interface. Those corporations that can deliver this, and other consumer-like mobile experiences with regularity, will be the companies poised for success throughout the smartphone era.
About the Author
Kia Behnia is the CEO of PowWow Mobile and an industry veteran with over 20 years of executive experience in private and public high tech companies. Most recently, Kia served as a senior vice president and chief technology officer at BMC, responsible for leading its technology and solutions strategy for all products including social enterprise, mobility management and cloud computing. Kia came to BMC via the acquisition of Marimba Inc., where he served as CTO. Prior to Marimba, Kia was a senior member on the technical team at Tivoli Systems Inc., which was acquired by IBM.
Edited by Alicia Young