Key Leadership Trends in the Mobile Worker Apps Market

Sep 27, 2016

How can you spot a leader in today’s rough-and-tumble mobile worker app market?  As the stakes get higher, leadership trends are becoming clearer.

Mobile worker apps are hot.  Today’s North American businesses are especially embracing these mobile B2E (business-to-employee) software applications.  Need proof?  Every year, Frost & Sullivan surveys 300 North American businesses, and two of the first questions asked are:

  • How many different mobile worker apps have you deployed so far?
  • How many new mobile worker apps do you plan to introduce within the next year?

This past summer, almost half of respondents (47%) already had at least eleven different apps deployed to workers to use on their mobile devices.  Almost all of the respondents (88%) reported they were planning to introduce at least one new mobile B2E app by next summer.

That puts mobile worker apps on a strong growth trajectory – and should send a strong signal to app vendors that there’s money to be made.  However, to be successful, B2E mobile apps – especially the more complex solutions such as Mobile Workforce Management and Mobile Sales Force Automation – demand a disciplined approach on the part of the vendors.

How can you spot a mobile worker app vendor with leadership potential?  We’ve identified seven key trends in the area of complex mobile app leadership:

  Incorporating new technologies – Reinvigorated R&D efforts have incorporated some exciting technological developments into mobile B2E applications.  Some of the most interesting new areas include artificial intelligence tools, 3-D visualization and augmented reality, predictive analytics, wearables, and even gamification efforts – all technologies that are enabled and enhanced and enriched by becoming accessible on a mobile worker’s mobile device. 

Leaders in the mobile B2E apps space are thinking three hops ahead of everyone else when it comes to defining and developing and applying new technologies to help mobile workers and improve customer care.

2)  Identifying new user segments – Leading providers are always on the lookout for new high-potential markets.  For example, in the mobilized field service management space, sub-contractors have become a lucrative new target.  The Home Health Care and Distribution verticals also offer new potential.

Leaders are always examining the marketplace and looking for new ways to apply their products.  And all customers can benefit when new use cases uncover new capabilities.

3)  Focusing on ROI and hard-dollar impacts – Leaders realize they have to focus on clearly communicating the hard-dollar benefits of mobilizing.  The annual Frost & Sullivan survey reveals that anticipated costs act as a top ongoing adoption barrier.  These worries surface every year, and they’re not going away.  So it’s up to the vendors to address these potential barriers head-on.

In sales presentations and marketing materials, the most effective case studies are listing hard-dollar, measurable impacts on expense, revenues, worker productivity, etc.

4)  Going modular – Another trend that is intensifying is the modularization of mobile B2E solutions.  Another way to say this is that vendors are giving customers an increased ability to make incremental add-ons as needs develop.

While providers would like to escort customers up-market as quickly as possible, leaders in this space are attuned to the customer’s need to minimize risk and apply their funds wisely.  As a result, they allow clients to build and scale up at the pace that works best for their individual organizations.

5)  Expanding customer options – When it comes to implementing a mobile B2E app, customers do not want to be boxed in with a limited number of mobile form factors, mobile operating systems, and delivery systems. 

Smartphone, tablet, or wearable:  Which makes most sense for a particular work force?  Apple, Android … if Android, WHICH Android?  Which mobile operating systems should a solution support?  On-premise or cloud-based: Which delivery system promises the best performance at the best price?

Leaders provide multiple options and let the customer decide the when and how.

6)  Keeping it simple – Simplicity and ease of use remain paramount for all sizes of businesses.  Businesses want mobilization to be easy, user interfaces to be intuitive, and administration requirements to be minimal.  While that sounds straightforward, there are still app vendors out there that are struggling with this.

7)  Forging relationships – Complex mobile B2E apps are not a “go it alone” industry.  The customer can benefit greatly from this trend.  Partnering with best-in-class channel and technology partners is a must if a vendor is going to stay on the cutting edge of developing new capabilities and be able to reach new target customers

Businesses should look at their B2E provider’s set of partners.  That list will say a lot about their openness to new ideas and their ability to keep customers supplied with top-tier capabilities.

Bottom line, when you look at the seven leadership trends in today’s mobile B2E app space, the patterns are clear:  Looking forward.  Not resting on your laurels.  Staying close to the customer.  Forging relationships with best-in-class talent.

 

Learn more about complex mobile worker apps in two recent Frost & Sullivan studies: “Mobilized Sales Force Automation Solutions Promise Competitive Advantage in Still-Challenging Economy” NFA6-65 (August 2016) and “North American Businesses Evaluate Mobile Workforce Management Solutions” 9ABE-65 (September 2016).


Jeanine Sterling

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