Mobile Worker Applications: Companies Want More and Better

Dec 30, 2013

Why are so many companies taking mobile enterprise applications so seriously? Because they anticipate real business benefits.

Each year, Frost & Sullivan surveys 300+ mobile and wireless purchase decision-makers in the North American business sector. Both Canadian and U.S. companies and organizations are asked to detail their preferences and plans around mobile enterprise applications – especially those software solutions that are deployed to employees for use on their mobile devices. Our most recent survey took place in August 2013.

The market for mobile worker apps appears to be thriving. The majority of respondents – 73 percent – already have one or more employee-facing solutions in place, with most of them having from one to 10 software applications deployed to some degree. Thirteen percent (13%) of the total sample said they have 20 or more apps deployed for their workers to use on their mobile handhelds (smartphones, tablets, basic cell phones or ruggedized devices). See Exhibit 1.

This sector has by no means reached its plateau state. When asked to project forward, at least 71 percent of the companies plan to introduce one or more new solutions by late 2014.

We didn’t define specific solutions by name for these early questions, so the respondents could be referencing anything from the simplest mapping products to truly complex in-house solutions. No matter the type, though, we can probably agree that a high percentage of today’s businesses recognize the value of mobile worker software applications.

Why is this? When we asked the companies why they would provide mobile apps to their employees, a number of reasons were given – and the top two focused on anticipated efficiency and productivity gains. See Exhibit 2. Not far behind came the softer – but still highly valuable – advantages of enhanced customer engagement and increased employee collaboration.

In fact, the high ranking given to the customer engagement benefit is one of many indications that today’s business sector is becoming more sophisticated when it comes to mobile worker applications. Many mobile workers function as the company’s front line when interfacing with customers – whether they’re delivering a package, repairing a piece of equipment, or selling a product. Savvy businesses recognize the potential for heightened engagement at this interface point and are leveraging their mobile capabilities to: 1) collect valuable data, such as customer performance feedback and competitive intelligence, 2) provide timely loyalty rewards, such as coupons and discounts, and 3) upsell, based on easily-accessible customer history records.

Businesses are also taking more criteria into consideration when choosing a mobile application partner (it’s more than simply cost of doing business) and they are also demanding more sophisticated functionality from their mobile solutions.

The high percentage of North American businesses that plan to expand their mobile worker application deployments, combined with an increasingly sophisticated set of customer expectations, should make 2014 a good year for mobile application sales.

Additional survey results and charts are included in our upcoming study: “2013 North American Mobile Enterprise Applications: Opportunities Within Enterprises,” NCA0-65.


Jeanine Sterling

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